writing sample

I’m always hesitant to post things I’ve written for class or whatever on the Internet, because the one time I did that in 9th grade with a poem, it ended up as a chain letter email thing.  But, I figure… I can share the few writing exercises that I’ve been doing for my fiction reading seminar.  Every week, we have to emulate the style of the author that we were reading.  I’m posting the one I wrote this week – using the model of Tom McCarthy’s “Remainder”.  (I actually spruced up an old piece for this, but it worked so well that I had to go with it.)

Either I read it somewhere, or someone once told me that they loved the feeling of seeing a person step off of an airplane. Of course, this was before the whole terrorist attack incident; before you had to wait by the curb outside of baggage claim. But I thought about it – the feeling of your heart swelling in anticipation right before being reunited with someone that you really, really miss. It must be amazing. As research, I drove to the airport. The first time, I drove to the very top of the highest parking garage and just sat there. I listened to the same song over and over and watched the planes take off. I liked to pretend I knew where they were going. And prayed that they didn’t crash. After about an hour of this, I drove down the ten swirling flights of dizzy levels, and went home.   Behind me were all the things I didn’t know.

The second time I attempted it, there was a major accident on the highway and the traffic was atrocious, so I turned around and headed back to my apartment.  I weaved through the red sedans, the pick-up trucks, and the entire lane filled with semi’s.  

The third time I went to the airport; I parked on the third floor and went inside. I stood at the bottom of the escalator and watched as the seas of people flooded off to their families, conveyor belts, and overstuffed luggage with identification tags in an array of different colors for better recognizing.  There were kisses on the cheek.  Some of them embraced. The love protruded from them and began to invade my personal bubble.  I shrugged it off and walked down past the escalator.  I made my way across the fading blue carpet, the stains and the tattered fraying areas in the corners, over to the elevators and got in.  I half-smiled to the young couple that walked in right after I did and asked them which level they were going to. The guy said “four” and that was it.  I tried reading their body language – I was getting nothing. Which one of them just returned from a trip, and from where? 

The girl spoke in my direction, “Where are your bags?” I looked at her, confused. She spoke up again – slower this time, “Where are your bags?  Did you leave them by the baggage claim?”  She pointed to her own to see if it would help me understand, as if I was some sort of moron, or couldn’t comprehend English.

“Oh,” I paused, “no, I didn’t come with any bags. I didn’t come here from somewhere else… I mean, I just came to the airport to come to the… uh, airport.”  I stumbled over my words. She squinted at me through piercing blue eyes.  Her boyfriend or friend or brother or cousin just stared at me with this unnervingly vacant expression.  His hair was spiked in a way that made him look like a shark.  I became uncomfortable and looked down at my feet.  The scuffed marble tile from beneath my flip-flops stared back up at me.  I shuffled them as the elevator doors opened with a ding.  

“Are you going to get out or just stare at your French pedicure?” she asked as she shook her shaggy auburn hair, crowning her flawless face.  She must have thought she was funny, but ended up sounding like a bitch.  Girls like that were usually the reason I kept very few other girl friends.

I threw her a glance and got out.  After a few steps, I turned around to say something back.  But the doors had closed.  The doors to perception, they say – if left open to the right time and place – become infinite.  Unfortunately, mine had just shut with a squeaky uncertainty.  

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2 Responses

  1. loved it the 1st time I read it, loved it again, you are brilliant

  2. if you’re ever going to write a book: I’ll buy it!

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