So, for my English project, we have to do a series of viginettes about ourselves (from a selection of teacher-approved subjects) based on The House on Mango Street.
I'm going to be posting them here. She never said we couldn't share them!
(I will be editing my original post with each new viginette)
Criticism is good, but I don't know if I'll take you up on your suggestions on this specific piece. This is only a school project after all.
A Failure By Any Other Name
On my 11th birthday, my mom and then-stepdad decided to surprise me.
"We want to name a star after you. You've heard about it on the radio, right?", they said. I promptly replied with a firm NO.
I've always hated my name. That was just the first day I realized it.
Several months after that, I pondered new names. In a school journal, I wrote I would rather have the name 'Alex', like the eldest of my four cousins. One of my friends suggested I change my name to Kat. My mom thought that I should adopt a nickname.
People say my name is pretty when I tell them my moniker. I just smile and nod. Why should I tell them I don't like something? I know as well as anyone with strong opinions that folks are extremely defensive of their strokes.
Most of my internet friends call me by my real name, or a variation. Emms. Eminem. MM. It's more tolerable in real life. People's aren't supposed to call you Seika there.
Yet sometimes she does.
And when she says Emma, it comes out the same.
My best friend, Julie, has bouncy brown hair, glasses, and a smile on her face always. I never quite stopped to ponder why potential friends and boyfriends are all over her, but one of those might be the reason.
We met at a mutual friend's birthday party, when I was about eight. Julie lived next door to him, thus she was invited over, and I happened to be that friend's love intrest at the time. It was only a matter of minutes until we noticed each other.
"Do you like Pokémon?", she asked.
I nodded, and most likely screamed the word "Yes!", being the overzealous child I was.
We talked about what our favorite water-dwelling Pokémon were, and eventually settled on playing a game, pretending we were Gyarados and Poliwhirl. We splashed about in the pool, having a lot of fun, and agreed to meet in the future. Looking back, this was probably the best moment of my life.
I still see Julie. She sits next to her boyfriend at the lunch table, calls me every so often, and usually says she's too busy to hang out and talk about old times.
"Saturday is too busy. All my friends call then, asking to see me", she said.
What does that make me?
"Why are you here?"
It was Julie's brother, Lucas. I was around twelve years old, standing in the middle of a Magic: The Gathering card tournament filled with older teens and men twice my age.
"I'm playin' cards", I snapped. Years of teasing and hard feelings had frozen my heart. Julie and several other friends were the only ones who could melt it.
Walking over to the table, I challenged a guy who was probably around eighteen to a match. He promptly pulled out his trump card and defeated my poorly-put together deck.
Things like that never stopped me. I challenge more and more people, and after being beaten every single time, I decided Magic wasn't the Trading Card Game for me.
I tried everything. Pokémon. Yu-Gi-Oh. Digimon. Zatch Bell. Naruto. Every card game that came under the sun was never safe from my grubby, preteen hands. I once bought out all the Digimon cards from Toys-R-Us, and heard from the manager that several kids had complained about them not being there.
The new season of Yu-Gi-Oh just aired in the USA, I heard from some friends who are fans. I still remember my favorite characters, two underdogs who went from being stars to total losers, thanks to the main cast. They were always out for revenge, and got into several funny antics over the stretch of the series.
After the first series ended, a second took over, and those characters were nowhere to be found. They had dissappeared into blank space. Apparently, other from a small mention, they aren't in the new series either.
Some things change, I tell myself. I no longer play card games.
I'm not as close as I was to Julie, either.
I picked up my blue and white Asian-themed parasol, hung up the phone, and told my mom I was going. I opened the door and walked out.
Walking along the side of the road, I admired the perfect lawns. Everyone in Clifton Park is a snob, I thought to myself. Everyone but her.
"Hey", I heard. There she was. I couldn't help but smile.
"What are you smirking about?", she said. I looked up, and quickly thought of an excuse.
"Your shirt", I said. "It has a hamster on it"
We started walking to her house, her miniature dachsund in tow.
"Why do you always carry that umbrella?"
"In case it rains", I said.
Following her, I heard the sounds of dogs barking. Most people in our neighborhood complex own at least one pet, us included.
We stopped and sat on a couch that was conviently put at the side of the road for Bulk Pickup Day. The neighborhood was never this messy. People here are usually meticulously neat.
I began to ponder what she had said. It was going through my mind until we sat up off the couch and ran with her dog to her house, where we could spend the rest of the day playing video games.
Sometimes I think back on how my neighborhood rubs off on me. Everyone there is like a flock of birds, there's a 'pecking order' based on money, and how long it's been in the family. The people with 'new money' look down upon the people with no money. The people who are just middle-class are nicer.
Birds. I look at my parasol. There are peacocks on it.
Male peacocks show off, to impress females. Their plumage has beautiful colors. Sometimes brown and green and purple.
Sometimes blue and white.
"Do you want me to take you and Julie out to dinner?", my dad asked.
I was staying over at Julie's for several days, because my mom was out of town. I asked Julie's mom if my dad could take us out to the local sushi place. She said yes, so my dad picked us up and we went there.
Mr. Fuji was crowded at that time of night. After several minutes, we were ushered to our table.
I wasn't vegan back then, so I ate to my heart's content. Julie ordered a simple udon noodle soup.
"I like Sakura better", she said. Sakura was the competing sushi place about a mile across the road.
"Well, I like Mr. Fuji. They have better sushi rolls"
We stayed silent while eating. The waiter brought the bill up, and Julie thanked my dad for providing us with dinner.
Getting into the car, silence again.
It's never the big things we disagree over. Usually small things, like whether The Dear Hunter or Fall Out Boy is a better band.
There are some things we agree over though. She's never debated that we'll be friends when we're old and grey, sitting in rocking chairs, still arguing over music.
I'm beginning to doubt this.
I was feeling sick at school. I could barely swallow. I walked up to my math teacher and got a pass to the nurse.
Heading down there, I wondered what it was. Did I eat too much? Too little? Did I catch a bug?
Then those words flashed through my mind.
It was what I always told one of Julie's friends when I was having problems involving my friendship with her. They were my codewords for "Please help me before I try to hurt myself again"
After I entered the nurses' they asked me several questions, and I sat down. I told them I was having emotional problems and they brought me down to the school social worker.
I forget everything I told her, but there was a lot of crying and heartache on my side. She thought that Julie wanted to leave me behind.
"People change, especially at this time of life", she told me. "She might want to move on"
How could that be? We've been friends forever. She's just... just...
I left the office, feeling a little better from crying. I called my mom and asked to go home.
Mom told me basically the same thing, and that didn't help.
That night I logged on to MSN and talked to Julie's boyfriend, who was always there to help me. He told me many things, revealing many things about myself, and something that makes a lot more sense than what any adults who I told the situation to would tell me:
"Seasons change. People don't."
Swarm Around the Queen
It was a word that struck fear in my heart until when I was around twelve. I was deathly afraid of bees and stinging, yellow and black insects. Almost every night I would have a dream about being chased by a bee in some way, shape, or form.
I was also fascinated by bees. Every time I went to the cider mill, I would watch the bees, unable to hurt me, inside the glass-covered hive.
Bees and wasps were a love-hate relationship. I would run away and scream, asking my mom to kill them, but the next day I would be reading about the mating habits of a queen bee.
Sometimes I feel the same about Julie. I hate her for how she makes me feel, but I love her for the same reason. I still consider her my best friend.
Every bee but the queen dies after it's sting. I've been hurt again and again. I only have one chance.
It was time.
I was upstairs, but I was able to hear the telltale words on the answering machine.
It was a goodbye that Julie gave all her friends. I knew she had called.
I ran down to my mom, as she told me what I already knew. "Oh yeah, Julie called"
I picked up the phone and dialed her number. She said she "thought I had died or something" because I hadn't been at school, and had snapped at her the other day. Apparently she had been talking about me the whole time I was gone.
"Obligation", I thought. She never wanted to talk to me at school anymore. "But why is she calling me?"
We talked for a while, just about what recently happened. She had to go, and I hung up.
I talked to her boyfriend online that night. He relayed a funny story about him and this girl who had a huge crush on him.
"You know, some people aren't meant to be", he typed to me. "Me and that girl, for instance"
I knew where he was going with this.
"Julie and myself?", I typed back.
After some silence we changed the subject.
Next day I went back to school. Julie was there. Like usual she didn't talk to me much.
I went home sick that day, too.
That day, I saw my English assignment. I started this as a story about myself... and it turned into a story about her.
Next time I see her... I'm going to show her this story. See if she understands.
Now I know what I need to do.
Wow, really quite phenomenal writing :D
I had to do a project EXACTLY like this last year. What grade are you in?
Oh, and another question, what did you think of the book? I personally hated it, for several reasons, but found this assignment quite interesting.
Added another one. The best ideas were the ones I used at the beginning. D:
I'm in 10th grade... and the book? It seems okay, not really my style of writing or favorite subject matter, but it's good for a book I normally wouldn't read.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ending. Such a cool way to wrap it up :D
Thanks Hark :D
Writing this helped me a lot. Even if I end up having to change it for the teacher and/or get a bad grade, I'll be happy.