Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fiction Class Assignment #2

Dear Globlets,

I had three different options to choose from for this assignment: One person wants something that the other person has (+doesn't want to give?); Two people have half of one thing and neither half is any good without the other - neither person wants to give up his/her half; One person wants something that the other has but the protagonist doesn't get what he/she wants and some other complicated shit I don't remember but was still less complicated than the second option. The second option is the one I decided to do in the end.

We were also asked to make sure the character and setting was described in extra detail.

Initially I wrote a different scene using the first option but I realized that it didn't really work with the topic. That was written the day before it was due. The second piece was written the night before, naturally. I'll post the first one once I think of an ending. With the help of my mom, I decided to write another scene, the following scene, using the second option.

I thought it deserved a higher mark than it received, but oh well. I mean, I realize there were a couple of mistakes and she said she thought that when the protagonist stuttered on the phone due to her drunkenness, it was more distracting than anything else (removed for your convenience), but it's like she starts at 85% and if there are mistakes she'll lower the mark. That's fine, but what do I have to do to get a mark closer to 100%? I'll ask her, I think.

I was the only one who picked the second option, too! There was a show of hands in class to indicate who chose which topic and I only saw my hand go up when she asked about the second one. She didn't see my hand. Ugh. It could still fall into another one of the topics, too.

I just felt like I put quite a bit more into this piece than some of my other ones, yet my mark was lower. :/

Also, some of her comments were a little strange, I thought. I think if she read it one more time she would have understood better. But, perhaps, as a writer, I should make sure my audience doesn't have to read it many times before they understand what I'm saying. - ?

Anyway, please provide some constructive criticism if you can/want to. Here it is:

Drowning in the Rain

I was lying on my modern cream-coloured couch with my eyes closed, just thinking, trying to process all that has happened and all that was going to happen. “You’re not getting any younger,” my mother’s reminder resounded in my head. “You’re not getting any younger and then one day you won’t be able to have any of your own.” That’s why I was so glad I had found George.

I let my mind wander into the past and I thought of the times George and I had talked about children. We would sit in the park and watch the kids play. We’d say things like, “I’d never say that to our child” and “I wonder what ours would be like.” He wanted kids as much as I did, but no matter how hard we tried, I couldn’t get pregnant.

I opened my eyes and looked over to the nearby Birch coffee table that we had bought together at IKEA. I smiled, remembering how bad he was at following the instructions and how patient I had to be when I was explaining to him what it was he had to do. He insisted that he would do it when I offered to take over. It was probably a man thing. Didn’t we have pieces left over? I chuckled softly to myself, but then I felt my heart sink. I was happy for one moment, recalling one of our greatest IKEA furniture-building adventures, but then I felt like I was just hit by a huge wave of sadness. I could almost hear the smack it made as it slapped and enveloped my entire body. My lip quivered and my eyes welled up. The wave had dug into me and was going to leak out now. I reached over to grab the wine glass that was waiting patiently on our coffee table before my tears blinded me. My hand, beginning to shake, lifted the glass to my lips. The moment the thin glass touched them and the red liquid reached my tongue, salty water droplets leaked from my eyeballs and down onto my hot cheeks. Some droplets sneaked their way to my mouth and managed to squeeze between my lips and the glass so some sips were saltier than others. It didn’t matter; it was the alcohol I was after and not the flavour. It could have been beer for all I cared.

George used to make fun of me for not liking beer.

I wept. I wasn’t quiet about it.

We were going to have a family. We were going to have a family! I set the wineglass down so I could scream into the nearest pillow. My voice soon went hoarse and I returned to simple crying. It felt like I would never stop. I pictured myself next to George. We’d hold hands as our beautiful children ran around in the park. Our son would have his hair - blonde and curly; our daughter would have mine – blonde and straight. She would complain that her hair is too straight and that she wished it was curly, and her brother would tease her by showing off his outrageously curly locks. Sometimes I would braid her hair at night so when she woke up the next day it would be wavy. Her hair would be so soft and I would tell her that it’s perfect even though it wasn’t curly. I’d say it was perfect because it wasn’t curly. She wouldn’t understand then, but maybe later she would. I then realized that it probably wasn’t healthy or productive to constantly create scenes in my mind of a parenthood I would never know. I punched my thigh and told myself to get a grip. I wiped my face dry with my sleeve.

I threw my legs off the couch and reached for my salty wine. I slumped back on the couch, exhausted from crying and remembering, with my legs spread apart in a most ladylike way. I let my hand feed me the wine again. And again. I decided I no longer had control of the hand and it was its fault for getting me drunk.

I damned my eggs and I damned his sperm. Why couldn’t they just get along? Why did we have to go to the doctor’s that day at that time? Why did he insist on being on time? Why couldn’t he have left later? Why did it have to rain that day? I will never forgive the rain. My eyes became cloudy again and began raining themselves.

While I thought about the In Vitro procedure we were planning, I remembered that he had frozen some of his sperm already. Realizing this, I gasped and choked on my spit. Technically, I could still have his children. Technically, there could be a George Jr., even if George Sr. was not around for him. Did I want this? Could I really do it? Could I be a mother without George? Whatever came out would be his.

I called his mother.

“Hello?” she answered.
“Joan, it’s Stephanie.”
“I know. We have caller ID. What is it? You sound...”
“I had an epiphany.”
“Oh? Well, what about?”
“Well, the day... when George and I were going to the doctor’s...”
“I know very well about that day. Why are you reminding me?”
“I’m sorry. I... it’s hard for me too, Joan. We were going to talk about the In Vitro fertilization, okay? Well, I remembered that he already had some of his sperm frozen, which means I can still have the procedure done.”
“I can’t believe you’re actually thinking about doing that still. I mean, maybe if you were his wife...” she went on.
“I thought you were past that. You know we just didn’t want to get married.” He’s gone and I’ll still never hear the end of this.
“Well, that’s too bad. That sperm is not your property!” she screamed into the phone.
“Why are you saying this? We wanted to have children together,” I replied, confused about her motivations.
“But you can’t! He’s dead! You won’t be having a family together anymore!” she shouted. She frightened me. I was silent; I was crying but I made no sound. Could she really prevent me from using his sperm?
“Why? Why won’t you let me have his kids?” I finally asked her.
“So you could go off with some other man who his kids would call their father? They would be his. Not some random...”
“You really think that?”
“I don’t want my grandchildren calling someone other than their father their father,” she decided.
“But this isn’t about you!” I reminded her.
“Well, this isn’t about just you either, Stephanie. It’s about my son. It’s about my son’s children. I’m sorry. I can’t let you go through with this.”
“What are you talking about? You can’t just...”
“No. I’m sorry, Stephanie.”
“But, Joan, you don’t have any other sons. You don’t have any daughters. This would be your only chance to have grandchildren!”
“And you’d raise them all by yourself, would you?”
“I can do it. I know my family would be willing to help as well.”
“I don’t know. It seems wrong,” she said.
“How is it wrong? We were going to do this anyway. The circumstances have changed, yes, obviously, but your son... George would have wanted this,” I urged while trying to keep focused. That wine...
“How can you know what he wanted?” she exclaimed.
“We talked about it for ages. He wanted children. I still do. I want to have his children. I have no intention of seeking another man!” I explained.
“But you don’t know! You don’t know what will happen in the future.”
“Neither do you, Joan! We could have something really great. I could bear your son’s beautiful children. Their bright shiny faces would look at you and know you’re their grandmother.”
“And they would know who their father was. We could tell them about how wonderful he was, how good of a man he was. We could tell them he would have loved them. We could tell them and they would know about him,” I explained. Silence came from the other line. “They would know him. Wouldn’t you want that, Joan?” I started crying more loudly.
“I...” Joan struggled to speak.
“Joan, please listen to me. Joan? Joan!” I heard a click on the other line, followed by the dial tone.

I felt sick. I couldn’t breathe. It felt like she was killing me, choking me with those bony old hands of hers. I was so close to having what we wanted, even though it was significantly different. I would still have had his children, but that idea has been taken away. It felt like she was taking my children away from me and they weren’t even been born yet!

Another wave hit me. This time, an old cruel woman with bony fingers held my head under the wave. I choked, I swallowed the salty water and I drowned in the wine.

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