Excerpt from a short story about being 11
It was not yet 4 o’clock when the phone rang. I sat at my computer desk, the PC glowing forth with the shadowing portrait of Windows Paint which I had been mindlessly doodling on, dragging the straight edge box tool, then filling it in dramatically with the paint bucket. My mother’s muffled voice echoed up the stairs, “Kiersen, it’s for you!” She bellowed. I bounded down the stairs, two at a time, placing both my hands on the banister I swung my body with nimble grace down the last 4 steps, it would certainly be a ten on the landing; Carrie would be proud, America would be proud. My mother held the phone by the antenna, like a long stem rose. “It’s Shawn” she said with effort, had I studied her face, I’m certain I would have seen a smile vaguely veiled behind her composure. But I did not study her face, because the world had stopped, I looked in panic at my mood ring…blue-y green, maybe some brown at the edge…what did that mean? I shot my mother a sideways glare before snatching the phone. “Hello?” I stumbled, damn it, I wanted to sound confident, experienced, cooled, but fuck it, a boy was calling me, this was unprecedented! Awaiting the response, I expertly maneuvered my tongue to scoop up a lock of my hair, crunching the individual strands which held tense for a moment between my teeth then slid suddenly one side, the taste of Herbal Essences and Sun In. “Hi” can the small voice through the hundred tiny holes, the high tamber rattling the little amp. “Um…can you play this Friday?” Play? what the living hell does that mean? I’m eleven, I haven’t played with a boy in eyons, I’m a damn woman, I don’t know how to play anymore. I softened my heart, obviously he was nervous. “Ok”, I said slowly…”maybe we could go to a movie?” I suggested, complete softball pitch. “Ok” he said, my breath caught in my throat, “let me ask my mom”, “Ok, I’ll ask mine too”. I held the speaker to my pounding heart, “Mom, can I go to the movies Friday?” I bellowed towards the kitchen, “Yes, sure…” there was a loaded pause “With who?” She added with divlement on her breath, “Mom! Shut up you know, you know who I’m on the phone with, you know what I’m talking about!” The tirade rose rich and with each protest the taste of Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers skated crossed my tempered tongue. I ended the rant with an impressive “Gau-dah!” I returned the phone to my ear, “Um, my mom says it’s ok”, “Yeah,” replied Shawn, “My mom too”. That moment hung like the swirled smoke of a disrupted fire, just a pause of joyous bliss. We both consulted the news paper postings for the movie times, with meticulous care, as one pours over wedding china. I returned the phone to its hanger, slick and hot and I flattened my Lisa Frank shirt against my stomach, the bullfrog beaming with a newfound sense of purpose.