As I walk to our next class, Jay hobbles next to me, bumping into my side as the student body rushes down hallways to beat the sound of the late bell. With each accidental brush, I’m wondering how my life turned this unpredictable corner today. A day ago, I was top choice for Freshman Choice Award #4: “Most Likely to Eat Anything and Get Straight A’s While Chewing.” Because when you’re Indian, you don’t have a choice about the latter, and you’ve eaten enough strange things by the time you turn five that the first part isn’t too farfetched either.
Where were we? Ah, yes… the bubblegum episode. If you missed Parts One or Two of this Novel in Progress, Bit by Bit, Soap Story thingy I’m trying, hop on back and catch up. Then Hop forward and read today’s episode.
The next morning, mom tells me she’s working from home. As a project manager for Wells Fargo, she likes to boss her employees around, but she also loves them enough to do it via emails once or twice a week. When she camps out in her makeshift office, really a corner in my parents’ bedroom with the least amount of clutter. But since she’s home, skipping is out of the question. Unless I pretend to go to school and go elsewhere, but that never works since the first place the school calls is always the house.
Nothing like New York city in the fall. I try to focus on the changing leaves on my walk along Central Park and decide to detour by Belvedere’s castle in order to arrive at school ten minutes late. Just need the hallways to be empty so I can enter under the radar. And then I’ll jet a few minutes early to make my Potter with-the-cape exit.
Buzzed into the front door, Mr. Jones, the school Dean of Discipline, aptly nicknamed Dean Dread or Dean Dead depending on who you ask, greets me. He is not smiling. “You’re late. And Ms. Meena. If your locker’s not cleaned up by the time the first lunch bell sounds, detentions for an entire week.” Continue reading
In case you missed the start of this story… Then come on back for Part 2!
The school day ends like any other day. I drifted through the high school hallways like an invisible princess, wearing an invisible crown, in search for my visible prince. My life is the kind of fairy tale girls envy. The girls who wish they were invisible, that is.
“Jay! We’re late for practice! Let’s jet before coach makes us do crawling push-ups across the field again!” Ben says loudly from near my locker.
Ben says everything loudly. But blond Ben is not who I’m listening for. Who I’m fixed on. Jason, Jay, my visible/invisible prince with dark waves that match his dark brown eyes, borrowed my pencil this morning. Visible because I can see him. Invisible because he can’t see me. He still has my pencil.
Just as I reach my locker, Ben and Jay slam their lockers closed and walk past me. No “Hey, what’s up?” No, “Thanks for the pencil.” Because no one can see the invisible girl.
My pencil! He stuck it to my locker, just above my combination lock. With the help of chewed up bubblegum. I glance left and right to make sure I don’t have an audience, pull off the pencil with the gum still stuck to it and pop the small pink wad into my mouth. Continue reading
[Welcome back to Fiction Friday All! First short story of 2013. Enjoy.]
Had the same dream again last night.
I’m leaning against a leafless maple tree, deep in the forest, the floor a carpet of foliage-matted collateral from winter’s whispers.
He’s here too. Camera dangling from his neck, sunglasses slightly lowered on the bridge of his nose, jaw tight with determination.
Close. Closer. In front of me now. Continue reading
Fell asleep in my jeans last night. Came home after piano lessons, basketball practice and jazz class. Hit the books after scarfing down some leftover lasagna. By the time I covered all my reading, pumped out a lab write-up, and conjugated three pages of Spanish verbs, math became one big blur of numbers. Hopefully, they all found their homes in the right spots and my Algebra teacher will lay off on the eyebrow-raised, head-shaking, “Mary, did you know…” because I do know that x + 7 = y + 17 does not make x and y equal to zero. Every time. Just when the one is dropped.
And I’ve been dropping the ball in math class. But I promise to pick it up and shoot up a three percentage point increase on my report card so Mom and Dad won’t make me do times tables every weekend. They still think that if I just master the 13’s, math will no longer be a struggle for me. I told them, “I just have a feeling, not everything in life adds up. Like most people expect it to. That’s why math and I don’t get along.”
“Do you homework, Mary.” Dad’s response no matter what I say. Continue reading