I’ve always had trouble writing anything short. I think that is why I wrote long novels. This semester, I’m taking Creative Writing in college and it functions as a workshop too. I was assigned to write a short, short story. My Professor knew this was going to be hard for me, but we agreed the challenge was worth it. I’d never had such a hard time writing a two-page story as I did with this one. It was more time consuming and mind-reeling to write this two page story than it has ever been for me to start writing the first few chapters of a book.
In another post, I think I’ll write about what a short story is and how to write one, but until then, I think I’ll just post the short story I wrote and agonized over.
So here it is:
The pencil-tip of a needle penetrates the surface twice between her arched chestnut brown eyebrows. Bea flinches almost noticeably in the oak stool before she regains her composure, sitting upright. In a matter of seconds, her skin stretches, making the wrinkles disappear. Though her face’s as tight as a rubber elastic band stretched to its limit, she forces her crimson red glossed lips into a smile. “You look gorgeous, Beatrice,” Van stands out of his chair and puts the syringe on the marble counter.
A lightning bolt of pain strikes her chest as she laughs softly, but she ignores it as if it were only her imagination. “Thank you,” she pays him and makes an exit for the door where yellow light seeps in from outside. “See you next week.”
The back roads that weave around the city are quiet with the exception of a few bird chirping and knocking their beaks against branches of Joshua, crab apple, oak, and willow trees. The silence echoes in her mind. It gives her too much time to think; too much time to reminisce. Reaching for the black dials of her radio system, she turns the radio on and blasts the music loudly. As she drives and sings along to the song, the wind blows her long, wavy auburn brown hair –the color she dyed it last week– into funnels and spirals. The brilliant sun, aglow with hues of red, orange, and yellow, beats down on her smooth cocoa tan skin that she’s tried for weeks to maintain. Pressing her shoe down on the gas, the car increases speed and she takes off like a torpedo in her convertible. Everything around her –the trees, the farm houses, the cows, the horses, and the fields– are like a blurry, fading before she can even view them. In a matter of minutes, she comes to a red octagon sign. Stomping on the brake, her car screeches to a complete stop, pulling her body forward before it clings her back to her seat. Her surroundings caught up with her and her heartbeat quickens like the flapping of helicopter wings. Taking a few deep breaths, the thumping of her heart slows, but the exhilarating rush remains. Putting the car back in drive, she carries on within the speed limit this time.
A few streets down, Bea pulls into her winding driveway and comes to a white two story house with a gray stone foundation. There are white tulips, lilacs, and mums lining the front of the house, and two lavender trees are situated at both ends of the yard, swaying in the wind. Bea eyes the sleek, black Pontiac car parked beside her and knows her granddaughter Nina is here.
In the living room, Bea finds Nina sitting on the pastel white leather couch. Nina stands with a soft smile crossing her lips as she sees Bea come in, but her smile fades into a solid line as her ocean blue eyes –the same shade of blue as her grandmother’s– look her grandmother over. She sees they have the same blue jean skirt and similar ivory blouses on. The only difference was that Bea had red high heels and Nina had black flats on. Despite her shock, Nina manages another smile; a youthful smile on a cherubic face Bea used to have at Nina’s age.
“Nana, how are you doing?” she walks over and wraps her arms around Bea in embrace.
Bea grimaces, but as she is released from the hug, she smiles so wide her whitened dentures show. “I thought I told you not to call me that, Nina,” Bea brushes a loose strand of hair out of her face. “Call me Aunt Bea or Bea. We’ve been through this a thousand times, my dear.”
“I’m sorry. I forgot,” Nina sits on the couch, and Bea sits beside her. “Aunt Bea, I wanted to come over and check on you. Mom’s worried because she got a call from the doctor saying you missed two chemo treatments this month.” Her voice takes on a grave, low tone. “I’m worried about you.”
Bea’s eyes drift to the small vase of white roses on the coffee table. Two of the roses have shriveled up. “I should get these flowers some new water. You want to help me water them, love?”