The Drive
November 18, 2011

Photo via Pinterest.

Sara forced herself to relax her grip on the steering wheel. When did the mechanics of breathing become hard for her? She couldn’t remember the day she lost her focus, but she remembered the first time he hit her.

The memory was seared into her mind. His steak had been overcooked. She was 19 years old, newly married to the first boy who had shown an interest, and she had never made dinner for anyone. He was a construction worker with clear blue eyes, charming as hell. Their fights became familiar, his fist on her back, her thighs, her stomach, three year’s of bruises that would never be seen.

When they weren’t fighting she got gifts. On his construction workers salary, they were sometimes expensive.

More memories threatened to push her out of the old dusty rental and onto the side of the California highway. Sara recalled being stared silently down across polished divorce lawyer tables, his mother calling her an unfit wife and a disgrace, her sister holding her every night as she cried for her failed marriage and failed life.

The day she had confessed to her family that her husband hit her, Sara’s illusions about life faded. She became involved with other men who treated her badly. She stayed at a job which paid her poorly. She floated, barely holding on to her life, until twenty years later she read his obituary online.

Now she was going. She had spent close to $100 she didn’t have to rent a car and make the seven hour drive to a funeral she wasn’t invited to. When her sister had pressed her for a reason she said she wanted to make sure he was dead. She should have told her sister the truth, that she needed to make sure she wasn’t dead.

The road went on. Sara’s breathing evened out. She had stumbled on the news of his death by accident and turned it into her purpose. She had five more hours in the car. She turned on the radio and sang along, feeling driven and hopeful.

This week’s prompt from Write on Edge was a road trip. We were asked to write a piece of fiction or creative non-fiction taking place on the road in 300 words or less.

I kept going back and forth with ideas on this prompt and I’m not sure I like what I ended up with, but having not written anything in the last two weeks I thought I should get something down. I also went slightly over word count (345). Oops.

The List
October 30, 2011

I have… danced in the middle of a grocery store aisle with baby in arms.
I have… lived on an island.
I have… had my first kiss, with my future husband, at a strip club.
I have… given birth. Without drugs.
I have… kissed a man I loved knowing it would be the last time.
I have… written letters and poured out my heart, then never sent them.
I have… yelled at a grown man threatening me with a baseball bat, and sent him running.
I have… danced at a UB40 concert while singing at the top of my lungs.
I have… interviewed Alien Ant Farm.
I have… skinny dipped in the Pacific.
I have… ran into an ex-boyfriend while in early labor.
I have… slept on the beach.
I have… looked down on the clouds, and seen the sun rising above them, at the top of Haleakala.
I have… been haunted.
I have… ridden an elephant.
I have… donated to Lock of Love twice.
I have… fallen asleep in the back of a friends van and been forgotten until he pulled up to his own house.
I have… had my hand kissed by a roman guard at Ceasar’s Palace.
I have… been hit on by a male stripper. Ick.
I have… dipped my daughters toes in the ocean, on a beach in Hawaii, hours before boarding our flight and leaving home to move to California.
I have… gotten married during my hourly lunch break, at work, and not told any one (except our moms).
I have… fallen in love faster, harder, and more completely than I ever thought possible with my daughter.

Linking up to Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop this week. The prompt: List 22 things you have done.

The Dancer
October 28, 2011

Photo via Write on Edge

It was, she decided again, not only his delicately handsome face and dancer’s sculpted body that attracted her, but he had the animal magnetism she’d read about in dog-eared romance novels. Before he came into her life she hadn’t understood those passages filled with want. She had blushed while reading the intimate scenes and then reread them, trying to understand.

As he swept across the stage, she saw his eyes glancing into the audience and she felt them rest on her. Then he was gone with a powerful leap into the stages wings. She knew he would be resting in the few minutes before his final dance. She barely saw the chorus dancers flitting back and forth, their silhouettes against the white backdrop provided the negative space to his dancing that often came dangerously close to being overfull.

She breathed in and out, willing him to reappear. And then there he was again, forcing her on a journey she’d grown to love. Around and around, she lost her breath and he went faster. The dance’s climax, his final leap, was coming. She reached up, absently wiping tears from her face.

“Excuse me Marie, can I borrow your speakers? Mine aren’t working again, and I need to complete the compliance training.”

The words snapped her out of her reverie. She clicked her mouse and the dance disappeared. A company logo blinked at her from the computer screen bringing her back to her tan cubicle, to her coworker standing behind her, waiting.

“You can unplug them in the back,” she said.

She scooted her chair and watched her coworker kneel down and gather the wires.

“Thanks,” he said. He stood up and left.

Marie’s hand darted back to the mouse and with a click her screen filled with the New York Theatre Ballet stage. She watched him take his final bow and the credits rolled. With a sigh she clicked the play button to restart her recording. She couldn’t remember what she had done every morning, at her desk, before he had come into her life.

This week’s Red Writing Hood prompt from Write on Edge was athleticism. We were asked to write a piece of fiction or creative non-fiction using one of two photographs for inspiration, and keep it at 400 words or less.

The Costume
October 25, 2011

I didn’t have a store bought costume. I wasn’t dressed as a princess. I stood out, and I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to slink around meowing in a leotard or cackle funny in a tall, black, pointed hat.

There was a school parade for all the elementary kids, and everyone would see me in my orange fuzzy legs and wide rounded butt. They would stare at my white, downy body and made-to-squawk beak. A pink shirt and matching purple shoes and bow meant nothing to me. A duck is still a duck no matter what you dress her as, and Daisy Duck was the wrong Disney Princess.

My Grandma had made the costume for me. She was a maid here, but in El Salvador she had been a talented seamstress. Both jobs paid low, but she spoiled me with what she could; and she could sew anything she thought of or anything she was asked to. I don’t know if the Daisy Duck costume was my idea or her own invention. It’s possible I wanted to be Donald’s perky and saucy wife. But I changed my mind, embarrassed and defeated by homemade couture.

I put the outfit on and my teacher told me she loved it. My best friend said it was cute. I couldn’t hear them. That Halloween day I was a third grader wanting desperately to fit in. Even though I had liked it at home, I couldn’t bring myself to wear it. I took it off.

Now I appreciate the unique and search out the one-of-a-kind. I wish I had held my head high as Daisy Duck. I wish there were pictures.

My grandmother passed away two years ago, three months before I found out I was pregnant. She will never meet her first great-granddaughter or spoil her with dresses and outfits. But she left me with an understanding of the heart that goes into the handcrafted. And she left my mom with her sewing skills and creativity. My daughter already has a closet full of homemade and a Halloween costume sewn by her grandma. This year, she’s dressing up as Snow White.

Today I’m linking up to RemembeRed, a memoir meme for Write on Edge. The prompt this week was to write about a memorable Halloween costume in 400 words.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

The Journey
October 23, 2011

I am from arroz con leche, the creamy and sweet milk dessert that could replace ambrosia as the food for you-know-who. From Royal Dansk Danish cookies in the blue tin for Christmas and Micheal Jackson records danced to behind locked doors.

I am from telenovelas and a bar where everybody knew my name, both languages lacing together and peppering my vocabulary. From many houses turned into many homes, always with the same TV background noise.

I am from purple honeysuckle and sour grasses, the sweet and bitter tastes often co-mingling on my tongue.

I am from a long line of strong women who loved loudly and gave their all to their children. I am from my abuelita Digna and great grandmother Mama Lola, but most of all from my own enduring mama.

From being loved as high as the sky and as big as the world; and from spankings designed to give me something to cry about.

I am from Lucky, our German Shepard bought at the San Jose flea market for $25, and quickly surpassing his net-worth. No other pets could live up to him, although we loved each and every one, even the tadpoles.

I am from visits to the library and visits to the bookstore, a love affair with words gifted to me from my family.

From God. From the Catholic church, the Episcopal church, Christianity, and moments of doubt.

I am from the cliche of two worlds, raised on hot dog in my scrambled eggs and pupusas from the corner Salvadorean market.

I am from albums with fading pictures and dried out glue, closets full of forgotten mementos, and memories from lives long lived. I am stories told to my future children in the hopes of giving them more than just my blood.

I had a lot of fun with this Writing Me prompt, found on the Bigger Pictures Blog. It’s part of their Simple Moments, Bigger Picture weekly exercises and the template can be found here.