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02 April 2015

writing class results, week 2

The following entries are my responses to prompts in the writing class I'm taking. The allowed time varies, between eight and fifteen minutes. I don't remember which time went with which prompt, but I can tell you, it isn't directly related to the length of the piece. I've decided to publish them because, honestly, I'm not sure what else to do with them. 


My earliest memory is of cooties.

Not the imaginary kind.

It was a toy, or game I suppose, that consisted of different colored plastic body parts you could assemble and disassemble. They looked a bit like ants when you put them together.

I remember sitting under the Christmas tree and unwrapping the box. It was the last Christmas my dad spent in the same house with us, but I didn't know that yet.

As I realized what I had unwrapped, I became very excited and wanted to tell everyone about this great present. But I hesitated; having cooties wasn't something to brag about, normally. I dismissed my own concerns. This was family, and they were all Adults to my young mind. Adults aren't mean, I thought, the way kids are. And besides, they probably don't even know what cooties are. This is what I told myself.

So I yelled out, to be heard above the chatter, " I got cooties!" All my excitement on my sleeve.

The rest of the memory fades into the laughter of my family.
It isn't necessarily a pleasant memory. I was such a sensitive child.


The room I grew up in was pale pink, or maybe yellow, or maybe white. I don't remember; It didn't matter. The windows were more important. They were my portal to the world, when my door closed against intruders, against pain. There was a closet, where I once tried to hide myself, but the air got stale and boring, and it wasn't very appealing the second time. So I sat between the bed and the wall, and felt the evening breeze from the window above. There I was hidden, and free.


In her mother's kitchen, there was no mention of engine blocks or horse maneuvers. There was no smell of coffee, unless you stood close to the whirring dispenser, between 6:55 and 7:00 am. There were moments, then, she thought she knew the smell of bitter roasted earth. By 7:05, the placating lavender odor her mother always ordered oozed back into the crisp white room, and the mugs, steaming, were overwhelmed. At 7:15, breakfast appeared. At 7:30, it was done, the utensils disposed of, and the fidgeting girl removed. She never saw her mother eat.

Many years later, with axle grease and horse sweat on her hands, she realized that somewhere along the way, coffee had ceased to be bitter.


She had started in the cold northeast, where everything was measured and your face must always be clean. She found her way west, where the horses didn't gleam, and nobody cared where her father had gone to school.

He'd been all over the territory and down into Old Mexico. Every town, a different name, a new cover, the same result. He always got his target. Or at least, that's how his reputation had it. He had lost a few, if he was being honest about it. But a few in a twenty-five year career didn't seem worth mentioning. 


  1. I love these. Seriously. They form a fascinating whole.

    1. Thanks! I have this feeling like there's -something- about these that works, but I can't quite put my finger on it yet.