Sunday, February 21, 2010

the big reveal

As some of you may know, I'm taking a creative writing class this semester, and on Thursday I turned in my first short story, to be read and critiqued by my classmates over the weekend. Gulp. If 20 strangers are reading it, possibly right now, I see no reason why people with whom I choose to associate can't also read it as well.

There is a back story to it, but that's for another day. It's called "Reflection," and I don't actually like the title, but that's the best I could do at 2 am Thursday morning. Here's the first part, and I hope you like it. (Go easy on me...I hadn't written anything creative in months.)

“Remember, projects are due this Friday,” Ms. Niblett called over the din of papers being shuffled and doors slamming as the bell rang. I stuffed my binder into my backpack and headed out of the classroom, making a brief stop to my locker before stepping out into the chilly November air.

I walked to my car, a 2000 Ford Taurus, and took my time unlocking the car and plopping my things on the backseat. I knew from experience that Ainsley would be late, ostensibly from talking to a teacher about upcoming assignments but really from chatting it up with her “friend,” Devin. I settled myself in the driver’s seat and watched my classmates stream by, getting into their own cars and zooming away, or milling around under the oak for soccer practice.
I checked my watch. 3:10. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel, trying to shrug off my biting impatience. At 3:20 I pulled away, spinning my tires rather harder than necessary in my frustration. My phone rang at 3:25.


“Lin!” Ainsley’s voice was breathless on the other end. “Sorry, girl, I forgot to text you that I’m going to Devin’s today.”

Of course. I frowned and turned neatly into our driveway. “You text.” My voice sounded clipped, even to me.

“Oh, Lindsay. You sound like Mom. Lighten up, okay? Or that black hair will be sproutin’ grays pretty soon!” Click. Thoroughly irritated now, I lugged my stuff out of the backseat and stomped up the driveway.

My mom looked up as I swung open the door. “Hi, honey. Have a good day? Where’s Ainsley?” She bustled about the kitchen as she talked.

I’d already started walking down the hall to my room. “It was okay. Just another Wednesday. Ainsley’s with a friend,” I called over my shoulder. I flopped down on my bed and resisted the urge to yell into a pillow.

Listening to me rant, you’d think I was talking about my fourteen-year-old freshman of a sister, but Carmindy’s more like me. Responsible. Dance team and volleyball in the spring, and impeccable grades on top of that. She adjusted to high school better than I had, and I was proud of her. No, the sister driving me insane would be my twin, Ainsley. Older by two minutes, to be technical. We’re both juniors, sixteen, but sometimes I feel like she’s going on six. And the boys she’s always with! Last year it was Alek, the artsy kid from her theatre class. Then things got serious with Logan, the guy she’s been on-and-off with since our freshman year. He’s in the army now, and I bet he doesn’t have a clue who Devin is.

I sat up and looked at the mirror across from my bed. Black hair tumbled across my shoulders, blue eyes stared back at me. Though we’re twins, we couldn’t look less alike. Ainsley has brown curls and brown eyes. My skin is milky, while hers is freckled all over and tans easily in summer. I’m built like Marilyn Monroe, and she’s built more like Audrey Hepburn. At family reunions, great-aunts always come up to me and say things like, “My, Lindsay! What a beautiful young lady you’ve grown up to be! And that skin – Scarlett O’Hara would be jealous!” But what they don’t know is the boys like tans. And little bitsy teeny weeny bikini bodies. And brown eyes, apparently.

I turned my back on my reflection and started digging in my background for my history book; that project wasn’t going to finish itself. I tried to put my sister out of my mind and concentrated on the Civil War instead. I worked until I heard Melinda dropping Carmindy off after dance practice, then continued working until the light outside started to fade. Finally mom called us to dinner.

We ate at seven sharp every night, because my dad got in at 6:30. Carmindy was usually showered by then, and the dining room was filled with her chattering voice until we bowed our heads for the blessing. My dad picked up his steak knife and glanced at the empty chair to my left. “Where’s Ainsley?”

“Lindsay said she was with a friend,” my mother answered, buttering her potato. “Which friend did you say it was, dear?” She turned to me.

I didn’t look up from my steak. More than likely, they’d freak out if I told them the truth. They don’t like Ainsley being with Logan because he’s a few years older, but they certainly wouldn’t like her being with some guy they don’t know. I’m sure they’d like to think Ainsley’s a fragile doll who needs her virtue protected, but oh, if they only knew the truth.

“She’s with Sierra,” I lied, buttering my potato to give my hands something to do. “History project due Friday.” Mom and dad beamed at each other across the table, and I looked down at my plate, gripping my steak knife. You owe me, I thought viciously.

I helped Carmindy with the dishes and headed back to finish the project. I just had to proofread my essay, and I was done. It isn’t that often I actually have free time, so I turned on my TV and flipped through the channels. There wasn’t much on, so I settled on a rerun of Boy Meets World. It was the episode where Shawn tries to win Angela’s military dad’s approval. I sat there, savoring the feeling of having nothing to do, until thoughts of Ainsley starting creeping back in my mind. I thought idly back to middle school, when she wasn’t the most popular with the guys – or the most unpopular with the girls, for that matter. We shared bunk beds back then in our old house, and we giggled late into the night, talking. We were like those twins you see in movies who can finish each others' sentences. I hurriedly clicked off the TV and sat in the dark. Suddenly I realized that I was on the verge of tears. I jumped up and started cleaning my room, sorting out piles of laundry and folding clean clothes just to stay busy. I had no choice but to go to bed early. It was either that or dwell uselessly on the past, because let’s face it – my sister was a different person back then.

That's the first couple of pages. There are eight in total. Let me know what you think! I like constructive criticism.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and is enjoying their Sunday evening; don't forget to tune into at 7pm tonight for the live Be Our Guest Podcast broadcast! (Just because I can't doesn't mean you can't.) :)

Have a magical week, everybody.


  1. I'd love to read the rest. You should publish it as a Google Document. =)


Sprinkle some pixie dust. You know you wanna :]