Tag Archives: ENG385

is that all right…

So I’m sort of supposed to be in my writing class right now, which obviously is not the case.  Since I hadn’t done my assignment for class (I knew there was something I’d forgotten this morning) it would have been pointless to be there anyway and thus I went to lower campus to see if Jen had any spaces today. The girl at the desk was nice enough (I think Donna was at lunch) and Jen was in session but I’m on the schedule for next Friday. I actually just checked my email though and Jen is free tonight after 6 so I guess it was a good thing I didn’t go to class. At least I’ll be in to see her before the end of next week.

So, in the spirit of not have done my assignment before class, how about I do it during class. So here goes:

Head over forwards, front root to tip, start from the bottom. Don’t squeeze too tight, don’t pull, the iron coming down in smooth motions. Barefoot, in one had a brush and in the other the iron as she stands over the sink. The mirror is a mass of hair, combination damp and curly, shiny and smooth, eyes peeking out. Don’t forget some volume in the back. Putting the iron down, she flips her head upright. The bathroom spins around her, shapes flying by, the blue shower curtain with rubber ducks. She tilts her head to the side. Poker straight; not straight enough.

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wake up to the sound of music…

There is no back door to my parent’s house.  As you enter through the front door, the careful arrangement of the l-shaped couch, bay window, coffee table and fireplace sweep you through the emerald carpeted living room to the large circular dining table squashed into the same room as the kitchen, a movement only halted by the large window behind the table which looks out onto the deck and beyond that the backyard.  

Only the abrupt ending of the white cabinetry on the wall signals a change from the dining to kitchen area and a large butcher-block divides the flow of traffic.  Take the path to the right and pass the refrigerator and the answering machine.  Take the left and meet the dishwasher, deep stainless sink then a small corner containing the lazy-susan dreaded by all childhood fingers.  Around the corner emerge the microwave, oven and coffeepot before the two paths converge once again.

Walking through the kitchen, you arrive in the hall.  This journey takes less than ten steps from the corner from the living room doorway to this pink tiled monstrosity of a hallway, flanked by a large stately grandfather clock and a brushed steel trashcan whose lid is broken.  The grandfather clock was made by my great-grandfather and the way it chimes drives my mother up the wall.  For that reason, she refuses to keep it wound and it tells time quite poorly.  As a child, I was fascinated to find out that other people’s clocks had numbers unlike mine that must have been very special to have letters instead.  

The first room off the hallway is at the front of the house, to the right.  That was my bedroom.  It at one time served as the TV room when the house belonged to my great-grandparents and just after we moved in it was the kitchen while the real one was being tiled.  Actually, that ugly pink tile extends from one end of the house to the other, through the hallway back down into the kitchen, dining room then off the stoop into the sun porch.  The grout always looks dingy because my mother insisted the mason follow my grandmother’s instruction of spacing them far enough apart so as not to look like linoleum.  Of course, this is only natural, ugly peach Spanish tiles look just like linoleum and you wouldn’t want people to get confused. 

The bathroom was across the hall from my room.  This allowed for quick sprint between the doorways upon return from the shower.  A quick check to ensure the coast was clear meant you didn’t even need a towel for that dart and slam of the door.  Further down at the end of the hall, between an enormous full-length mirror that threatens to fall on the next rowdy youngster who runs down the hall, sit my sister and my parents’ bedrooms.  She really did get the short end of the stick having her bedroom across from theirs.

If, when back in the pseudo dining-kitchenette, you had decided to turn left, you would have stepped down and into the sun-porch, arguably the most pleasant room in the house despite the tile.  Sadly, built on a slab of cement, this room has little to offer in the winter.  The glass doors surrounding two sides of the room provide little insulation and the heat doesn’t extend into this addition.  However, the lumpy couch and gravity defying, top-heavy computer station housing the fuzzy television add unique charm thus making up for January induced blue toes.  The small woodstove located in the far corner of the room in the crevice where the two sets of sliding glass doors meet, where bees and spiders take up residence, acts as door itself too.  Each year without fail, during the first months of spring, a few sparrows get confused and wind up stuck in the skinny tin chimney.  As they fly out of the iron grate, around the sun porch a few times, and finally out one of the doors, it’s momentarily deceptive to say there is no back door to this house.

There is only one door into my parents’ house, but there are two doors through which you can leave. 

ASIDE

I feel like all the creative energy that is required to write for this class should be put to other use as well. I’m really proud of my Mistake piece.  We discussed how creative nonfiction is judged and I feel like I met a lot of the criteria. I still need to work on some of the wrap up before the conclusions. I’m not too satisfied with tonight’s assignment, but I think the lack of a good inspiration is to blame. Hopefully the next prompt is more stimulating. I don’t want to write about socks or something, although I do have some very adorable noteworthy socks, I’m just sure no one really wants to hear about them in an essay. 

I actually do have things of life importance I need to vent about, but I think I’m going to save that for tomorrow’s update in the event I have nothing else of interest to say tomorrow. Expect something pertaining to long and arduous contemplation of how not to take advantage of situations I ought not be putting myself in to begin with. On that tempting note, I’m going to bed.

you don’t care about me anymore…

The biggest mistake I’ve ever made could be simple, could be practically meaningless. Two letters could have meant nothing as they were carefully, neutrally intoned. One tiny word that only toddlers take pleasure in, that’s supposed to encourage abstinence and discourage propagation of recreational drugs and violence. A monosyllable, once part of a four-form system degraded from Shakespearian English to two, a word that is neither an interjection nor an adverb. A word that is no longer meaningless and no longer simple.

No. Is there something going on between you two? No. Is there something you aren’t telling me? No. There is not, we are not, I am not. No. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am not. I don’t know her. No.

People think languages like Finnish and Welsh don’t have a word for no, but that’s not the case. Even languages like Latin use echo answers, rephrasing the verb used in the question to affirm their answer or using it negatively. Was she here? She was not here. Did she come on to you? She did not.

Actually, the last part wasn’t a lie but it didn’t matter. Sitting in the car after being picked up from work, sequestered in the backseat subjected to interrogation before being allowed into the house, nearly everything that came out of my mouth was a lie. Did you know she was interested in you? No. What will people think? I don’t know.

But at that moment, I did know. At that moment, I was scared. I cowered and I crumbled. No. I let someone else decide what is right. No. I let someone else decide who I am. Is there something going on between you two? No. I rolled over and played dead, hoping to be considered a causality and be left behind for the sake of expediency. No. I just wanted to die inside, curl up in a ball and die under a rock somewhere. Is there something going on between you two? No. I closed my eyes and her blue eyes looked back at me. No. I was so ashamed. Is there something going on between you two? I denied her.

Silence or the lack of a response can also be interpreted as negation or a display of apathy. Certain body language indicates disapproval: a shake of the head, a grimace, a quick hand gesture. No. In English, no means many things: not any; not any possibility or allowance; not really, not fully. In American Sign Language, to sign the word no, you hold your index finger and middle finger together and out straight, bringing them down to touch the pad of your thumb. In motion, the action of the sign looks similar to popular hand gestures indicating someone should shut up. The word nō is the active present form of the Latin verb nāre. Poetically, this verb means to sail, to flow, or to fly away. In Norwegian, no is a moment, a point in time.

I devalued myself; I said what I want, who I am, holds no meaning and that’s not true. I took ten steps backward and lost what little trust was left between us when I lied. When my mother asked me if I was a lesbian, I told her no. If I could go back to that awful day, I would relive my father threatening my girlfriend in my workplace, I would relive feeling ashamed, I would relive feeling trapped. I would live that day over and over again if just once I could change my choice. I would tell the truth and accept the penalties of honesty.

Telling the truth that night probably wouldn’t have benefitted me at the time. I still find it difficult to imagine a positive or even neutral response to my mother’s deepest fears being avowed. Although more likely than not, my relationship with my family would still be shattered today by ignorance, had that night been different at least I could wash my hands of their rejection, knowing that I had done everything right and they had done everything wrong. Yes is the hardest word of all.

Yes I am.