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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

the dark

There is a smell in the dark wet street, of onions and cabbage and spoiled meat. It has a hot, steamy feel to it like school lunch. I shove my hands deeper into my pockets, walking faster towards home.
A shadow runs along the sidewalk next to me, dancing around the puddles. I look back once, and see that no one is there. 

Just me and the streetlights.

The neighbor is in the hallway in his socks. He wears a shirt with a rainbow across the middle, the kind a seven year old boy would have. He is polishing his boots on the windowsill, looking out into the darkness.

Inside, I pull my wet shoes off. The christmas lights are dancing on our little tree, and there is that messy angel on top made by an orphan. 





Comments

liv said…
So many times you've taken us to this hallway - I feel I know it. Bad lighting, funny smell, a wee bit damp with an odd odor...am I right?

The first part of this reminds me of that Bob Dylan photo - NY city, hands stuffed into pocks, cold and windy. But it's you...the Bob Dylan of Moscow.
This is good work! I have a couple of questions: (1) Why did you choose not to place a comma between dark and wet at the beginning of the first sentence? Why not treat "dark wet" as a compound adjective? (2) Why did you choose not to treat "seven year old" as a compound adjective by placing a hyphen between each word?

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