September 10, 2009

Freewrite

A piece of narrative writing with an implicit theme.

My sister Genie and I were squished together in the tiny changing room. “Where’d my tank go?” she asked.

“I think it’s under the dress,” I said, unclipping a pair of capris from their hanger. It was August, and we were doing our back-to-school shopping for the year. I slid into the pants. “What do you think?”

“They’d look better on me.”

I laughed. “Thanks. That means a lot to me.”

“No problem.”

I pulled a face at her, and she grinned before pulling her shirt over her head. I watched as she fit her arms into the sleeves of the embroidered red tank top. She jiggled a bit, and I reached out and poked a bit of fat above her hip. I was about to make some comment, but I remembered everything I’d read about how a single comment about weight could destroy someone’s self-confidence and said nothing.

She paused and looked at me, confused.

I smiled vacantly. “Hip bone,” I said, by way of explanation.

“What?”

“Hip bone.” I poked her again, this time deliberately aiming for the little bony ridge.

This time, she laughed and poked me back. “Hip bone.”

“Hip bone.” I poked her again.

“Hip bone.”

“Hip bone.”

We dissolved into giggles, continuing to poke each other until we were laughing so hard that I overturned the rickety chair that took up what little free space in the dressing room.

The next week, we were in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner. I washed, Genie dried, and our younger sister Shelby cleared. When I reached over to pick up the fancy metal platter Mom had used to serve hamburgers, my shirt rode up my side. Genie paused in her drying and leaned over to poke my hip.

“Hey,” I recoiled, annoyed, but she just grinned at me.

“Hip bone.”

I began to laugh as well and poked her back. “Hip bone.”

“Hip bone.”

“Hip-” I gave enough of hiccup-y laugh that my words were cut off, but she caught my meaning and poked me again.

When Shelby brought her next small stack of plates over, she found us laughing so hard we were near tears. “What’s so funny?” she asked.

“Nothing, nothing,” I shook my head, still giggling.

“Tell me!”

I chuckled again. “It’s an inside joke, you wouldn’t get it.”

“Yes I would, just tell me!”

“It doesn’t matter anyways,” said Genie. “Did you wipe the table yet?”

“You never tell me anything,” Shelby whined.

“Of course I do. Go wipe the table.”

“No, you don’t!”

“It’s not our fault you spill secrets,” I said, joining the argument.

“I don’t know any secrets to spill because you don’t talk to me.”

“Maybe if you’d actually help with the dishes I’d talk to you.”

“Yeah,” said Genie. “Go wipe the table!”

"You’re so mean!” Shelby yelled.

“I’d be nicer if you helped!” said Genie.

“Could you two just stop fighting and get back to work,” I added, my voice low and angry.

“You don’t love me,” cried Shelby.

“It’s not a matter of loving you, it’s a matter of getting things done. I don’t want to be here all night, so could you please just clear the damn table?” I was yelling.

“I hate you!” screamed Shelby, and she slammed the plates down on the counter and ran out of the room.

I grunted and punched the edge of the sink. “Ow.” I shook my hand out.

Genie laughed.

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