Creative Exercise #11


Dialogue reveals character and the relationship between characters. No two people speak alike and you should try to give your characters a verbal as well as a physical distinctiveness. Do they use a certain turn of phrase? A slang word? A swear word? Do they stutter or um and ah? Are they pompous or verbose?

Dialogue is also a means of exposition (communicating essential information to the reader about the background of the story) and is one of the basic ways of activating your text by showing not telling. That may sound strange but allowing a character to tell the reader something rather than just narrating it in the text, is a legitimate means of ‘showing’.

One of the most difficult aspects, for me, in writing realistic dialog has been making the non-POV character's speak realistically.   The problem rises from all the little nuances in socializing.   It is difficult to portray the thoughts of a character who is not your POV, so during a general draft, I find I often end up with rather stale characters.   I have discovered a way to ease this process.

  1. Write the scene in its entirety from the point of view which you intend to use in the final draft (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc).
  2. For each character, rewrite the scene completely, using them as a replacement point of view.
  3. Now that you have an accurate picture of how every character is involved in the scene, rewrite the scene once more from the main POV character (this is what you'll post below).   Do not just copy from Step 1.   That was just warm up.   Writing the scene without referring back to the previous drafts will help produce a dialog that incorporates everything you've learned in this process.

Be sure to make a comment on a classmates post for full credit.


27 thoughts on “Creative Exercise #11

  1. Katherine Whelchel

    “Piece of junk,” I muttered under my breath as I stood peering under the hood of my car.

    “If you be kind to it, it be kind to you!”

    Gazing up, I locked eyes with an old man in overalls sitting on a rocking chair in front of the small gas station. He had a kind look about him, and his overalls were dusty.

    “Excuse me?” I said, squinting.

    “Cars are like horses, be kind to it, and it be kind to you,” he replied in a smooth tone, a smile tugging at his lips.

    “Yeah, maybe,” I said, nodding my head to be kind, then peering back down, “but this particular car has been treated like a king, compared to how it’s been treating me.”
    After one more look under the hood, I slammed the lid down and took advantage of the noise to utter a small scream of frustration.

    “I just needed you for ten more miles!”

    “Maybe you be where you need to be,”

    Looking up at the man again, I replied, “I need to be home, with my family.”

    “Or maybe, you need to be here,” he replied with the smile finally coming to completion on his worn face.

    “It rarely happens like that anymore,” he said, nodding his head behind me.

    Turning, my breath hitched as I gazed at the horizon.

    “The pink and orange be faded perfectly if you asking me,” the old man said with a bit of a laugh, “I’ve seen many a sunset in my day, none be quite like this. Must mean the good Lord wants you here.”

    His rocking faded in the background as I stared at the gorgeous colors in front of me, like a painting in the sky.

    “Must be,” I said, as a similar smile filled my own face

    1. Aundrea Pierce


      Another talented writing of yours, I adored this one! Did this actually happen to you? I like the dialogue and tone of the old man. He’s from the south right?! I’m starting to realize how much power words have during this course. For example when you wrote, “Or maybe, you need to be here,” he replied with the smile finally coming to completion on his worn face.” If you hadn’t of mentioned his “smile” I would have thought “girl run!” Great work, let me know when you publish something!

  2. Andrew Lange


    I literally laughed my way through your post, as I was relating to the struggle of the story’s protagonist (Presumably you, this being an actual experience, or at least based on an actual experience of yours), experiencing car trouble in (probably) an unfamiliar place, (probably) at an extremely inopportune time. The dialogue alone could tell the story, even if the portions about the car’s actual breakdown or the location of a small, rural gas station or the other scenery were omitted; the reader could still deduce the moment you share and what is occurring there quite easily.

  3. Andrew Lange

    “Oh! That wrecker, maybe it’s still there”, he says. “Let’s go look”, I say, in just enough time for him to not miss the exit. “See, this place here, that’s where I would have had that one I looked at hauled to for the duration”, I add, gesturing to the R/V storage lot bordering the off-ramp. “Man, I tell you, that would have been hard to get to, on the bus especially”, he says. “Yeah, I was glad I didn’t have to rescue it in the middle of a Fairbanks winter, on a student budget”, I reply, laughing. “I would have been trying to take batteries over there by now”.

    We merge into the secondary road at the bottom of the interchange that splits North Pole, Alaska from adjacent Fort Wainwright Army Post. As he slows the car to a stop, we peer over the snowbank and chain-link fence. “Nope, it’s gone” he says. “Yeah, I prefer to think someone rescued it”, I commiserate. “Yeah, not the wrecking yard”, he says, a touch of sadness and passion in his voice, abruptly stopping the car to turn around in a Tesoro parking lot.

  4. Sierra Russell-McCollum

    “I can’t thank you enough for helping us,” I offer a warm smile, “I didn’t think anyone would stop and help us.”

    “Oh, it’s nothing sweetheart. We knew something was wrong with the vehicle the moment we saw the lights flashing.” The guys hillbilly accent was thick. In a way it reminded me of home. “Plus its -15 degrees out there, no place for two kids, like yourselves, to be standing around.”

    “So, where were y’all heading to so late?” The women quickly changes the subject, taking interest in us, finally.

    “We just took a short trip to the Chena Hot Springs, my boyfriend and I wanted to watch the northern lights for the first time.” I squeeze his hand. The man and the women in the front lean into each other after I say this. Smiles on both of their faces.

    “The northern lights aren’t as pretty as this lady over here.” The man say’s, a sheepish grin spreads across his face. “You know, you ruined our make out time.” He chuckles at us, changing the subject again.

    “I’m sorry?” I say unsurely. I couldn’t tell if he was joking, or being serious.

    “It’s all right, I’ll have 30 minutes with her tomorrow after work.”

    “Are you guys married?” My boyfriend asks timidly after seeing the ring on his left hand.

    “Oh heavens no, she is just my boo,” He quickly glances at us in the back seat, “We’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks now.”

    “So the ring must be from family then.” I smile at him.

    “No the ring is actually for my wife back at home.” My eyebrows shoot up on my face and I quickly look my boyfriend in the eyes. Asking unsaid questions to him. But he is just as confused as I am.

    “Ya, I love my wife, but I also love my boo,” He kisses her on the cheek making the truck swerve, “They both fill my heart with happiness.”

    “Well… I’m happy for you guys.” I try to sound happy, but I am still utterly confused on what the heck is going on. Also who on earth am I riding in a car with?

    1. Andrew Lange


      First of all, I laughed reading your piece as literally EVERY SINGLE piece someone has done so far, myself and yourself included, has dealt with decrepit vehicles, presumably all around this same area to boot. (The backstory of mine is a quick turn off to look if a decepit Army wrecker was still rotting in a field in North Pole off Badger Rd, while relating the story of another former military vehicle I looked at “rescuing” from MSI Autoparts in Fairbanks.

      Secondly, I got a good chuckle out of THE moment- your car trouble “ruining” the make-out of another couple.

    2. Caitlyn Williams


      I liked your ending, it’s really mysterious! getting picked up by some odd couple sounds like an interesting experience. Your dialogue is really good, and I really appreciated you using words like “asked timidly” “..I say unsurely” . This gives emotion to the dialogue and makes it more appealing. Having the strange man explain the woman he was with wasn’t his wife was great, haha! How often do you run into such an honest guy? LOL great scene!

  5. Aundrea Pierce

    She stabbed the steamed carrot on her plate and turned it into sweet mush in her mouth. She looked across the table at Greg’s half-eaten carrots and barely touched veggie casserole.
    She swallowed the orange mush, “Is something wrong with dinner?”

    “Mmn no, its fine, why?” He replied.

    She cocked her head to the side, “we’ve been sitting here for the past ten minutes, and you took a whopping three bites of carrots, and you’re on your second beer.”

    He let his fork clatter flat on his plate, “why are you so in tune on my eatin? You want me to give vegan food a try, well this is me tryin….and dyin!”
    He took a sip of his beer and, chuckled, “I’m a meat and potatoes guy. I have the appetite of a mountain lion, n’ you want me to eat like a bunny for two weeks?”

    Her eyes raised as she stabbed another carrot. “Ya know, I was really hoping you could be a good sport and just try this out with me, without complaining, but my goodness Bryon,” she huffed sarcastically, “if it’s tOo tough for you, just stop suffering and go eat a greasy burger filled with shit. I’ll do this all on my own.”

    “Really..” He stared expressionless, giving his beer bottle a bear grip.

    “You think this is just a matter of me being tough?”

    Overdramatically she shot up in her seat with shoulders square and her eyebrows almost to the ceiling.

    “Oh no!” she gasped, “I wouldn’t dare offend your masculinity!” She pressed her hand to her heart to emphasize the cynicism.

    And just like that, she struck the first nerve that sent a vibration of heat through his body. His jaw clenched.

    He blurted out, “Are you PMS’n?” A part of him wished he could take it back, but he said it, and he’s not going to cower now.

    She dropped her fork on her plate, “you’re an asshole, Greg.”
    She stood up, and the wooden legs of her chair skidded loudly, filling the tense air. She tossed the rest of her food in the trash and slammed her plate in the kitchen sink.

    He sat in dumb silence.

    “It was stupid of me to think you could try something new.” She huffed as she stomped down the hall. Their bedroom door slammed.

    He was left there sitting with his hand still wrapped around his beer, staring at the meal for bunnies.
    He replayed the scene in his head as their pug Homer quietly whimpered up at his plate.

    1. Ben Knapp

      I really liked your story. I can tell that you put in a lot of effort to make the characters feel real, and , as a result, this argument feels believable. Neither character was completely blameless, and they both had there own reasons to continue the argument, as well as their regrets. I really like your style of writing.

    2. Naimy Schommer

      This is so well-characterized! I love how I learned so much about the characters just in this short clip of dialogue. Well done!

    3. Cassidy Kramer

      I really liked your story. As I was reading it, my heart started beating faster as the tension kept building up. Great job!

  6. Ben Knapp

    “Sir! Wait up sir!”

    Edward groaned inwardly as he heard steps thudding against the cobblestone road behind him.

    “Hello Reeves.”

    “Master Edward! Have you made up your mind yet?”

    Edward sighed. Truthfully, Edward had no intention of taking on this young and eager boy as his apprentice. Somehow, he just couldn’t bring himself to say no.

    “I haven’t quite made up my mind yet, maybe in a…”

    Edward stopped. He realized that Reeves had turned away, and was now walking away, his shoulders slumped.

    “Wait!” Edward called.

    Reeves turned, an expression of faint hope on his face.

    “I suppose I could take you, for a week or…”

    “Oh thank you sir! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! I can pump your forge, and clean your…”


    Reeves stopped, an expression of horror on his face.

    “One of the marks of a good apprentice is his ability to listen to his master.” Edward paused, then, seeing the downcast look on Reeves face, added, “You can start tomorrow at dawn. Don’t be late. Now run along, before I change my mind,”

    Edward sighed as he watched Reeves scamper away, already regretting his decision.

  7. Corbin Knapp

    “Get out of here!” The shout rang across the courtyard as the young man walked pass, thinking to himself about the cheesecake that was waiting for him when he got back to his house. Curious about what the ruckus might be, he turned around and walked towards where he had heard the angry shout. As he approached a big brick building, he saw a large white man in a tank top and cargo shorts yelling at a frail old man who was sitting on the sidewalk
    “You’ve been a stain on my doorstep for far too long!” snarled the big man, his face reddening as he shouted, “You keep scarin’ away my renters!” The old man just stared blankly at the sidewalk, his eyes dulled. “Whatsa’ matter? You deaf as well as dumb? “ the man bellowed as he seized the man by the front of his shirt and hauled up so they were face to face.

    “Hey!” the young man yelled as he ran up, “What did he do that was so wrong?”

    The man looked over and scowled, “Been ruinin’ my business! His filthy carcass is always stinkin’ up my property.”

    “I don’t think he’s the problem with your business.” the young man said as he looked at his angry face and throbbing veins. Helping the old man up, he walked away, supporting him with his arm as the man stood red faced and speechless in his doorway.

  8. Caitlyn Williams

    “Not again.” I muttered as Lydia came skipping behind me. Lydia was one of those girls that was too giddy to be around. We’d met after one of the high school basketball games my team won.

    I was never one of those people that could introduce himself to a group of people. I already had a group of friends, but Lydia was persistent. She was like a piece of gum that stuck on a shoe. Hard to get rid of.

    “Whatcha doin’ after school Dakota? Wanna go get some fries or something with John and I?” John is pretty cool I thought as I was contemplating going or not. John was on the basketball team, but we weren’t close friends.

    “No, I have to go to my sister’s choir performance at 4.” I lied, once again.

    Lydia probably knew that what I had said was another excuse not to hang out with her, but she shrugged her shoulders and said with a coy smile, “You’re missing out, Burger Queen has the best fries and shakes!”

    She skipped past me as I trudged to my next class. She was the polar opposite of me, and as much as I wanted to like her, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t stand the way she carried herself so confidently. I’ll admit, she was one of the cutest girls at school, but her energy was too high for me.

    As my last class came to an end, someone came up behind me and screeched, “Dakota!”

    “You scared the shit outta me you tard!” I blurted as my friend Jonas came into view.

    We laughed about it and paced to our lockers. “Another week through, only 24 more weeks of hell” I said relieved that it’d be the end of my high school career.

    “Hey let’s go for a ride after school, I wanna go check out the new shop that opened up on 23rd and Leighton Street.” Jonas said excitedly. “Yeah man, I’ll go with ya.” I replied. I couldn’t say no to my best friend even though I wanted to go home and relax. I didn’t ask which shop it was as I raced to his 2010 Ford Explorer.

    It was about half past 4 when I found myself in a shop that sold skateboards and alternative clothing. I wasn’t as interested in the merch as Jonas, but I’d rather be here with Jonas, than be stuck with Lydia.

    The alleviated feeling I had didn’t last long as Lydia and John came almost waltzing in.

    “Oh shit” I whispered to myself as I hid behind the nearest shelf. Jonas was too busy looking through some shirts to notice I was freaking out. As I was maneuvering around the store, avoiding Lydia and John with my life, Lydia spots me.

    “You rotten liar!” she spat at me as I scrambled through my brain for another excuse. I didn’t have any.

    I sat there speechless as Lydia stomped out of the shop. John said nothing, he just turned around and caught up with Lydia. I had never felt more guilty in my life.

    When the guilt subsided, relief washed over me. I explained my situation to Jonas, and he shrugged it off.

    “It was simply a beautiful accident, I doubt she’ll try to hit you up after this.”

    I shrugged in agreement, and the following Monday, Lydia skipped right past me.

    1. Monica Gallagher

      Good use of dialogue. It was a relatable story and situation. The only thing that caught me off guard was one of the last lines. “It was simply a beautiful accident”, that didn’t seem super realistic to me and it sort of stood out against the informality of the rest of the dialogue. Unless that’s a key point to something that occurs in the rest of the story, I would cut it.

  9. Aubri Stogsdill

    “Well damn Rose, whatchu waitin’ on him fur anyways? Here.. here you got some fine young men who’d never let you outta thur sight, but this joker, can’t seem’ keep you in his. Rose, you gonna die an old maid. Prolly still wearin’ that stupid ole necklace. And fur what? A fairy tale? You lil’ missy, are a foolish lady.”

    Rose glared across the bar, lips pursed and fists wrapped tightly around her pendant, “You’re one to speak Rich! You couldn’t keep a woman happy for five minutes let alone a life time. And I can’t remember askin’ your opinion anyways. You’ve had one too many beers to be any sort of life counselor.”

    Rich’s eyes shrank down to mere slits, he stood and shouted, “Woman, I coulda’ loved you!” his pointed finger sprung up towards Rose, “And you ain’t never appreciated that! Who is this bloody sailor anyway?! Why the hell you givin’ him the time uh day!”

    “Because,” whispered Rose, “Because… I love him. And there is nothing you could say that would change that, nothing that would make his kindness disgusting or his passion unappealing. Your busted blood vessels and drunken breath disgust me. Get out of here before I call the cops, you pig!”

    Rich stumbles out of the bar. Amelia, a woman who has just witnessed the event pulls up a stool and says, “Rose, you’ve got some real courage there. Holdin’ on… even though.. well.. you know. But don’t you think its time you move along? I mean.. you’re a pretty little girl. You’ve got options, unlike most of us here… You could go places.. Go to school.. Become a doctor. I mean somethin’ else.. Why wait around for this guy?”

    Rose looks Amelia straight in the eye and with a tenderness in her voice says, “Well dear, if you ever experienced love, you’d know why I gotta wait. He’s coming back for me. I just know it. I can feel it deep in my bones. He is comin’ back.”

    1. Monica Gallagher

      Great dialogue! It was very realistic and easy to read through. Sometimes when writers are trying to use dialect in writing, it’s distracting, but yours was not. It was gritty and true.

    2. Michelle Cordova


      I absolutely love this! Every week I find myself drawn to your work and this week is no different! You did a great job at giving your characters different dialects, which has always been a difficult thing for me to do. Great job!

  10. Monica Gallagher

    “This is way better than the other one”
    “It is?”
    “Ya, you don’t think so?”

    He wasn’t quite sure. I mean ya, it was a new home, but what was so wrong with the old one. Alright, he made the decision to go ahead and embrace the new spot. He allowed himself to start to notice the surroundings. It was at the base of a semi-steep hill and it opened up into a pretty large swatch of forested land. It was pretty beautiful. The house itself was a red brick color and there was a shed that had the actual barn arch. It was very country. There were all sorts of lawn ornaments in the yard, various wingdings and such.

    “Hey, he’s back!”

    D turned his head quickly to see the man that had just pulled up the driveway. They had seen him once before the other night. He pulled up the driveway like a madman and slammed the door as he got out. He reached into the back of the truck and yanked a cage out.

    Screeching sounds were squealing out of the cage and all you could see was fur darting back and forth within it. All the sudden the man whirled the cage towards us.

    “Watch out!

    D fluttered to the side just in time to miss the cage. It disappeared before he could see what was in it.

    “Oh my gosh, what is he doing?!”
    “I have no idea, but we better get out of here!”

    They made their way to the shoreline as they noticed the man heading towards the shed. He came back and fussed about with a tie of some sort. He started towards them.

    “Should we get out?”
    “No, just stay where you are.”

    The man came to the shore and started to pull a rope from the water. We sat, waiting, silent as night. He pulled and pulled. The cage started to surface. The animal that was in there was sopping wet, dead. We both looked at each other horrified. Our eyes told each other to not peep a sound.

    He pulled the cage out, grabbed the animal and started walking towards the shed. There was a steel block next to it and when he opened the door, orange flames poured out. He tossed the lifeless animal into the fire box and shut the door.

    “Why would he do that?”
    “I don’t know, D, just do not move. Maybe he won’t see us here.”
    “What do you mean, how could he not see us?”
    “Just stay quiet, he doesn’t know that we know”

    1. Corbin Knapp

      Hi Monica!
      Wow, this dialogue gave me chills! you did a great job creating realistic dialogue for you characters, and your story was very engaging. Nice Work!

  11. Mekayla



    We stared at each other for a few minutes, not really sure where to begin.

    “How’s your –”

    “How’ve you be-” We both started at the same time.

    “Sorry,” I said shyly, “you go first.” I felt myself smile a little at the situation.

    “How’ve you been?” He said.

    “Oh, you know. I don’t know. Okay, I guess. I’ve been, uh, working a lot, and trying to focus on school. It’s been really hard without you around.” I finished, feeling a little honest from the wine.

    He looked up, startled. “Oh. I didn’t think you missed me.”

    “What are you talking about? How could I not miss you? We’ve lived together for years. Not having you around is like… I don’t know. I’m sorry. This was a really dumb idea.” I said.

    I don’t think either of us knew what to say to that.

    I watched Trevor as he kept himself busy with his pasta, unwilling to look up and meet my eyes. How could I have done this to him? It was hard not to notice the newly formed dark circles under his eyes, and he somehow looked older, even though it had only been a few months since the last time I had seen him. Was he dating again? Did I want to know? Seeing him again was so sad and strange. There had to be about a million things I wanted to say to him, but I didn’t know how to talk to him anymore. Dean didn’t belong to me now.

    “Dean? How are you? What have you been up to?”

    There was a long pause as he put down his fork, looked up at me with his new set of tired eyes that I hadn’t seen before. “Kira, why did you ask me here? Is this fun for you? Did you just want to see how shitty I’ve been since we broke up? This isn’t…”

    “No, Dean, I swear that’s not it at all” I interrupted.

    “Kira, I don’t want to hear it. Look, I thought that I could do this, but I really, really can’t.” He went into his pocket, and pulled out a few bills from his wallet. Putting them on the table, he started to get up, refusing to even look at me.

    “Dean, will you stop and listen to me?” He was walking away now, and before I could stop myself, I was following him. “I love you!” I nearly shouted. I almost walked right into him when he abruptly stopped and spun to look at me.

    “What?” Dean said, his eyes so wide and hopeful that my heart wrenched.

    “Will you take me ba-” and before I could finish, his lips were on mine, and tears of relief were running down our faces.

    1. Jessica Honebein

      Mekayla! I really enjoyed reading your dialogue, I felt as if I was in the story myself viewing everything. I like the dynamic between the characters that you chose to go with as well. Overall I really like the characters and storyline.

  12. Michelle Cordova

    “I need you!” I screamed through phone, piercing my brother David’s ear on the other end. “I don’t want to live like this anymore, and I need to know if it’s too late to change.”

    “J-J-Jon,” he stammered, “it’s never too late to become the person you were meant to be, dammit!” “St-st-stop making excuses and climb out of the hole you dug yourself into 10 years ago! I l-l-love you, but I cannot fight this fight for you any longer. I know what you’ve done…”

    But that was the thing, I had been locked up in my own mind for so long, fearing what the monster inside me might do next, all while simultaneously planning out each and every move I would make. There is no room for error when people are attempting to track you down, to catch you unsuspecting. The better part of my life was spent trying to fix the world, rid its people of evil and those that spread it, but now, the walls were caving in. I had hurt people who had families- sons and daughters, wives and mothers, and I didn’t care. I wanted them to ache the way I did. To yearn for a love that was never obtainable. If there was ever anything my parents taught me, it was that love was a sham and people are selfish.

    Now, though. Now, I stare out of the single window of my 12X16 handmade cabin as raindrops slowly fall to the earth, momentarily tranquilizing my mind and body until I get a glimpse of her long brown hair being slung over her right shoulder. There was a peacefulness about this woman, one that made me feel as if there was a whole new dimension to this life, giving me a reason to free myself of the shackles of my previous self.

    She was tall, slender, and intelligent. Perfectly placed freckles spread across her cheeks as she flashed a smile into my direction.

    “Hey Jon!” she called out. Reaching into her bag, she said “I brought back the book you let me borrow.”

    There was a softness in her voice. One that told me she was a safe place. I wouldn’t dare tell her my secrets though, even if every inch of my being wanted her to know the real me. The thought of her hating me, though, of her knowing who and what I really was, was enough to send a painful shock throughout my body, leaving a numbness that stretched from my feet, through my gut, and into my fingertips. So, I pretended. I pretended to be a good guy. Someone who sincerely loved nature and the simple things in life.

    “I need you!” These same words spilled out of my mouth before David could even say hello on the other end of the telephone line.

    “It’s t-t-too late Jon,” my brother’s voice said with a crack. “Time is up and now you have to p-p-pay for what you’ve done.”

  13. Naimy Schommer

    “You have GOT to learn, Matilda, that the fork is for FOOD.” My mom whispered in that embarrassingly pointed public-mom voice. I petted the wrapping of my hamburger but was suddenly not hungry. We were attracting attention in our usual Sunday afternoon spot: the sunny window’d corner of the Dairy Queen two blocks from our apartment. Matilda gurgled and twisted the plastic fork further into her braid as Mom tried to wrench it from her hand.

    “We watched ‘The Little Mermaid’ last week… it’s probably my fault.” I tried to help by catching Matilda’s eye as she caught a brightly colored car out the window and turned her head to watch it pass.

    “I’ve told you a mILLION and one times, Jeremy: Your sister can’t watch those fiction movies!”

    “But she loves them, Mom! You won’t let her read that stuff, you won’t let her watch anything…” I was growing more and more heated–could feel the steam rising from my palms and the vinyl booth seat. I took a breath and stared at the obtusely wrapped sandwich, “I’m the only one who seems to care about what she wants” I whispered to Matilda and myself–she heard and in her outstretched hand offered a mutilated chicken nugget: a thanks.

    “She’s flipping twenty-two years old. You’d think this would be something that, after TWELVE YEARS, WE COULD FINALLY GET A HOLD OF” Mom was standing now, starting to pace.

    “But mom… she-“

    “I KNOW SHE’S–“ She caught her anger in the front of her mouth and reverted back to that pointed whisper as she brushed her khaki pant legs and sat back down. “I KNOW she’s…” Her bony fingers brushed her graying hair behind her ear to reveal the staple milky pearl earrings she always wore. “You know. I know it’s been ten years since the accident but for cripe’s sake she took the ACT on Friday and I’m so done with this FORK business.”

    Matilda’s accident had happened 12 years ago that past Saturday, actually. It came and went without a word from either of my parents, but I remembered. Those anniversaries were hard for her, and I tried to make myself as available as possible. I wouldn’t be here for it next year, as I’d be in college when December 4th came, but I’d already made up my mind that I’d FaceTime her if nothing else.

    She had recovered well, initially. Most ten-year-olds who get hit square-on by minivans don’t live to see their next birthday, or at least that’s what the nurses had whispered to each other when they thought my eight-year-old self wasn’t listening had said. She would have been fine after her ribs and hips had healed if not for the stroke that came months later in the night, as silent as a sunset. THAT had left an odd pattern of brain issues that were hard to pinpoint and easy to misjudge. For example, she was smart: it’d taken her a few extra years, but she was getting her GED in the spring and had just completed the ACT test, but she still couldn’t remember why forks were used, and often forgot basic motor and speech skills.

    “It’s not her fault.” Blunt was best with my mother. She’d spin your words if she could, so you couldn’t let her. She hesitated with a fry pressed frozen against her lips before she sighed and set it back in the paper sleeve.

    “I know.” She rubbed her temples. “I just…”

    “I know.”


  14. Cassidy Kramer

    “How many of those cookies are you going to eat Sandra?”

    “As many as I want dad.” Sandra said stuffing the cookie into her mouth while rolling her eyes.

    “Okay, but don’t come crying to me when you are on the TV show ‘600-pound life’.”, Her dad said in a joking matter.

    “You know dad, the freshman 15 are a real thing. And I figured if I gained it now, still in high school, I won’t have to worry about it later.” Sandra said with a wink.

    “Whoever told you that probably didn’t reach their freshman year of high school, let alone college.”, her dad said returning her wink.

    “Dad, I made that up myself.” Sandra said while taking an obvious huge bite of her cookie.

    “Well why don’t you just stay here, and not gain any weight. Fish in the summer time, your tech job in the winter. You’d make more money than any of us.”

    Sandra got up and sat down on the couch next to her dad. “As much as I want to stay with you and mom and the two boys, I need to get out and experience things. Besides, you’ll have me this whole next summer. And Christmas, and maybe spring break, and then summer again, and–“

    “Okay, okay I get it. I’ll just miss my baby girl.”, her dad said with a crack in his voice.

    “I know dad, I’ll miss you too.” Sandra replied while shoving the cookie into his mouth.

  15. Jessica Honebein

    I was in no mood for small talk this morning. “Let’s try and make this a good one” I murmured, but as I came out into the kitchen my roommate Bella was brushing her teeth in the sink.

    “Well good morning!” she said as she spit out a mouthful of toothpaste. She was wearing a spandex tight dress with cute pink pumps and a cardigan.

    “Ugh you know I’m not a morning person Bella, why are you so cheery?” I replied in a sassy manner.

    “Oh Jordan cheer up a little it’s friday” Bella shrills.

    “I suppose you’re right, do I dare even ask why your brushing your teeth in the kitchen sink?” I replied as I grabbed a coffee mug.

    “Well uhhh, you see the bathroom sink is kinda out of order right now” Bella said sheepishly.

    “What do you mean out of order, I used it last night?” curiosity and anger filled my voice.

    “So you know that really pretty sapphire ring that my boyfriend got for me? Well I may have dropped it, down the-”

    “Bella! You’ve got-” I interrupted.

    “But don’t worry! I already called a plumber and they said they will be out for mission rescue the ring in a few hours” she replied in a calm manner.

    “Ughhh Bella, you’re such a klutz. Call me when you get the ring back and the bathroom sink is fixed. Did you make any coffee?”

    “I got you” she said as she poured me a cup.

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