FreeWrite: I was afraid

I wrote this as a FreeWrite in my 2010 Creative Writing Class. It’s a true story

I didn’t know how much further I had to go. I stayed at the party too long and now I was in danger of missing the last train. My skirt was riding up again. I reached behind me to pull it down. The lonely street had old homes lining each side, mansions of a bygone era, with curtains of trees guarding them from unwelcome eyes. The right hand side of the street cut into a little hill, the sprawling lawns started at my hip. My feet hurt.

The sky was dark, its tiny pinpricks of light were overshadowed by ancient, anemic street lamps. To the left, a tidy pile of recyclables were crowded by a mountain of bulging black garbage bags. A rat perched on top of the mountain, surveying his kingdom. His nose moved swiftly down the pile, as if he were a dog searching for a bone, and suddenly, paydirt! He tore into the defenseless refuse and released a malodorous tidbit that made the gorge rise in my throat.

I kept walking. My feet clomped one in the front of the other. I heard a noise. Footsteps that were not mine. The rat? More footsteps. Louder. More human than rat. I snuck a glance behind me. A dark figure passed in front of a lamppost. A man in a long coat with the collar pulled up to his ears.

Maybe I was overreacting. I kept up my pace, and willed my feet to move faster and faster. I ran fight or flight scenarios in my head. It would have to be fight. I’m not a very good runner.

He was closer. I moved to the other side of the street, acting as if I knew what I was doing. He stayed where he was, which I took as a good sign. I made an attempt to look at him out of the side of my eye. He was too far behind, but he was closing fast. For a moment we were walking side by side, then he pulled ahead and kept walking forward. I let out the breath I was holding.

Ahead I could see a line of lights which heralded the T-station and a 24-hour convenience store. I felt a breeze and froze. I reached behind me to fix—Oh crap. My skirt was bunched around my waist. I forgot to make sure my skirt stayed up. How long was it like this? I must have looked like a loony. Walking down the street, showing my ass to Boston. And that man. What must he have thought.

What do you think of when you think, I was afraid?

Freewrite: Mystery Men

Another Freewrite. The prompt for this one was “Solitude”.

Today I am alone but not alone. I sit in a semi-crowded restaurant and write and no one talks to me. Well, earlier some of my friends were here and they talked to me then, but now I am alone, friendless but not alone. Am I invisible? On the opposite corner is a gentleman, sans computer, who is writing or studying something on his table. He has a half-full beverage in front of him, it looks like an iced tea or lemonade, if only because of the lemons suspended in it. He looks in my direction now and again. I can tell that he sees me. I am not invisible to him. I do not know what he thinks about me, but I can tell that I interest him somehow. Is it because of my set up? My laptop has a sticker that says “meh.” on it. The table is strewn with a coffee mug, and large soda glass, and a powerstrip which provides power for my computer, phone and Kindle. My shirt has a ginormous peace symbol on it. He can’t see my shirt though, it is hidden by the screen of my laptop. He’s thinking again. Is he a writer, too? Or is he just a reader. He seems to be reading now. It’s a very active reading, with a furrowed brow and his hands on his bald, white forehead. He’s wearing a navy blue golf shirt. And thinking, there is a lot of thinking going on. Oh, there he goes with some writing. He could be writing a story, correcting papers, balancing his checkbook, editing a book, planning world domination. I don’t need to know what he is doing, I like a mystery. Sometimes the truth just isn’t as interesting as my fantasy.

For instance, I have a mystery man in my life. I work in Kennebunk, and whenever I am running early or late (but never when I am running right on time) I see him. He hangs out in front of the Kennebunk High School and directs traffic, to help the school busses make a left on Route 35 – otherwise they might have to wait forever. He wears a bright yellow vest, and is one of those force-of-nature-looking people. He is tall enough, with chocolate brown skin, and an easy smile. He has a bit of an attitude, in a good way. Once I saw him leave the intersection, but instead of walking toward the school, he started walking toward one of the houses on the opposite side of the street. Which set me to wondering, who is this guy? Why is he directing traffic in front of the school? Is he doing it as a favor? Was he hired by the town? Did he start doing it because he saw the traffic backing up, and as a concerned citizen he took it on himself to direct traffic? Is this his only job? If that’s the case, is he retired? He looks too young to be retired, is he a writer? This kind of job seems well-fit for a writer, 1-2 hours a day for directing traffic, enough to make some pin money. Is he a concerned parent who works a second or third shift and just directs traffic because it needs to be done? I just don’t know. And the thing is, I have the means to find out who he is. I could just ask Michelle at work and she’d probably know. But the thing is, then my Mystery Man would lose that mystery. And it’s always good to have a little mystery in one’s life.

My Panera mystery man has left the building. He packed up his phone and papers, he walked by me, either to refill his drink or go to the bathroom before he leaves. Or both. Leaving me alone but not alone again. In a room full of people who do not see me. A room of people to whom I’m invisible. People who, when they do notice me, let their eyes move to the left or the right, pretending they can’t or don’t notice me.

What does “Solitude” say to you? 

Written Kitten

OMG. This webpage, Written Kitten is fantastic!

It’s like you beg for a kitten and one magically appears. Here is what I wrote:

I need to see a kitten that is so awesome please show me some kittens right away i can’t wait to see some more kittens please let me wee some kitties I can’t really write much more would rather cut and paste, I suppose that would be cheating and I am not a cheater by any means hello everyone you are the best and I am the best and we are all the best the best and I want to see a kitty Please show me a kitty for the love of pete or george or one of the beatles.

I got to 100 words and a magical kitty appeared! Fantastic.

Freewrite: The Green Boat House

Another prompt from our writing class. This one is a Freewrite. It was supposed to be an observation, but I read the instructions wrong. 

In a freewrite, you write whatever the prompt led you to. This time the prompt was “Pathways”

The path to the Green Boat House is behind my house. I can see my schoolmates walk by with their towels rolled and tucked under their arms or draped over their backs as they trudge over. We live above the Laundromat, which is on the shore of Lake Hebron, in a little inlet. The downtown of Monson was built around this inlet. Also behind our house is the town dock, where people put their boats in the water during the summertime.

We didn’t swim in this inlet because the town sewer dumped right into it. In the canal next to the post office, we could see floating poop making its way into the lake. Instead we went to the town beach, which was located a couple of miles from the town center. Or we went to the boat house, which was just outside the inlet.

We weren’t really supposed to go to the Green Boat House. It’s on private property. If you walk past the town dock along the shore of the lake, there is a path through the trees that leads around the left side of the inlet, right to a not-so-secret beach. I don’t go too often myself, it doesn’t feel right. I never go by myself.

Tree roots reach across the worn path. Beer cans litter the small forest, some with the old-fashioned pull tabs, debris from another era. It’s cooler in the trees, a relief from the hot sun. If I didn’t know just how short this path really was, I could almost picture getting lost, or walking forever. But soon, as I follow the circular trail, I see more and more blue. The large part of the lake is opening up, and the crystal clear water beckons.

Suddenly, I’m there. To the left is a lush green lawn that reaches all the way to Route 15 (and freedom). To the right is a sandy beach leading to a private swimming oasis. Straight ahead, a dilapidated boat house.

Betty-Jean is already there. So is Penny Erickson. They are shucking their shorts and shirts and jumping into the water. I’m a little slower. But soon we are all standing thigh-high in the water. Shivering. “Okay,” says Betty-Jean, “on three. One. Two. Three.” She and Penny jump in. Penny holds her nose.

I stand there. I wasn’t ready. I psyche myself up to jump in. Suddenly my brother Bill comes running around the corner. He throws off his shoes, and takes off his shirt, and starts plowing into the water. “Brat,” he says. His arms start moving across the water threateningly.

“Billy, don’t” I say.

Bill laughs.

I take a deep breath and plunge into the icy water, doing a couple of summersaults as I go. I arch my back, and float.

What comes to mind when you think “Pathways”?