Closer: Canto IV Playing House

A Poem By Julie // 9/24/2010

 

Canto IV: Playing House
When are you
an adult?
12 for medicine
16 to drive
18 in general
21 for alcohol
23 to rent a car
Adulthood is a
                moving target
 
I close my cell phone
and look down the road
for the shuttle van
A gust of wind
spreads my ponytail
into a sunburst
I shiver
Milk, ramen noodles…
a crow struts past
bobbing in pride
as if
he owns the place
 
A College of Ravens,
would be a good title
but what story
would it mark?
 
The van pulls up
“Someone wanted
a ride to WalMart?”
I nodded and ran up
clamber in and buckle
The driver is
mid-fifties, perhaps
clean-shaven
closely-cropped silver hair
“My name’s
Arnold Knutson.”
 
“Laura Spring,
nice to meet you.”
 
“Where do you work?
(Everyone here works)
 
“The bakery,”
 
“I thought
you looked familiar
Those oatmeal-raison
cookies
are delicious.
Any particular reason
you’re shopping today?”
 
“Milk, ramen noodles…
basically just the need
to get off campus,”
I shrug
“No offense meant,
but I’m still not used
to so many people”
 
“There’s people
at WalMart”
he says
 
“Yeah, but
I don’t have
to talk to them
On campus
people strike up
conversations
Not at WalMart.”
 
Arnold smiles
“Well, just call
when you’re done
You have the number
in your cell, right?”
 
We pull to a stop
“Thanks for the ride,”
I hop out
and stare down
the road
Lots of stores
in walking distance
including
a Books-a-Million
 
snap decision
Books first
then necessities
after all,
didn’t someone say
“If I get money
I buy books
and if there’s any
left
I buy food and clothes?”
 
Well,
I had to spend wisely
which probably meant
“spend nothing”
but window-shopping
is still fun
 
I spend hours
roaming from
fantasy to
Christian fiction to
sales items
In the writing section
I see
No Plot, No Problem?
The NaNoWriMo handbook
I’ve won before
without it
but if I start a club
it might be handy
the price:
“$14?
Yikes!”
I regretfully
set it back
look at my watch
“If I want supper,
I should get back
soon.”
 
So I run
back to WalMart
buy the milk and ramen
call the shuttle
 
Arnold pulls up
five minutes later
“Had a good time?”
 
“Yeah.
Hung out at
the bookstore”
 
“Buy anything?”
 
“No.
I saw
No Plot, No Problem
but I don’t have $14”
 
“The NaNo handbook?”
 
“You’ve heard of NaNoWriMo?”
 
“A friend of mine
told me
Haven’t found the time
yet”
 
“You really should
I’m trying to find
some people on campus
to join me
I did it with my sister
last year
We both won
and she wrote it
all
by hand.”
 
“My fingers would
fall off then,”
he laughed
“But I’ll see
If you
and Bailey
keep working on me
I might just cave in.”
 
Bailey?
A common enough name
probably an upperclassman
or someone else he knew
but I thought of
Vilinye ,
my e-friend
first
 
Back at the dorms
after all’s put away
I pull out a pen
and my notebook
titling a page
College Rules for Fictional Characters
 
#1. Classes, work, and music come first
‘We’re not even in the top three?’
Ander complains
Your story’s done anyway,
I snapped at him
 
#2 Discussing who will kill whom
is no longer a suitable dinner topic
‘Surely you are joking,’
Henrique licks his lips
‘Nothing adds flavor
to a meal
liking plotting revenge’
 
#3 No comparing real-life acquaintances
to fictional beings
‘What!’ Daniel exclaims
 
Daniel, ‘There is no connection
between you and
Dan Smith
He’s perfectly normal
 not a half-elf
riding with an assassin!”
 
The last words
slip out
just as Dan Smith
walks by outside
I blush
slam the notebook
shut
 
As I lay
in bed that night
I wonder
Am I truly
grown up now?
Meals are offered
thrice daily
I don’t have to make
them myself
even though I work
Chapel is required
some teachers
assign study groups
Am I really
independent
or just
                playing house?

Comments

Oh, lovely.

O so lovely.

Anna | Mon, 10/04/2010

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I just re-read this...I'm

I just re-read this...I'm beyond intrigued by this story. Next installment? Please?

Annabel | Thu, 12/02/2010

This. Was.

SO. GREAT.

Completely captivating all the way through - with the ending lines of the first and last verse my favorites, and a lot of delight sandwiched in between them.

Sarah Bethany | Mon, 01/03/2011

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