Jun 29, 2012

My First Kiss--chapter 25

Getting my first kiss was about as easy as stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. It was something I was still eager for, but no situation ever seemed like it was the right time. Surely there wasn’t something wrong with me! My good friend Emma proclaimed her faith in me by announcing that her friend Eric and I would be perfect together. Yeah, right. I remembered how well my last date with my “soul mate” went. Still…I was greedy for dates, and decided it would be better to meet a new guy than to sit home by myself. On Monday evening four days later, I arrived at her apartment for my blind date. I was giddy with anticipation and euphoric when I saw who I was being paired up with. Eric was tall (taller than me, at least), very handsome, had black Ken-doll hair and gorgeous green eyes. I couldn’t believe she was friends with him!
Any uncomfortable barriers that might have been present were nonexistent as we laughed away the night playing Mad Gab and Phase 10. Eric and I talked easily over our card game and cheered each other on with each victory. I only hoped that it was because he was interested in me and not just a nice guy being, well, nice. Little fireworks erupted in my stomach each time he looked at me, and I savored each slightly uncomfortable sensation. He was polite, smart, and actually laughed when I made a joke. He was definitely boyfriend material.
Although a quick hug ended our date outside of Emma’s apartment, there were no future plans set for another get-together. Anxiety ate away at me as I impatiently waited for information from Emma. When I talked to her again, I was unable to ask her what Eric thought of me, fearing rejection. I decided to leave our relationship in the hands of fate. I was glad I hadn’t pushed for information, because seeing him the next week would have been embarrassing had I known his feelings (good or bad). He passed me as I was studying beneath a shade tree, and we made uncomfortable small talk that managed to still be exciting. We uneasily said hello to each other as we passed in the campus library several days later. After some more chance meetings with small talk that got a little less embarrassing, we decided that it was time to get to know each other better.
“There’s going to be an outdoor movie on the Lacrosse field Friday night,” I suggested apprehensively.
“Sounds great!” he smiled.
I breathed a little easier.
As the Friday sun sank behind the Wellsville mountains and the stars peeked out of the sky, I paced the sidewalk, awaiting Eric’s arrival. He was late and I was certain that I was getting stood up.
A silhouette made its way towards me, and I instantly recognized Eric’s voice. “Sorry I’m late!”
As we made our way towards the crowded field, Eric found it necessary to break the awkward silence with some not-so-small talk.
“So, do you cook?”
He’s lucky I liked him, because I might have introduced him to Lucy, my right fist.
“Yeah, I cook,” I answered, trying my best to smile like Betty Crocker.
“What do you like to cook?” he pushed.
I timidly told him about my grandma casseroles, knowing that it was obviously some pretty significant information in a relationship.
Surprisingly enough, he didn’t barf and run away. In fact, after the movie, he asked me if I wanted to hang out again.
“How about next Friday?” I suggested.
“I tutor a girl from four until six, but I don’t have any plans after. Do you want to meet pre-or post-dinner?”
“Pre-dinner,” I heard myself tell him. “That way, I can cook for you.”
Wait! That wasn’t me! There were demons in my body making me say things I would never say in a million years!
Ignoring the fear that ignited in my eyes, he smiled his approval, and it was set. I was doomed. Nothing I did could stop Friday from coming. In fact, I believe that Wednesday somehow tiptoed away when no one was looking. When Friday strutted in unfashionably early, I miserably realized that I had survived and was now forced to cook dinner for Eric. Where was an earthquake when you needed one?
I felt as if I were sealing my fate with the chicken enchiladas that steamed from my casserole dish. I carefully watched his face as he lifted the fork to his mouth, eager to interpret the future of our relationship by the look on his face. He ended up asking for seconds! Whew. Maybe he liked casseroles.
Five dates later found us walking through Adam’s Park as the sun was lowering. Our fingers were comfortably intertwined, and Eric was carrying a quilt. We found a tall pine tree, and opened the blanket beneath it, sitting close together. We spoke quietly to each other as we watched the emerging night turn running children into shadows that reluctantly walked home. The stars twinkled softly, and a warm night wind engulfed us, drawing his arms around me.
A sudden tension filled the space between our two bodies, and my heart erupted into a sprint.
“Can I kiss you?” he softly asked.
Terror I had never before experienced held me captive as I desperately tried to nod my approval. I wanted to speak, but my throat was constricted.
“Can I kiss you?” he asked again.
“Yes,” I yelled out in a nearly inaudible whisper.
My palms suddenly became drenched, and I trembled all over like a palm tree in a hurricane.
Eric gently turned my chin up towards his face, and I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to watch. I felt his hot breath on my face, and then as it enveloped my mouth. I waited, but never felt his soft lips touch mine.
I opened my eyes to see what had gone wrong, only to see his own face connected to mine with his eyes shut. He was kissing me. The problem was his mouth was opened.
Oh, great.
Not wanting to destroy this once-in-a-lifetime moment, I cautiously opened my mouth ever so slightly. Our lips finally met, and there they remained as he breathed down my mouth. Okay. Now what? Our lips moved ever so slightly, giving me the feeling of a nursing baby. Actually, it was more like kissing an octopus. The magic of my first kiss had been swallowed by Eric’s octopus mouth, and the only words that swam around in my head were, “I waited my whole life for this?!”
I had finally gotten the chance to be Cinderella. I was wearing the glass slippers, I was with my prince, and I still had two more hours until midnight. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. My first kiss was supposed to create music, stirrings in my soul, or at the very least, a desire to continue kissing. Wasn’t there a way to summon my fairy godmother, and have her move my curfew ahead a couple of hours?
After an hour of a cranked neck and dry, annoyed lips, I finally admitted to myself that having a fairy godmother wasn’t all that great. Prince Charming couldn’t kiss, and right there, I discovered that magic really wasn’t all that magical. As Eric dropped me off at my doorstep and sucked away at my lips a final time, I came to terms with the honest fact that glass slippers really weren’t my style.

Jun 13, 2012

Finding My Fairy Godmother

Okay, it's now time again to start polishing up this story, and getting it ready for re-submission. Please, any advice would be very appreciated! These are the first three chapters. I LOVE critiques, and ANYTHING to give me ideas for improving would be extremely useful. Thank you!

Chapter 1
President of the V.L. Club

You know the saying that you need to kiss a bunch of frogs in order to find your prince? Well, I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot. He doesn’t even need to turn into a prince. From New Kids on the Block to Alvin the Chipmunk, I’ve always been pretty open to all types. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it’s true. I am officially desperate. But can you blame me? I am twenty-two years old, and I still have never been kissed.
It’s not like I’ve never tried. I unsuccessfully sported a “Kiss me I’m Irish” pin in the second grade. I thought I thought I’d make it easy on my 3rd grade classmates by not running during kissing tag. Guess what? You’re supposed to run. I even tried giving my lips a sexy, lustrous shine by licking them all day, but only ended up with dry, lizard-like lips. Nobody thought of telling me about lip gloss.
I remember pushing eighteen years and being ashamed of the fact that I still had yet to kiss a boy. Or go on my fourth date, for that matter. Not exactly a promising beginning for a girl entering into her adult years. But once I hit twenty-one, a true, honest-to-goodness adult, and still having been denied the rite of passage into love, I felt it was my right to not only become an official member of the Virgin Lips Club, but to become the president. And so I did, no nominations even needed.

Chapter 2
Cinderellas and the Ugly Stepsister Syndrome

There are two types of people in this world: those who find love, and those who don’t. Guess which one I am? People like Cinderella really get to me. You think Cinderella’s just a fairytale? Well, you’re wrong. I’ve met plenty of Cinderalla-type girls, and believe me, they’re everywhere. What really irks me is that moment when they walk onto the crowded dance floor, not much caring about finding a dance partner while the rest of us ugly-stepsister types waste the night away pining for that one guy who’s looking at every girl…but us. Then suddenly, the hottest, most beautiful man you’ve ever seen approaches your side, smiles, and asks that Cinderella standing next to you for the one dance that leads to their engagement only two weeks later. Sort of sounds like my college roommate, Jan.
Jan’s the type who can wear an oversized hoodie, throw on glasses instead of contacts, and wear her hair up in a ponytail, and still somehow manages to snag a date from a guy she just met. Put me in an outfit like that, and I’m usually pointed in the direction of the ice cream aisle.
It’s hard not to hate these perfect girls who make acne look cute, actually go on dates, and are somehow not afraid of boys. It’s quite disgusting, actually. But what’s really painful is the ease in which love enters into their lives. They don’t even have to try. I’m the type who makes looking for love an embarrassing event.
There are some who are pre-selected to go through life just for the purpose of entertaining the gods, and I happen to be one of them. It’s true. Instead of gracefully passing through my years, I stumble about clumsily just to give some immortals a few good laughs. Experiences that ought to be dealt with naturally, such as smiling at a crush, are somehow presented in awkward, unnatural ways that render it impossible to handle with poise and dignity.
As it turns out, this Ugly Stepsister Syndrome is in no way genetically linked. My older sister, Liz, happens to be a Cinderella. When she was younger and liked a boy, he would sit next to her on the school bus. My childhood crush stood over me while I sat on the ground and broke wind over my head. It appeared that I lacked certain natural attributes needed to attract the opposite sex.

Chapter 3
Wish Upon a Star

In fourth grade, Liz already knew a little about flirting. She often used it on our next door neighbor, Shawn, who was three whole years older than her. He would chase her around our cul-de-sac, while she tried not to outrun him. One time, when she yelled, “Missed me, missed me, now you’ve gotta kiss me!” he nearly did. He was only stopped by the pickle she had been eating. I wished pickle breath had been my only problem.
When Liz first found out about wishing stars from her Kindergarten class and her wishes began coming true, she tried to share the magic with me. I memorized the wishing phrase with her, and eagerly looked forward to that night where I could find the very first star and begin my journey of sweet greed. Although I was four years old at the time, I was aware of the great power wishing stars had. They were obligated to provide anything my little heart desired, so long as I didn’t mess up the wording. I remember the day being spent in sweet anticipation, thinking up the perfect wish. Endless images of ponies, magic, castles and a never-ending supply of food swam through my head. It was hard to choose the perfect first wish. But even at my young age, I knew what one of the most coveted gifts on earth was.
As the sun sank down and shadows engulfed the tiny mountain town of Elk Ridge, I stood at our large French doors, overlooking the valley below. The city’s thousands of twinkling lights were nothing to the one tiny spark I saw up above. With an air of delicacy, I slowly made my wish, making sure the star wouldn’t misunderstand. I tiptoed to bed in reverent anticipation, making sure I was extra nice to my family so it would be known how deserving I was of this sacred first wish.
I climbed into bed and scooted all the way over, smashing up against the wall to make sure there would be room for my gift. Every few minutes I would peek out to make sure I hadn’t shifted over (and to see if it had arrived yet). My wishing star was sure to notice how considerate I was.
I awoke the next morning to an empty bed, but I was not discouraged. In fact, I was even more excited because my star took the time to hide my gift and send me on a treasure hunt! I looked under my bed, in the closet, in the bathtub, and in all the usual hiding places. Undaunted and still just as eager, I checked out all the unusual hiding places—like inside the kitchen cabinets with the pots and pans. But my first boyfriend was nowhere to be found. I must have wished wrong.

Jun 10, 2012

The Trouble with Cats

My cats have been driving me CRAZY for...well, let's face it...forever. I used to adore cats, but since becoming a mother, they're nothing but a nuisance. Since my time for writing is short (I'm sure the baby will wake any minute--he always does when inspiration strikes), I'll just make a list why my view on cats has changed.
1. They jump up on the counter like over-sized rats, searching for crumbs to eat.
2. They prefer a dripping faucet over a bowl of fresh water.
3. They refuse to eat the tuna fish I lovingly give them, but eat my cereal if I happen to step away from the breakfast table for one minute.
4. They think baby items (crib, car seat, swing, floor blanket, etc.) were custom made for THEM.
5. No matter what I have to do, a cat is ALWAYS in my way. If I'm changing a diaper, a cat is sound asleep on the changing table. If I put the baby to sleep in the cradle, I have to move the cat. If I climb into bed to go to sleep, there's a cat sleeping where my feet should be.
6. If I try to kick the cat off the bed, she gets up, stretches, and lays back down right where she was before.
7. Cats are self-centered. If I'm watching a movie and I get up to get a drink, the cat thinks I just warmed that spot on the sofa just for her.
8. When you don't want them, that's when they decide you're better than catnip.
9. When you call for them, they just look at you. Nobody tells THEM what to do.
10. They scratch the sofa.
11. They scratch the carpet.
12. They scratch at an empty diaper box that's sitting in the hallway at midnight.
13. They pee on the bathroom floor.
14. They pee in the bathtub.
15. They don't play with the toys you buy them, and play with your shoelace as you're trying to get ready to go.
16. They rub against me when I'm exercising and sweaty...and don't even seem to care.
17. They refuse to eat from their dish unless it is all the way full.
18. When one cat goes out, the other one runs in. Then when that one goes out, the other comes in.
19. If both cats are inside, only one cat must go out at a time. As soon as you let one out and begin to walk away, that's when it's time for the next one to go out. It's a cat code, I swear.
20. Cats always want to come in or go out when I'm watching a movie.
21. They climb the screen door instead of meowing at the door.
22. Their meow can sometimes break the sound barrier.
23. They paw at huge spiders...then let them get away...inside!
24. They paw at mice...then let them get away...inside!!!
25. They race between your feet, trying to trip you.
26. They sense which direction you're headed, then decide to lay down right in your path.
27. If it's muddy outside, there WILL be muddy paw prints ALL over the bathroom...and on your white sheets...and your dry-cleaning-only comforter.
28. If it's too cold and they're waiting to go outside, if you open the door, they will only partially go outside. If you try to nudge them outside, they will back up inside. Process will be repeated several times.
29. If you're in a hurry for a cat to go outside, they will only go partially out, defiantly keeping their tail inside.
30. If you let them lick your toes, you WILL get bitten.
31. If your bed is by a window, they will sit on your pillow while you try to sleep, and swish their tail in your face as they look outside.

There is no doubt about it. Cats are annoying!