Thursday, June 26, 2014

Live Writing Exercise 12

Okay, so I've decided that Tanissa doesn't have a cellphone (and had to remove the part that would have shown up today, where her dad calls to check on her).  I asked people if it were more believable that a kid would have her own phone in 2015, or that she wouldn't, and I ultimately chose to go with no.  Her parents are separated, which literally doubles their expenses, and that alone should be a viable reason why she doesn't have one.


            “What were you singing for?”

            “It’s no big deal,” Brekkyn said.  “Just forget about it.”

            That was not an easy task, but Tanissa looked out the window, watched the neighborhood go by, making a note of places she might go with her dad.  Not having a ton of money was going to be difficult on this trip, and she wondered if she could do something around the apartment--cleaning or cooking--to earn a few bucks from her dad.  She didn’t want to be a freeloader--something her mother had inferred a time or two when they were fighting--but she didn’t want to be stuck doing nothing all week either.

            “This is our stop,” Brekkyn announced, louder than necessary.  They stood up and moved, along with an elderly gentleman, to the doors.

            The bus driver flashed them both a crooked smile. “Thanks for riding with me, ladies.  Welcome anytime!”

            They got off the bus, Tanissa watching it go.  “That was interesting,” she began, but Brekkyn lowered her eyebrows. 

            “I told you to forget about it.”  Then, as if she had never spoken, she said, “So, do you have any brothers and sisters?”

            Tanissa told her about her half-brother, who she’d only met the one time, and asked Brekkyn the same.

            “I don’t know,” she muttered, and started moving toward the outdoor mall, which was on the high end, with way too much to look at and almost nothing to buy.  They each got a Cinnebon, which was so sweet as to make Tanissa a little bit sick, and tried on stylish jackets in bright colors that offered absolutely no warmth.

            She noticed that Brekkyn was very demanding of her attention, always wanting a comment on what the girl pointed out, or a compliment on the sunglasses or earrings, and Tanissa got the impression that the majority of Brekkyn’s friends had been the imaginary kind.  Still, that was a mean thought, and she pushed it from her mind, trying to be as excited about a lava lamp or a solar-powered cellphone charger as the other girl was. 

            Brekkyn, who claimed to come to this mall all the time, was much more enthralled by the vendors and displays, including a little “shoppe” that sold only scarves.  Several times she asked Tanissa if she wanted something and it felt strange, to have a kid she barely knew offering to buy her something, like a grandmother or a rich aunt.  One of the scarves (with a price tag of $49.99) had dolphins and seahorses and octopuses on it, and Brekkyn said that if she liked it, she’d buy one for each of them.

            “But it never gets cold enough to wear a scarf,” Tanissa said.  “Does it?”

            “You don’t wear it ‘cause it’s cold,” the younger girl preached, “You wear it ‘cause it’s cute.  I’m getting one.”  

            One of the sea creatures on the scarf looked like the god Poseidon.  That reminded Tanissa of something.  “You really know mermaids?” she asked.  “Seriously?”

            “No,” Brekkyn said, surprising her.


            “Not anymore.”  She looked around, making sure they were not being overheard.  “When I was three, my mom took me away from them, and we moved to Covina, then Eugene, then here.”

            In stories, mermaids were glamourous and beautiful, not at all like the skinny woman in Apartment 4 (much less like her daughter).  “Your mom isn’t part mermaid, then?  Half?”

            Brekkyn shook her head, whispering, “She’s not really my mom.  Adopted.”

            For a moment, Tanissa felt sorry for her.  For a kid with everything her heart desired.  “You know, I used to pretend I was a princess too,” she said, giving her a sympathetic look.  “I was the long-lost heir to a kingdom in the jungle or something.”

            “You stole that from Tangled,” the other girl muttered.

            “Well, maybe.  But I’m just saying--”

            “I’m not pretending.  I could swim before I could walk.  Fish in pet stores got so excited to see me.  I could talk to them.”

            “Fish always do that.  They think you’re feeding them.”

            The girl was stubborn.  “Well, I was special.  And they knew it.”

            Tanissa, for lack of a better plan, decided to play along.  “That’s great.  What do you remember about mermaidland?”


            “I guess,” the older girl indulged.

            She looked into the middle distance.  “It was quiet, and so warm, always warm, like L.A. is.  There were other merpeople there, not just mermaids, but sharkpeople and sealpeople and seahorsemen.”

            This was a vivid imagination the girl had, and Tanissa admired it.  Maybe she’d grow up to be like that man who wrote Harry Potter or the lady that did the Narnia books.  “You’ll have to take me there sometime.”

            “You can’t go there, stupid,” Brekkyn said, not even seeming angry, just rude.  “I couldn’t go there now.  It’s been too long.  My gills are gone.”

            “Right, right.  You can barely see the scars.”

            Brekkyn didn’t pick up on Tanissa’s sarcasm, and continued, “Maybe someday, my mermaid relatives will come and find me, and welcome me back to the ocean lands once again.”

            “I hope so,” Tanissa said, mentally adding, And soon.



Seraph said...

The 'and soon' bit at the end made me laugh out loud. You made me feel a little sympathy for the Breklyn here.

Jason said...

Kinda want to see what a seahorseman looks like.