Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Story in the Window

The Story in the Window, 2010

Start with a picture and eighteen random words:

Respect. Mother. Naughty. Owe. Acting. Boot. Muck. Breathe. Little. Flagged. Revised. Enlightenment. Universe. List. Deaf. Crying. Henry. Vision.

The story:

Skye didn’t recover easily from her fights with Parker. He could go off to class in the morning as if nothing had happened over breakfast and she’d still be sitting at the table crying two hours later. She moved the plant from the table over to the windowsill to get some sun. She turned the chair around and sat watching cars come and go in the street by their building. Every hour, like clockwork, the meter maid put-putted up the street in her little three-wheeled scooter, checking the tires of the cars she’d flagged with chalk an hour before to see if they’d overstayed their time. One of the cars due to get a ticket belonged to the guy across the street who had so many girls up to his place that Skye’s friends had taken to calling him Naughty Nick. He came out and sweet-talked the meter maid into giving him an extra hour.

Skye called her friend Rebecca. “He’s driving me nuts. Should I stay with him? Am I acting like a baby to get so upset?”

“Make a list,” Rebecca answered dryly. “If the pluses outnumber the minuses, think about it. If not, give him the boot. You don’t owe him anything.” She paused to give Skye a chance to respond. When Skye didn't, Rebecca asked, “Do you love him?”

“I don’t know. Some days I feel like he’s the air I breathe. Other days I just want to shoot his ass.”

She made a list, even though it seemed like the kind of methodical thing her mother would have suggested. The thought of her mother only made things worse. Her mother already thought Parker didn’t respect her. “Anybody can see he thinks the universe revolves around him,” she’d said the last time she visited. “He’s deaf to anything of importance to you.”

The list was inconclusive. As many likes as dislikes. Skye decided to distract herself by doing some laundry before going to class. When she came back upstairs from the basement, she revised the list. In the light of the new list Parker didn’t look as good.

Rebecca’s right, Skye thought. I don’t owe him anything. Every idea I have he seems determined to muck up. She washed her face, brushed her hair, cleared her vision and headed off to class to spend two and a half hours parsing the meaning of rationality in Professor Henry Wicksack’s class on the Age of Enlightenment.


  1. I love that that's the class she's taking. Well done! And the photo is awesome.