So NaNoWriMo has started!
How is everyone's word count going?
I thought I would share my first chapter with you all. Well...semi-prologue(ish) and first chapter :)
Easy - 10 mins 45 secs
Easy - 11 mins 58 secs
Easy - 10 mins 6 secs
Medium - 13 mins 16 secs
Easy - 9 mins 22 secs
So dad plopped this book down on my hospital bed last week...
I will admit it is a pretty cute little thing, all floral and girly. It stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb against the stark white of my hospital bedding - I think I might wake up one morning and go blind from all of the white glaring at my eyeballs if I don't get out of here soon.
As cliche as this sounds, my dad is not a brilliant communicator. He gives amazing hugs - the great big bear kind that make you feel like you are being surrounded on all sides - and is a great listener and advice giver when you give him the time to think over an issue. But when it comes to general communication, not so much. The words just don't seem to happen the way that I am sure they were laid out in his head.
Bearing this in mind, how the heck was I supposed to get "Treat this book like your new BFF and tell it all of your deepest and darkest secrets," out of "Sweetie this is for you, I'll see you at visiting time tomorrow,"?
Really! How? Just...how?
I just thought it was a random gift and that maybe my little brother had picked it out for me from the gift shop or something - he's a cute kid and has been filling up my side-table with all kinds of little presents he has been talking my dad into buying for him to give to me. Besides, you don't give someone a present and tell them what to do with it. You just don't do that kind of thing. My dad does.
After finding out that I have been using the notebooks - sorry Journal - to keep track of my Sudoku solving times - don't judge me! - he was quick to inform me on how I am supposed to be using it.
This book is now to be my bestest friend EVA!
Kill me now.
Maybe I'll go for a paddle and let the shark finish me off.
Yeah, that is why I am in hospital right now. Shark attack. And that is also the reason for this journal. Dad has been talking to shrink and apparently I need to get my feelings out. I have never been one to talk about things and I have a feeling that dad told the good Dr that and this was he next best thing they could think of. Of course it isn't stopping the shrink from coming to pay me a visit in a few days.
I don't need to talk about anything! I mean, what am I going to say? It's not like I can complain about the shark bullying me and then taking it too far one day...
Besides, if I told him what really happened, I would be out of this hospital bed quicker than I can spit and in a padded cell.
There is nothing special about me you know. I have always been normal. Happily so. I have never wanted to stick out from the crowd. I have never wanted to be different. I have never wanted to be special.
I have skimmed through life always staying under the radar. Never being paid more than extra attention at school, never drawing attention to myself…of course I cannot say the same for my best friend…
In the play of my life I am the third tree from the back. Actually I am probably not even the tree… I am the shrub, next to the third tree from the back. You know, the one you never notice because you are too busy watching the trees pelt apples at Dorothy – see I bet YOU have never noticed the shrub have you?
Until everything changed when we went to the beach.
I was in the back of our family car and I was moody. I admit it. I hate the beach. I always have, but just like always my mum always decides on the beach for the ‘family time’ when the weather is nice. Personally I do not see what it so wrong with a nice walk in the local park, or throwing water balloons around the garden – that sounds nice doesn't it? But no. We were on the way to the beach instead.
It’s not that I have a fear of open water of the salty variety or a ‘Jaws’ complex or anything. Well…I have nightmares about drowning but that is a different story altogether. The thing is it doesn't matter how hard you try, skin always gets shown at the beach. What is it about the beach that it is always hotter than the main street one and a half minutes away? What is with that? It must be psychological.
I hate showing my skin. To me going to the beach is a waste of time anyway. Fair skin, red hair and sun usually ends in painful sunburn and sheading my skin like a snake for the next month. And add to that the fact that I'm not exactly the skinniest chick on the block either... It's not that I mind this. I am happy with the way that I am. Well…as happy as I can be I suppose. I have curves – all in the right places I will add - it's just not my fault if some of the curves go in the wrong direction. I’m not huge, don't get me wrong. I am…medium (if there is such a thing). You know what I mean? Size 18 is too big but size 16 has the layer of fat trying to squeeze out of the top. So I go around in trousers a size too big that make me look like I am three sizes larger than I am and make me look like my thighs are huge.
Welcome to my world.
But back to the car for the time being I suppose.
We had been driving for a good two hours. My mum was in the front with dad nodding her head to whatever talk show she was listening to on the radio and ignoring everything Brian (my step-dad) was saying to her – what is it about radio presenters? Do they love the sound of their own voices? Or do they just not know when to stop? Mum had been doing that a lot lately, ignoring Brian. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor guy. They had been married for early five years and Brian was as much in love with my mum as ever, but I couldn't help but wonder about my mum's feelings. She had always been flighty when it came to guys, no one had been more shocked than me when she told me she was getting married.
I was in the back seat plugged into my saving grace AKA my iPod – playing the rebellious moody teen to a tee with my little brother dozing off against my arm.
Travel always made him sleepy for some reason. I wish it did the same to me. Then I wouldn't have all the time left to think about the torture that would be awaiting me at the beach.
My brother is a little cutesy. He can be annoying like any other younger sibling and I have considered sneaking him out of the house and dropping him at an orphanage somewhere on more than one occasion but at heart he is a darling who is just acting his age and I can't really hold that against him…well, for long anyway.
He was the reason I was in the car heading to my near death experiance. He had turned on the flippy-lip syndrom when I had told mum that I was't coming. She would have let me get away with it too - staying behind - but Ben threw a mighty fit and since it seemed to mean so much to him I went along.
Mum and dad fawn over him constantly. And in all honesty I don't mind this. Mostly. It gives me more space without someone constantly peering over my shoulder and checking up on me, but I wish sometimes that they would show a little more interest in me. It all comes down to the fact that Ben was not expected. My parents - biological and non - are not the type to freak out about the arrival of a new child – well, if mum falling pregnant with Ben was anything to go by anyway. The pregnancy had been normal until the last month or so and then there had been ‘complications’ To this day I don't know what they were but I do know that if they hadn't been uncomplicated Brian would have been raising me as a single parent.
I stroked my little brother’s dark hair and he snuggled closer, chewing on his thumb.
See what I mean? A little cutesy.
He was the family’s miracle child.
I skipped my iPod to the next track and closed my eyes against the sun coming through the window as we came out of the line of trees that yelled ‘3 miles to the beach’ at me.
I really hate the beach.
Sand in my sandals, sand in my hair, sand in eyes, sand stuck to the sunscreen that was stuck to my skin.
I hate the beach.
I glared at my dad who had proceeded to fall asleep as soon as the blanket had been put over the sand, I could hear his familiar snoring coming from behind the sport pages as his chest moved up and down rhythmically.
I love my dad; he has got to be one of the most laid back people on the planet. And thinking about it you would have to be to live with my mum for any extended period of time. She is a very highly strung, easily excited kind of woman my mum. Which goes against everything that she surrounds herself with. She is a florist and believe me, if you saw her 'hippie' and 'peace' would be two of the biggest words flashing through your mind in neon lights. She wears some of the brightest clothes I have ever seen. One of these days her earrings are going to be touching the floor I am sure of it. But she is so serious - one of the ‘jump to worst conclusion possible and work your way down’ kind of people.
“Myra can’t you at least pretend to be enjoying yourself. Honestly. Anyone one think you are waiting for the electric chair,” mum grumbled at me as she finished inflating the plastic armbands for Ben and sent him away with a pat to his behind to go paddling. He skipped away towards the foaming waves an empty plastic bucket swinging from his hand.
That's my mum all over for you. ‘I will make you do something that I know you hate but do not you dare let me know you do not like it’.
“I might as well be” I mumbled, turning my iPod up higher and reaching into my bag for my book and sun glasses. That is another thing about being at the beach…or just being out side in general when it is sunny. On the adverts they always show you the sexy, slim, bikini clad woman by the pool, or on the beach lounger reading a book or magazine. Fake! They do not show you her squinting at the pages because of the glare or trying to get the right angle so she is not blinded by the sun bouncing of the pages and scorching her retinae. Which is what I was doing right now. Even with sun glasses in my eyes were nearly closed in an attempt to minimise the retinae frying.
After a few minutes I gave up. Mother Nature hated me today and there was no point in fighting it. I yanked my ear buds from my ears and began flapping my shirt in an attempt to cool down.
I pulled the material away from my stomach and let it go with a pop, the movement producing a miniscule draft before immediately re-sealing itself to my skin.
I could feel my mother’s blue eyes on me and I knew that she was itching to tell me to just strip off the t-shirt and make do with the bikini top I had on underneath it. She would not say anything though. After years of having the same argument she had finally realised this was one argument I was never going to let her win. It did not stop her from making me put the swim suit on under my clothes though. I think she was trying to sweat me out of my baggy clothes. But I would be victorious.
The beach was buzzing. Not quite as noisy or as busy as it could get at the height of summer where you could hardly raise an arm without elbowing someone but it was almost uncomfortably crowded.
Umbrellas and loungers were dotted all over the beach along with small children armed with buckets and spades. Further away from us there was a bunch of college students doing what college students do. Playing volley ball. What is it about volleyball and college students anyway.
I rolled my eyes. The whole beached looked just how you would expect a beach to look and at any minute I knew someone was going to jump out with a camera yelling ‘You’ve been punked’
Everything was too perfect.
Then the wind change direction carrying the small of seaweed and fish. Finally something to throw off the wonderful picturesque scene. That made me feel better in a perverted kind of way as I watched my mum’s nose wrinkle up and her hand cover her mouth.
I scanned the shore line. Over all of the years of being ceremoniously dragged to the beach I could not remember there being fishermen around this particular one. After all, the wonderful aromatic smell of dead fish is not exactly a crowd pleaser. I had only been to this beach a couple of times since we had moved to the Sates 6 months ago but I knew that fisherman tended to stay away during the tourist season, taking their hauls to the harbour several miles away instead.
But there they were. A group of them at the small peer, gutting and boning and doing what fishermen do with speed and efficiency. And then throwing the remainders into the sea.
In the end, the smell was not all that difficult to get used to – despite its ability to get rid of some of those with a sensitive disposition. I smugly waved goodbye to the backs of the college kids. I have found though that after living with the smell of baby sick around the house and on my clothes and other unmentionables for the last 4 years I can stomach just about anything. Except for warm milk. That is the one thing I just cannot stand. Gross.
I flopped back onto the blanket and kicked off my sandals. It looked like the smell was not even going to drive my mother from the beach. That woman had an iron stomach when she put her mind to it.
I closed my eyes. If I wasn't going to be going anywhere I decided to catch up on my sleep. I was just beginning to doze. About to fall of the side of that skyscraper and float into blissful oblivion as the sun soaked into my skin - it felt almost pleasant in my sleepy state.
DUN DUN DUN!
So, what do you think? :)
I hope you are all having fun with your stories if you are taking part in NaNoWriMo this year.