By Marcia Thornton Jones
I am always surprised at what I write during a freewriting exercise. Here is my freewrite using Smack Dab In The Middle’s ‘summer’ prompt!
Not a hint of breeze tickled the yellow sheers, even though I opened the window as far as it would go. At the beginning of the summer, the Sanderson’s had installed whole-house air-conditioning, and I imagined Tory in crisp baby doll pajamas all cool and goose-pimply while I was destined to lay in a tangle of sweat-soggy sheets.
I turned the pages of Jo’s senior yearbook, examining each and every page, and tried to figure out where I would fit in when I started high school. There were no pictures of ugly kids. No fat thighs, blotchy complexions, or ratty hair. Absolutely no place for someone like me.
But there were exactly seventeen pictures of my sister. I counted. My brother was in a total of twenty-three. Combined, my perfect brother and even more perfect sister had graced nearly every club and sporting event with their smiling presence.
I grabbed my blanket, pushed up the screen, and crawled onto the roof of the porch. Hot air heavy with the scent magnolia mixed with cut grass slapped me in the face. The Wheeler’s dog was howling, and the last verse of Jim Croce’s Bad Bad Leroy Brown floated out Henry’s window.
Even through the blanket, the grit of the shingles dug into my back as I looked up at the star-freckled sky. One was moving, and for a heartbeat’s time, I thought it was a falling star waiting to grant a wish. But then it blinked and I knew it was only an airplane passing high over
on its way somewhere else. Lexington
God, how I wished I could be up there instead of here. To be Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin or Captain James Tiberius Kirk at the helm of the Starship Enterprise. To be up there hurtling through space amongst the stars. I imagined looking down at the earth. Down at my little house in the middle of the suburbs. Down at me on the roof of our porch.
And what I saw was a girl who was totally alone on this planet.
No. That wasn’t right. If I were really alone, then there’d be no family on the inside oblivious to the fact that I was out here, looking up to the stars, and wishing I could do one thing…one tiny thing…to make them just a little bit happy that I was ever born.
A twig cracking brought my attention back down to Earth. I tried to scream, but the erratic pounding of my heart balled up my scream, trapping it in my chest.
There was someone in the shadow of the forsythia staring straight at our house. Staring straight up at me.