Worry is my middle name

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Delia was the first one to arrive, anxious to be on time. She picked the chair at the top of the table, directly across from where the prof always sat. She had to get a chance to ask her question. Lucy and Mark and the others came in. One after the other. Rushed. 

My dog threw up this morning. Oh, I love dogs. My boyfriend wants to get one from the Humane Society. Yeah, I am taking my boyfriend to a wedding; I am the bridesmaid again, spending too much on the third new dress this spring. You have too many friends. Looking after a pet takes so much time. 

The prof walked in a minute to ten. Good morning. How is everyone? Give me a moment, and we will get started. Alright …

The chatter had quieted. Delia was waiting for the prof to look at the group. Then she said – just a little too loud – I have a question about the assignment you gave us. Lucy closed her eyes. Mark sent Delia a smile. The prof laughed warmly and leaned forward, looking straight at her.

No, I don’t do that. There are no trick questions. No trap door. I am interested in what you know, not in what we all don’t know. Just do your best. There is nothing to worry about.

Students nodded with each sentence. A short laughter from Delia, her voice relaxed. But don’t you know: worry is my middle name. The prof laughed again. Lucy opened her eyes and looked at Delia. You know he is not like that; he is just. A mensch.

That’s when the small group picked up the discussion on linguistic minorities from last week.

This took a while. Text 9 from my 52-week writing course. It looks like I will take more than a year for the 52 weeks. The prompt this time: how others see you. If you’d ask me what the genre of this text is, I’d tell you it’s a shortest story. Shorter than a short story.

Winter ’75

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Winter ’75

This was hard work, and the boys had only one shovel. Martin had brought it. The whole thing was his idea. He – like only a few of the others – had skis. From his grandma. Long brown wooden skis with strange rounded tips and metal boot brackets and a very old wired clip binding.
The small sand quarry was echoing the laughter, shouts, and banter of the neighborhood boys. It had snowed overnight. Just a little. Enough for them to hope they could build a narrow slope. Narrow. For one skier in a straight line. One firmed track for the left ski, one for the right. One inch deep. Then the coarse sand of the quarry. The two tracks ended on a jump, a snow-dusted board, as smooth as they could find.
Martin went first. The first day of real winter. First snow. Not every year had a real winter. And the snow came less often and stayed shorter, year after year. But here it was. Not much, but here. Martin closed the wire bindings above the heel of the sole of his wet pigskin boots and jumped on the tracks, as he had seen on TV many times. He heard the sand and small pebbles scratch the wood of his skis. The fleeting thought: grandma will be upset about her old skis. Down in a straight line. All gazes on him. Velocity. Wind. Sounds of downhill. And a melting snow flake. Martin knew they were waiting for him to fall – before the jump or after. To leave the tracks. To stop before the jump. They knew he had fallen often. When playing ball. He was slow when running and clumsy when moving his arms.
The skis were different. He loved them. They gave him small wings, going down towards the jump in a perfect line. Without angst. With joy. And pride. The jump. In the air for longer than he had ever been in shoes. Landing in the sand. He turned around and looked at the other boys. His face under the tuque beamed like it had not in many months. It was the … snow.

2021-12-11 SD Writing / Creativity Group in Zoom

Any text. Any topic. Just with snow. That was the prompt. That’s how I remember it.

If you have the time and energy to read more of these texts you find them in blog order on this website. Let me know what you associate with them, what you like, what you dislike, what you read in them, how they make you feel …