When I grow up

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When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I think my first answer to that question was a mommy. I would play with my dolls and pretend I was their mommy. I would change their clothes, pack a diaper bag, and have my dolls ride in a toy car seat buckled into the car. Basically, I would imitate how my mother took care of my baby sister.

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Next, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to play school with my stuffed animals all the time. Looking back, I find this ironic because there were times when I hated school. I felt lonely and left out sometimes. Other times, there was too much attention when I would have preferred to blend in. Adolescence can be difficult for the meek. Thank God for great teachers, friends, my family, and a lousy guidance counselor (or was she?) who had reservations about me “making it” in college so far away from my comfort zone. At any hard time when I briefly entertained the thought of quitting, I thought about that guidance counselor’s comment and decided that succeeding—if only to spite her—was worth it. Continue reading “When I grow up”

Chapter One Draft: What I Learned That Summer

In keeping with a tradition I started with “Jordan’s Sister,” I am sharing the first chapter of my latest WIP, “What I Learned That Summer.” It is the story of 14-year-old Kincaid Walsh and her summer of life lessons. I am not sure yet if it is YA or General Fiction. I will figure it out as I go. Something you should know about her: she’s a bit of rebel and has dyed her hair pink.

Chapter 1
June 1995

They never asked me if I wanted to come to this godforsaken place for the summer. My parents just threw a duffel bag at me and told me to pack enough stuff for six weeks. Six whole weeks away from my friends. Almost two months stranded in the middle of nowhere with my grandparents at their small motel. The movies I’d seen involving motels by lakes never ended well.

“Kincaid,” my mother said. “Get your bags out of the car.”

“Mom,” I said. “I’m too old for a babysitter. Can’t I just stay at home?”

“A fourteen-year-old girl, especially one with your history, has no business staying alone half the summer,” my father said. “You’re staying here. Get your butt out of the car.”

I relented and grabbed my bags out of the back of my parents’ car as they disappeared inside the main office to talk to my grandparents. I looked around the motel. I’d last visited when I was eleven, back when it was fun and only for a few days at a time—a week at the most. “I hate it here,” I muttered. “The whole place smells like fish guts and old people.”

“That’s part of its charm,” a male voice said from behind me. “Get used to it.”

Continue reading “Chapter One Draft: What I Learned That Summer”

Eighteen years later

“Eighteen Years Later” Free-Verse Poetry, 9-23-17

My inability to hate you
Is the biggest detriment in my adult life.
I was young and inexperienced,
Putty in your hands,
Moldable and folding myself over and over again
Until there was almost nothing left.

I want to sever the insatiable connection to you,
Because it still hurts that you didn’t feel it too.
Losing you damn near killed me.
I thought I knew what love was,
But you said I didn’t.
You were wrong; I knew everything.

-Brandi Easterling Collins