"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away." -Shing Xiong *** "Do not go where the path may lead; instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson *** "Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget." -G. Randolf *** "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -E.M. Forster *** "Imagnination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world." -Albert Einstein *** Defintion of Suburbia: A place where they cut down trees and name streets after them. -(Unknown, found on sticker) :p *** "A lie goes halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." -Winston Churchill***"Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly." -Louis Ginsberg ***"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber

Sunday, March 6, 2011

*The List (a short story)

The List
Charlotte ate green peppers all day long.
She had been sitting at her little circular kitchen table, in her old chair (the only one accompanying the table), surrounded by piles of her bills, sipping coffee from her mug. But no, she wasn’t tending to her bills with one of her pencils or pens, she was bent over her piece of paper, her eyebrows furrowed in deep concentration. It had only two words on the top line, both spread far apart to represent two different categories. Two simple words, yet they represented something so incredibly big and important.
Boy                                        Girl
Charlotte had been sitting there for a half hour, names dancing by in front of her eyes, a parade of letters. But none had seemed right, so her pen remained poised in the air, waiting for its moment to shine. But it never came in contact with the college ruled sheet of white adorned with blue and pink lines.
She groaned. Blue and pink. Boy and girl.
Throwing down her pen, she paced in the kitchen, distracting herself by reciting in her head; My fridge, my counter, my sink, my dirty dishes, my curtains, my stove, my cooking spices, my overflowing trash, my coffee spoon. Not Mom’s stove, Mom’s fridge, Mom’s sink, Mom’s curtains, no, not hers. Mine. Not Dad’s coffee spoon, Dad’s dirty dishes, Dad’s overflowing trash, Dad’s cooking spices, no, not his. Mine. It was all Charlotte’s. It was strange, scary, and exciting all at once.
She was 18, and finally living on her own. Finally, she was away from her over protective mother and her embarrassing father. Finally. She was in her apartment, not her parents’ house tucked away in her room.
So, she didn’t end up going to college her… complication had postponed that. So, she had a low paying job. So, all she had in the fridge was a slice of cheese, pepper, and pineapple pizza. But it was all her own.
Green peppers.
She yanked the slice from the fridge, picked all the peppers off and ate them as though they were they last meal she would ever have. Then she snatched her coat, cell phone, and purse, slipped on her shoes, and bolted out the door.
She wanted peppers so bad it scared her. She had always loved peppers. Charlotte used to steal them from her grandparents’ vegetable garden after school. She would go inside, drop her book bag on the couch, rinse the pepper off in the sink, and eat it. She would eat everything, the outside, the foamy stuff inside, and the seeds. All that would be left was the stem when she was finished.
But this was different. She felt that if she didn’t have a green pepper in about ten seconds, she would fall over and die. She craved the vegetable with all of her being.
She ignored her car, making her way down the two blocks that separated her from her destination. She was nearly jogging, her belly making her walk awkwardly. But people could see that she was a woman with a purpose, and they gladly got out of her way.
She made it to the market and bought over twenty green peppers (she lost count after 18), the cashier giving her a questioning look as she rung them all up. She took one look at her belly, and a small “o” formed on the woman’s lips, her question cleared up almost instantly for her.
Charlotte barely made it home on time. She stuffed the peppers in the fridge, setting one bag on the kitchen table. She sat back down to her boy/girl list, lifting her first pepper from the bag, staring at it as though she hadn’t seen even a crumb for months.
And so her all day pepper marathon began.
She only got up from her chair a handful of times- twice to reliever herself, once to turn on her stereo, and several times to retrieve a new bag of peppers from the fridge.
But her list never grew one word wiser. As the daylight faded and the streetlights clicked on, the two same words were still there, with no new company to join them.
Boy                                          Girl
                Charlotte began to notice slowly that her craving was subsiding. Resting a hand on her belly, she remembered with a smile the most… uh, peculiar craving she had had. So far. It had been two weeks ago. She had had a dream about eating a sandwich (the bread was toasted) that had consisted of olives, blue cheese, cherries, orange slices, honey mustard, provolone cheese, and of course, a dollop of whip cream on top. She had woken wanting one bad. Real bad. She had rushed to the market like a mad woman, much like she had today, and had eaten about five of those sandwiches that day. And the weirdest part was that she hated olives, blue cheese, and honey mustard. Out of curiosity, she had made one three days ago, and had nearly tossed her innards when she took a bite. After she had made sure her stomach was secure, she had laughed and laughed until tears streamed from her cheeks and she couldn’t breathe.
                With another sigh, she started sifting through her bills, giving up her list for now. She assorted them into piles. “No more stalling”, “You’ve got a couple days,” and “Eh.”
                While Charlotte did this, more names paraded past. She wanted something unique, but not something so absurd that he or she would be picked on in school. Not like Emphie. God, she would absolutely die if anyone she knew had the knowledge that her middle name was Emphie! Charlotte Emphie Allerton. She cringed.
                No she wanted something unique, but pretty. Eye catching, but not in a bad way.
                Jessie, Michael, Summer, May, Jerry, Sharon, Cricket…
                Wait… what? Had she just considered Cricket as a name? She started laughing hysterically, as though it were the funniest things that had ever happened to her.
                And that’s when it hit her, in the middle of her laughing fit.
                With a tingling excitement, she wrote ‘Kiley’ under the word ‘girl’.
                Kiley Enwilde. Kiley ‘what’ Enwilde? Kiley… Kiley… Kiley Jane? No. Kiley Anne? Maybe, maybe not. Kiley Sara, Kiley Margaret… Margot? No.
                Then a beam of light seemed to shine down on her.
                Kiley Elizabeth Enwilde. Elizabeth had been her grandmother’s name. It fit perfectly. Beneath the word ‘Kiley’, she wrote ‘Kiley Elizabeth Enwilde’, and then circled it. So, she had her girl’s name. Now she had to think of a good boy’s name, and she would be ready.
                Charlotte rested her hand on her bulging belly again and smiled. She had told herself that after she thought of a couple good names, she would be officially ready. But she realized at that moment that she felt ready. She had given up her education, was forced to admit to her she’d be better off without him when Eric Enwilde walked away after she told him. She had left her family for an apartment. She had squirreled away all her spare money, allowing no extra for herself. She had devoted a room to the bulge in her belly, and then painted it, furnished it, filled it with diapers, wipes, toys, and baby powder. But even after that, she hadn’t been ready.
                But now Charlotte found that she could hardly wait. I can’t wait to meet you Kiley, or… or… Evan. Yes, Evan, she liked that.
                “I can’t wait to meet you, Kiley or Evan.” She laughed joyously, and took a big bite out of her pepper.