Lazy Susan [1]

Fiction By Madeline // 3/6/2017

She swims laps around the perimeter of the bowl, face beaming a magnified grin—bulbous eyes, wide mouth—upon every turn into a curve.

“Her name?”

“Lazy Susan.” The cashier leans on his forearms. His own mouth twists up at me, a washrag, wrenching out everything aloof about him. The second thing to smile at me today.

“Poor thing.” I turn away with a hitch of breath, reach out to trail my finger across the lip of her bowl. She follows the track of my pointer, but I quickly flick it up and away. It’s teasing, to tempt her like that. She stalls, uncertain where her guide has gone, with a royal blue flap of fins.

“How?”

I don’t turn back around. I know his head will be tilted. I know the light will catch the blonde hairs on his arm, almost invisible. I glance down at my freckled wrists and frown. My hair darker than his. We’ve had this conversation before. I know what I’ll say next.

It’ll be,“Well, how’s she ever supposed to live up to anything but, with a name like that?”

—and he’ll laugh, a quick ha, more musing than amused—

And then I’ll continue with, “If I had her—”

Him, “And what if you did?”—

“Well, I’d name her—”

—but: “Let me guess”

and then, “Three,” and I’ll mean Guesses, three guesses, but I won’t specify, but he’ll get it.

Rapid fire: “Sapphire, Onyx, Rebecca.”

“Oh, no, but I like that last one”—with a turn to face him, our eyes lively as well as lips, quick, stuttering hearts in chests—

“What, then?”

So I’d say, “Queen,” and—

“What, just Queen?”

“Of course”

“Because?”

“She’s regal.”

“Ah.”

And five days from now we’d be kissing.

And five months from now we'd be everywhere.

And five years from now we’d be married.

But I do not. I do not turn around, and I do not question the name she’s been given from the standard-issue catalogue, computer-generated and printed on a placard. This is not a small-town, mom-and-pop shop called Fur n’ Feathers or something equally adorable, this is a chain, and he is merely a worker with the name Tom affixed to his vest.

I don’t care about the beginnings, or the middles, or the ends. I do not want the children we will have some day. I do not want the fire when I look at him, the forgetting of the everything wrong, all inhibitions gone up in smoke, reduced to ash. I do not.

I know, and he does not. He never does.

I give the bowl one last tap, and pivot on my heel. I walk out, knowing he’s watching, inexplicably drawn to me, needing me to turn around. He doesn’t realize why I can’t give us back these moments, why I have to change them again and again and again. It all starts with him, and it always ends. Out of love, is how we end. Falling out.

It hurts most when it doesn’t.

Comments

This is so interesting, and I

This is so interesting, and I want to know more. This part made me smile:

"And five days from now we’d be kissing.

And five months from now we'd be everywhere.

And five years from now we’d be married.

But I do not..."

That is such a relatable feeling, especially from my high school days. I thought you put it into words very well.

Also:

"This is not a small-town, mom-and-pop shop called Fur n’ Feathers or something equally adorable, this is a chain, and he is merely a worker with the name Tom affixed to his vest.

I don’t care about the beginnings, or the middles, or the ends. I do not want the children we will have some day. I do not want the fire when I look at him, the forgetting of the everything wrong, all inhibitions gone up in smoke, reduced to ash. I do not."

Such a good passage!
This really leaves me wanting more. I hope that you spin it into something. :) you have a way of writing very effective YA fiction. I never have time to read YA novels anymore, so I always look forward to your stories on here.
I haven't gotten a chance to comment again on the last story you posted, but I did read the whole thing! It was excellent.

Erin | Tue, 03/07/2017

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

This is so interesting, and I

what the hck didn't mean to leave 2 comments my b lol

Erin | Tue, 03/07/2017

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

YOU TOOK MY BREATH

YOU TOOK MY BREATH AWAY!!!

This inspires me to write... I want to write something like this. You wrote it like poetry. WELL DONE, WELL DONE. I loved the ambiguity in places. The dialogue made me want to go, "HURRAH!" -- I actually got excited, as my eyes trailed down the lines -- trailed them sooo easily. That's when it's magical: when it's completely easy to read like that. I just lapped up this piece. Luscious and original and experimental and successful and AWESOME.

I would quote the entire conversation here, but that would just clutter this up. Only, it made me jubilant. You did it SO well. I found myself reading it again, just to study how you did it. And yet it felt off-hand, too, like you probably just sat down and flicked it off, like an artist doodling and somehow capturing in a few strokes something very vivid and real.

I want to print this out and sit down with you and read it aloud. Your droppings of commas in a couple places were right to do (and I'm never brave enough to do it). And capitalization of Guess, and how clear everything was even though it was a carnival of uniqueness. Your words were so rhythmic on my tongue and I want to read it back to you because it's fun to have another voice read your own work. Sounds like: catalogue -- placard; chain -- name; lips, quick, stuttering hearts in chests. Moments like that. Such a good ear.

The beginning felt vague but maybe it was supposed to be that way: splashing us in and disorienting us until we got our bearings and realized the "she" was a fish. I actually like that.

If you felt like trimming it a bit, several words/phrases could be taken out if you wanted to in the first few paragraphs (I didn't get that feeling in the rest of it, though) -- only because you're about to dunk the reader into very unique verbal exchange and even more obscure language soon. ......At the same time, I hesitate even saying this because I personally hate writing plain descriptions. And maybe if you did, it would take away some of the richness. So now I'm re-thinking my suggestion. :P

In this line, I was wondering -- " He doesn’t realize why I can’t give us back these moments, why I have to change them again and again and again." -- what moments? What are you changing?

And: "It hurts me most when it doesn't." Do you mean it hurts you most when it ends happily?

And oh, no, I can't help it. This is my favorite:

And then I’ll continue with, “If I had her—”

Him, “And what if you did?”—

“Well, I’d name her—”

—but: “Let me guess”

and then, “Three,” and I’ll mean Guesses, three guesses, but I won’t specify, but he’ll get it.

Rapid fire: “Sapphire, Onyx, Rebecca.”

Sarah Bethany | Tue, 03/07/2017

Erin and I posted at the same

Erin and I posted at the same time, haha. I agree with her -- I relished the "five" part, and the part where the narrator decides she *doesn't* want this.

I also meant to add that this is totally a publishable candidate for a literary journal. One would gobble this up.

EDIT: Also (and then I'll stop editing because you'll get so many email notifications) -- if I could write a whole book like this, I'd be happy. I could see this being a string of essays. Maybe not even entirely about this boy, but following this girl in her life. Seeing these snippets, and tying them together somehow into a whole. I like how this girl looks at life, so I'd like to follow her home, see her at dinner with family, see her maybe meeting another boy. Etc!

Sarah Bethany | Tue, 03/07/2017

Erin!! Thank you so much! I'm

Erin!! Thank you so much! I'm thinking I do want to spin this into something, but it's going to be fairly nonsensical if I do and the pieces will slowly come together...so I won't say much about what I mean by all of this, because I think I have an idea, but I need to figure out how to make it effective! It was so good to get a comment from you, and THANK YOU for reading that dinosaur of a short story!!!

Madeline | Thu, 03/09/2017

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

.....I went to read this

.....I went to read this again and thought, "Who wrote the ridiculously long comment?" and then realized, oh, it was me. :P Sorry for the inundation. I was in the middle of a frenzied workshop and receiving lots of critiques, so commenting enormously seemed to take the day. Don't worry about replying to all that. O.o
But, to break the camel's back, here's an extra thought-straw. I really think you can write this way because of your strength in poetry. :)

Sarah Bethany | Mon, 03/13/2017

Sarah!!! Oh my goodness, I am

Sarah!!! Oh my goodness, I am SO SORRY. I had intended to write separate comments (hence why I did one just for Erin) so I could respond to yours in full, because i was so overjoyed and thankful and floored by it, and it absolutely made my DAY when I read it. And so I started to type a reply, and I think I accidentally closed the tab, and then lost it, and THEN promptly forgot although I came back to read it and thought, "agh I need to respond." But the comment was basically me gushing about how wonderful you are, and about how even your COMMENTS are musical, and written so distinctly, and so productive and encouraging. Seriously, they always make my spirit soar. There's not any other way to describe it!!! I still need to respond in full because seriously, that was lovely, and I LOOOOOVE comments of that size, I kid you not, they're like food or something...just thank you so much! And I am so sorry for not responding--I feel awful about that, but it slipped my mind. Thank you for taking the time to encourage us writers--it absolutely means everything coming from you! And I have been reading I Shall Wear White Flannel Trousers, but just not commenting yet. Expect a barrage from me soon!!! I'm actually going on vacation this week (thanks GOODNESSi need the break) and I think then may be the perfect time to get caught up...

Madeline | Mon, 03/13/2017

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

No, no! I just looked back

No, no! I just looked back over my comment and thought, "Oh, shoot, I am overwhelming," haha... but I'm glad to hear that I'm not and it's more like tasty food :P I honestly wish we were in a critique group together and we could workshop this piece in person. I feel like I'd learn a lot from the process, myself. I've been feeling like such a baby with writing these days. I have so far to go. I have no idea how to write a story arch, and my instinct in what's boring and what's an emotional "hot spot" is under-developed (but I'm trying).
No need to respond to the above woolly mammoth... and no need to respond to Trousers, either! It's just a comfort knowing you're reading it :) I feel like it's sooo boring right now. And like I'm doing a disservice to you all posting a first draft, but I guess that's what this place is for. Flinging out our sketches :D
Enjoy your vacation!!! <3 Where are you going?

Sarah Bethany | Tue, 03/14/2017

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