Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Short Story for a change

I wrote this short story for a fiction contest and obviously lost - since I've not heard a word... But anyways, I thought I'd share it today for a few reasons:

  1. Ever since I got my new computer, I can't figure out how to upload my photos on to it.  So I can't post our spring flower photos...
  2. I have nothing of substance to write while I sit here and just wait and pray for my kid to leave my womb.  Honestly it's consuming me at this point.  Every little pain or ache I wonder, is this it?  Me and Jared are both on edge non stop and I just threatened his life this morning if he doesn't answer his cell phone at all times.
  3. And I did think this story was good when I wrote it a while ago but I'm having second thoughts.  Maybe I'm not meant to be a fiction writer and that's why all my books/stories never become what I expect them to.  Well without further ado, to get my mind off labor and give you all something fresh...
Boxes of the Past

“Wow, was I a packrat!” Morgan exclaimed as she carefully walked over to the boxes littered around the floor.

“That is putting it lightly,” grinned her mother as she brought a mound of trash bags to Morgan.  “Whatever you’re throwing away put in these and whatever you’re going to take to your new house, put in one of the boxes.”

Looking thoughtfully at her old room, a wave of nostalgia rushed over Morgan.  It seemed like just yesterday she was in this room as a ten year old having slumber parties with her friends.  Now she was all grown up, married to a wonderful man, and moving into her very own, first house.

“Morgs, I have to run to the hardware store but I’ll be back later to help,” said her dad. 

“Thanks,” said Morgan.  She knew he didn’t want to be here for this.  He had already given her away on her wedding day but packing up her childhood memories was too much for him.  Always the sentimental one of the family, her dad had encouraged her to keep most everything that was in this room she would be sorting through and probably tossing out.  It would be too hard for him to endure.  This was something she needed to do on her own.  It was a sad, reflective trip through her past, one last time before she moved on to her new, exciting future as Mrs. Spencer.

After her mom helped her organize the boxes, Morgan was left on her own in her mulberry pink room.  Not having slept in this room since before college, the walls bore collage upon collage of photographs of fun times and her friends.  On one wall was an enormous poster of famous quotations with all of Morgan’s favorites underlined or circled.  On another wall were a half a dozen shelves holding more pictures and academic awards as well as her collection of sand art that she just had to have. She grinned remembering all the festivals and fairs she attended only to make a sand art masterpiece. She had over thirty of them and had no idea what she was going to do with them in her new house.  She secretly decided she was taking them all home and would figure that out later.

Morgan sat down on her white canopy bed and dragged up the first box and a big garbage bag.  Upon closer inspection, Morgan had to giggle.  This large box was full of school work.  All her note pads from middle school, her folders, and even notes she passed in the hall.  Why on earth did she hang on to all of these, she had no idea.  She started throwing the papers into a bag for recycling. Before tossing it all, she opened up one of the notes that read:

To: Morgan

I think you are pretty.  Will you be my girlfriend? 

Yes or No

(circle one)

Love, Jimmy

Morgan smiled at the memory of Jimmy Ledo. He was a cutie back then when he was twelve.  Nowadays Morgan heard he was working alongside his father at his plumbing company, married with three kids, and was happy as a clam.  Morgan had this intense desire to keep the note forever; just because.  But succumbed to the idea that she needs to clean out things and can’t keep everything.  As the note fell into the trash pile, a small tear fell from Morgan’s eye.  It felt as if her childhood was officially disappearing right in front of her.

One box down, she thought triumphantly, only tons more to go, she paused as she glanced around at the stacks of boxes.  The next four boxes were more school work.  She smiled at her notes and her quizzes, but kept her report cards.  Those would be fun to show her kids some day, she reasoned. 

The next box she found was full of old photos.  This was pure pleasure for her.  She glanced at each one enjoying the memories that flowed up with it.  On the monkey bars at the park, Morgan and her big brother dressed up like Peter Pan and Wendy for Halloween which they did two years in a row to Michael’s insistence, and of course Morgan and her best friends at every stage in their life.  The best thing about her parent’s neighborhood had been Beth, Sam, and Jen.  The four of them had been inseparable since they were ten.  The photos showed their childhood from playing on each other’s swing sets to their first dates to their proms and everything in between.  Morgan couldn’t wait to show the girls all the photos and was already planning a big scrapbooking party to put all the photos in a book together. 

The last photo Morgan came across took her breath away.  It was a shot of Morgan and Michael as teens both giving their grandmother a hug.  Their Grandma Sophie had passed away a year ago and it was still a hard thing for Morgan who had been so close to her.  She took the photo and held it to her heart for a few minutes while she let the tears flow.  Her mother walked by the door, saw Morgan crying, and came over to comfort her.  She saw the loss of Morgan’s grandmother in her eyes. As they smiled at the photo together and wept tears of sadness, another memory passed and another photo was filed away with the others.

Once the dust settled and Morgan packed up all the photos she had saved to bring home, she started on another box.  She was excited to find her school yearbooks.  Looking at these was always entertaining for her.  She picked up her freshman yearbook from high school and flipped through it.  Her photo was so unrecognizable. She was a tiny thing with long brown hair and big, shaggy bangs.  All her friends looked just like her too.  Then she flipped to the inside back cover to read her messages:

Hey Morgy,
Have a great summer!  Keep in touch!  LYLAS!!

You are the best friend in the entire world.  LYLAS!!  Keep in touch!

Jen T.

Have a nice summer.  I hope to see you in class next year. 
Henry Riggs

Morgan smiled at how many people “loved ya like a sis” or LYLAS.  That was definitely the “in” thing back then.  Her three best friends had written letters to each other after each year and taped them into the yearbooks.  She would read those later, she decided.  All the yearbooks she definitely would keep and moved the box over to her keep pile.

The next box she stumbled upon was stuffed full of knickknacks.  Concert ticket stubs, movie ticket stubs, business cards at restaurants she had gone to, napkins with funny doodles on them, and a whole plethora of things fell out of it.  She took one glance at the box and got disheartened.  Who had she seen this Dave Matthews Band concert with?  Which boy had kissed her at this movie?  She couldn’t remember the details, all she had was a piece of her past but nothing that linked to it. 

Digging into the box, she pulled out a white tank top with blue stars and started laughing hysterically.  This one she remembered.  This shirt she had worn to a Counting Crows concert and the lead singer, Adam Duritz had reached out into the crowd and grazed her shoulder much to Morgan’s delight.  After that night she had vowed to never wash or wear the shirt again and committed it to this box of treasures with all the other items. 

Morgan scanned the box again seeing her dried up prom corsage, a coloring book page from a little girl she used to babysit, and a stack of Tootsie pop wrappers with the Indian shooting the arrow on it; which was always meant to bring you good luck.  She closed up the box, taped it, and labeled it, “keep forever”.  Content with herself, she moved on.

Morgan found five boxes of clothing that definitely were out of style and did not fit anymore.  Loads of home made tie dye t-shirts she and the girls had experimented with, a number of pairs of jeans that had been Bedazzled to death, and of course so many pairs of soccer socks and shorts, she could clothe an entire team for a month.  She kept a few of the special t-shirts but the rest were going to be donated, she decided.

Good progress was being made on the boxes and Morgan was very pleased with herself.  Her mom came back in the room and started to take the photos and posters off the wall.  They chatted together about their old memories in this room and about the new memories to come when Morgan’s mom finally got the arts and crafts room she always wanted.

“Remember that time you locked yourself in your room and stayed in here until high school?” her mom laughed.  Morgan couldn’t help but smile.  There was a time when she was in her room constantly.  Away from her nagging parents, away from her annoying brother, and glued to her phone, her radio, and practicing dance moves to set her apart from the other girls.

“Those were the good old days!” Morgan exclaimed.

“What did you do all that time in your room, anyways?  I always wanted to bother you but your dad insisted I give you your privacy.”

“Talked to the girls, danced and sang the latest hits, and of course doodle love notes to the boys I liked,” she reminisced.  “I actually got all the Paula Abdul dance moves down from her song Cold Hearted Snake and made up a few of my own dances to my favorite songs.  Then the girls and I would do them in the backyard.  Remember that?”

“You girls were always good dancers,” her mom grinned.  Just then Morgan opened up the next box and started laughing again. 

“Speak of the devil!”  In the box were bunch of home videos from Morgan’s childhood.  “Mom, we have to watch this!” she laughed as she grabbed the one labeled Material Girls. 

“I can’t believe we still have this,” her mother smiled as she took the video from Morgan and they both walked into the living room to put it on.  The screen lit up with Morgan, Beth, Sam, and Jen all dressed up in hot pink leggings, black skirts, and they each had a different color tank top on.  Their hair was sprayed in a wild design and they all had crazy blue eye shadow on.  Morgan had made them each fake microphones out of newspaper and they swayed and sang to Madonna’s Material Girl.  Beth was the tallest and was completely uncoordinated.  Morgan knew all the words and sang them like Madonna herself.  Jen and Sam swayed back and forth in rhythm trying to sing as well.  Morgan sat there watching unable to stop laughing.

“I’m looking forward to having a ladies’ night in, making some margaritas, and watching all these home movies with the girls.  That is going to be so much fun!” said Morgan as the music video came to an end.  “I’m keeping all of these forever.  The best times of my childhood,” she said with tears in her eyes.

When they got back to her room, Morgan said, “I don’t think kids do this anymore.  They have computers, cell phones, and video games.  When I was a kid we didn’t have any of these things.  Nowadays kids can go on the Internet and watch music videos rather than make them.  I feel bad for this new generation.  It is like they are missing out on their youth due to the advances in technology.”

Morgan’s mom sighed, “I know, you’re right.  But that happens with all generations, honey.  My generation didn’t have MTV or video cameras like you did.  We didn’t even have a color television until I was in high school.  That is why every generation is different and holds different values.”

Just then Morgan’s dad walked in.  “Looks like you’re making good progress,” he said as he surveyed the room.  There were only a few boxes remaining to go through, a slew of trash bags headed to the dump, and a few boxes that Morgan was bringing to her new home. 

“Almost done,” Morgan said excitedly.  “Just a few more boxes left and that should do it.”

Her dad sat down on the bed and opened one of the boxes left.  It was filled with trophies, plaques and certificates.  “Why are these all boxed up?  We should be displaying them all over the house,” he said as he took them out one by one.

“Dad, don’t be silly!  These are from almost ten years ago.  I’m not sure what to do with them.”

“You keep them, Morgs,” said her father, “You keep them forever, show your children them, and that’s that.  Don’t you dare throw them out! You should be proud of your accomplishments no matter how small they may seem now.”  As he spoke, he picked up one big trophy Morgan had received at a soccer camp.  She had won MVP of the camp that year and it was a huge award for her.  “But I want to keep this one,” her dad smiled.  “This one is the best one.”

Morgan laughed, “Okay, you can keep that one.  But don’t start a “Wall of Morgan” with my first sports bra framed like in that Ben Stiller movie.  That would be embarrassing!”  Her mom and dad both started cracking up with laughter at that one.

“What’s so funny in here?” asked Todd, Morgan’s husband.  He walked into the room and gave Morgan a hug knowing she had been through a lot that day.  “Can I start taking some things down to the truck?”

Morgan pointed to the keep pile and Todd and her father started to load things out.  A few minutes later the room was clear of boxes and bags and Morgan sat alone on her bed. 

“Sad?”  Morgan looked up and saw Todd standing in the door way. 

“A little, yeah.  But I’m more excited for what the future holds.”

“Good because this is all just stuff.  All your memories are in your head and your heart and will always be there.  Come on,” he said grabbing her hand, “let’s go start our own memories.”  Morgan got up from her bed, took one last look around her old room, shut off the light and said goodnight.

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