Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Short Story One

I'm in an intro to creative writing class this semester.  Below is my first attempt at a short story.  It's fiction but draws from real life.  I should warn you, it is not a comedic piece.  That aside, I hope some of you enjoy it. 

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By: Kyley Shinead Eagleson

When I was a kid, my grandma’s attic was the most magical place in the world.  It was like someone took Hogwarts and Narnia and rolled them into one.  You could find anything up there, seriously, anything.  Like, you know those giant condiment jars they put a pump in at school?  The ones that hold an entire gallon of ketchup?  Well anyway, Grandma had one of those full to the brim with buttons.  To this day I doubt if any of them match, but she kept them anyway.
Every day I took two different busses, the morning one from home to school and the afternoon one that took me to grandmas.  Her house smelled just exactly like you’d imagine, like baking things and cleaning supplies and cinnamon.  Except for the attic.  The attic always smelled like dust and something else, something that I now know was mothballs.  Even today it still smells like them.  Mothballs are the smell of magic; did you know that?
~ ~ ~
Sometimes we’d play games like dress-up and grandma would put me in an outfit she wore as a kid.  The clothes were so crazy; I still can’t believe people wore them.  The best though was when we’d do hide-and-seek; the attic was the best place to play hide-and-seek.
Some days though we would just sit and read together, those were usually the days when grandma was tired.  I’m not sure if she ever knew that I didn’t mind those days at all, I loved escaping into the fairytale world just as much as she did.  I wish I could remember for sure whether or not I ever told her that.  I guess it’s not really that important, we both loved the written word though, Grandma used to say that books were the one thing she’d always overspend on.  She could go years wearing the same old shoes, but hardly a day passed that she didn’t come home with a new book for one of us.
I started my collection when I was 11.  I’m 24 now and I have so many books that they literally line my walls.  Dad blames grandma, he always jokes that she’s the one who infected me.  Mom thinks it has something to do with our eyes though.  They look so much alike that she figures they must work the same way too.  That’s why we both love to read.  At least I’ve got that I guess.
~ ~ ~
“Geneva!” my dad yells up the stairs, “lunch is ready.”
I stand up and swat at my legs to get the dust off my hands before heading down, two steps at a time, like I used to.  In the cupboard next to the plates I see one of grandmas “no-no boxes.”  Those boxes were like her signature.
They were just old blue diaper wipe boxes that she’d drawn angry faces on and the words, “no-no,” but they worked.  I always knew to stay out of them because that was where she kept her medicine.  Today though I take the box down and open it; I see the old bottle of Xanax, pop the top off and take one.  I think she’d be okay with it.  I’m pretty sure she would understand.
We eat our sandwiches in silence; it’s just that no one really feels like talking.  When I’m finished I rinse my plate off and head back up to the attic, ready to go through more boxes. In a back corner I find a small trunk and open it, it’s got more books in it.  I recognize a few of the titles but most of them are strange to me.  At the bottom of the box I come across one with a blank cover.
Curious, I open it and instantly recognize my grandma’s handwriting; I’d know it anywhere, loopy and carefree, the writing that left me notes saying where the cookies were after school; it’s dated April 3rd, 1941.  Doing the math quickly I realize it’s from when she was about 16 years old.  I pack up the books in the trunk to take back with me; the journal goes in my pocket though.  About an hour later I can’t stand it anymore so I go downstairs and get in my car.  I crank up the music as high as it will go, belting out Half Breed by Cher as I drive.
On my way home I pull over at a secondhand store to pick up an old silver mirror.  I got the idea while I was still up in the attic.  After spending a few minuets looking around, I find the perfect one.  It’s small, about the size of a typical photo frame, with delicate filigree flowers around the boarder.  Totally my grandma’s style, and mine too.
Back at my apartment I put the mirror next to my favorite chair.  Over the next few days I read through my grandma’s journal, discovering things about her that shock me, things that sadden me, and things that make me love her even more.  I never knew she had a lover before grandpa, or that her parents were so strict that they made her give up a child she had before she was married.
I sit in my chair with her journal and a big mug of tea.  Sometimes while I’m reading it all gets overwhelming so I stop and look up at the mirror.  If I look really closely at my eyes, just for a moment, I can almost pretend she’s still here.

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