I thought since this blog is partly named after the novel I am currently writing, that I’d share a piece of what I have, introducing the narrator and main character.
KEEPING SANE, AND OTHER ASPIRATIONS
An American Girl
In the 3rd Millennium
Sanity questions lapping up against the mind of an eleven-year-old; that’s odd, right? Like, what eleven-year-old should be thinking about being sane or insane, or wondering if it runs in the family, along certain bloodlines or simply does a snatch an’ grab for anyone within reach? I’m still working out whether or not my future includes succumbing to it and hitting 911 on my speed dial (I jot that down in the “Not Good” column) or whether my constant alertness and a well-timed right hook will keep lurking loony-tunes way the hell away from me.
But who am I kidding? Questionable sanity is running rampant in my world. I suppose you may be around in the end, and then you can make your own conclusions. If I feel like I’m heading straight for padded walls, I’ll suggest you put the book down and call it a day. There’s no need for you to go with me on that ride. I’m sure you have enough of your own problems; life is hard enough as it is.
“Life is hard.” Didn’t that statement knock the barrettes out of my hair the first time I heard it. Uncle Ross introduced that sound-bite philosophy the afternoon he dragged Mom home from a pre-Wednesday night binge. Uh, it’s Wednesday, guys. Aren’t binges supposed to be for Friday and Saturday? Thursday at the earliest. Jesus, Wednesday; I knew that was a bad sign.
Dad had moved out the month before. I still saw him almost every day, which I think only accelerated Mom’s bingeing. It’s gotta be hard to get over your first love now that you’re twelve years older and got a body chock-full of cellulite, stretch marks and sagging boobies. I think that was the kick in the ass more than anything. Mom no longer feels young and pretty, and now she’s been dumped. She ardently believes that the least Dad could do since he was the other half in creating me (thus the reason she’ll not be buying any bikinis in her future) is to stand by her now and worship her body, no matter what it looks like. The problem is, Dad still looks like a god with six-pack abs, python arms and long girly-lashes that all the ladies envy. Mom’s pissed. It doesn’t help when our new next-door neighbor stops to welcome us, her two young boys wrapped around her toned thighs, her taut abs (extra-obvious below her cropped top) grabbing Mom’s attention, taunting her.
I find Mom sobbing in her bedroom.
“It’s not fair!” she cries. She says more, but it’s rather incoherent, the crook of her elbow receiving the brunt of it.
Uncle Ross overhears her and shouts back, “Life isn’t fair, woman. Life is hard. You know that. Now, get in here and crack a beer with me.”
Mom waves me out of the room and I’m glad to go because I have no idea what to say. I walk past Uncle Ross to get into the kitchen and he whispers to me, “Her ass ain’t never going to draw any guy’s eyes again, so we’s just got to distract her a bit.”
“By getting her fatter?” I say.
Ah, Christ, I think, then grab myself a Mountain Dew and make a beeline for my bedroom. When Uncle Ross helps her get drunk he just climbs into his ancient Chevy and swerves home. I’m the one who’s stuck wiping Mom’s head with cold cloths, making sure she doesn’t choke on her vomit and cleaning up the toilet seat after she hasn’t aimed quite as she should. I also get to slog through her hangover pity-party the next morning, when she’s feeling so bad that not only do I have to make my own breakfast and lunch, fake her signature on the permission slip for a class trip to see Taming of the Shrew, but I get to dig out my rain boots and coat, and leave early enough to catch the metro bus—’cause she’s still too drunk to drive me. Yeah, thanks, Uncle Ross. Spot on.
I write his name in the “Not Good” column. In ink.
© 2011 Keeping Sane, and Other Aspirations by Kat Ward.