“Write what you know, because no one knows it as well as you do.
Describe a day in your life you will never forget.
If you need help getting started, consider writing a short scene from your life, just something memorable that you can easily describe.
Write about graduating from high school or getting married. Show us what it felt like to become a parent for the first time or to win the homecoming game.
[F]ocus on repainting a scene for us, one that with our imagination’s help will put us in your shoes and make us feel what you felt.
Be as specific as you can, but where details fail you, just keep going. Make something up and come back to it later, or skip it entirely. Whatever you do, don’t lose momentum; keep pushing the story forward.
And tell us about a day you will never forget.“
It was a Friday, and I was eleven-years-old. It was an unusually crisp, clear October day. No rain slicked the windows, no need for a thick coat, just a jacket and you’d be fine. I don’t remember much about the school day. It was a day and a week before Halloween, and even though I was in the sixth grade, and some of the cool girls were busy making plans to go to Halloween parties that year, I was still excited for trick-or-treating. I loved dressing up in costumes, and free candy? Who the heck is going to turn their back on free candy and instead go to a lame party where you stand around and listen to bad pop music?
As it was, I was busy counting down the hours until school let out. It was a Friday, must I remind you, and Friday meant two whole days of no school, plus the anticipation of Halloween and tonight was Brittnee’s party. I mean, Brittnee and I were from opposite ends of the social circle. My group of friends was small and nerdy. We wore glasses, and I spent recess under the big pine tree in the corner of the parking lot with a notebook and pen.
I cringed every time we had to play sports in gym class because most of the time, it didn’t matter what sport we played, a ball would come whizzing by and wail me on the back of the head. Basketball, soccer ball, tennis ball, baseball. Brittnee and her friends were athletic, graceful. Brittnee had great boobs, which I hated her for until my own grew in.
She was dating Mike, the guy I had a crush on. He bought her a Dave Matthews Band CD for Valentine’s Day that she could listen to in her Walkman every time we had a day where we could bring music to school with us and a necklace with a locket. They held hands all throughout recess. Mike! The dreamy guy with one brown eye, one green eyes, with floppy brown hair whose dimples were absolutely drool-worthy when he smiled. Mike, the guy whose locker was right above mine, so I had to kneel at his feet every day to get my books, and when I looked up, it was like worship. Mike, who I had recently begun flirting with in my weird, teasing playful way as my heart thumped one-hundred-and-ninety beats per minute. Approximately. When I bought myself the Dave CD Mike had gotten Brittnee, I listened to it on my yellow Walkman, imagining he bought it for me. Brittnee with her stupid, perfect smile. She didn’t need braces. Her smile was freaking perfect. Brittnee with her tight t-shirts and perfectly flared jeans and puka shell necklace.
I think it goes without saying, Brittnee was popular, whereas, I was a little dork. Regardless, I was invited to her birthday party. No, this wasn’t the day that sticks out in my memory because I was suddenly accepted into the upper echelon of popularity, I think in my bag of stuff to bring to the party, I still packed a book. And no, none of the cool kids suddenly realized it was cool to write. I was just there, with my best friend, swimming at the Y and wearing my red swimsuit, trying my best to be like everyone else. I cringed my way through greasy pizza and horrible pop music. Not including DMB. I was a huge DMB fan because of Mike, but the music they were playing grated on me. I remember surviving the party, but not thriving it in the way you see dorky girls do in movies nowadays. I didn’t groove to my own beat, and suddenly, everyone looked at me and told me how cool I was. I was profoundly ignored, my gift was unpeeled and opened with lackluster enthusiasm. Brittnee didn’t invite my best friend and me as any special favors. She invited all twenty-one of the girls in our class. I had the same role at her birthday party as I did on my basketball sixth grade year, seventh grade year, and eighth grade year: bench warmer. Occasionally, I was called into action (where I showed up on the court, gave it my all) where I gave a gift, gave the best fake smile I could, but for the most part, I blended in with the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey on the wall, I felt like the ass.
There were no perks to being this wallflower. On the drive home, sitting in the captain chairs, my best friend and I whispered about how fun it would be to have an impromptu sleep-over. We kept discussing the ways we could sneak it past our parents. I was clutching this silly, dollar store polar bear Brittnee had given me that I named Avery. I turned him over and over again in my hands. We dropped my best friend off, and then, my dad and I drove home. He talked about how my mom and he were going out to dinner; my brother was going to baby-sit me until he was going out bowling with his friends. I thought how cool it must be to be a seventh-grader and to go out bowling. How cool my brother was. I was content just staying in and watching a couple of TV shows and writing while listening to Everyday, my Dave Matthews Band CD, but I was really hoping I could finagle my dad into letting Nicole, my best friend, spend the night. I subconsciously pleaded in my mind for Nicole to beg her mom to have me over, but I knew Nicole wasn’t the type to beg to do anything. If it happened, great. If not, another night in; Nicole was content just watching her VHS’s of her recorded TV shows just as I was content writing in my bedroom.
Sure, I liked the contact, but it wasn’t dire. So, when my brother got picked up to go bowling, I figured I may give Nicole a call later and see what she was up to. Otherwise, it was just staying in for me. Partway during one of the TV shows I was watching, the phone rang. I jumped up and answered it. I remember standing at my parents’ night stand, twirling the phone cord in my hand. I don’t remember who called–if it was my mom or my dad, but somehow, while out at dinner, they were alerted my grandpa had taken a turn for the worse. I don’t know if someone paged my dad, and he had made the call, but now, they were telling to get some of my things together, I was going to Nicole’s. They were going to call Mrs. L. and have her come pick me up. My grandpa was not doing so well, so my hands shook as I packed my purple over-night bag. PJs, a change of clothes, Avery, my new stuffed animal. I was at a loss, but luckily, Mrs. L. was at the door before I knew it. I remember Nicole not being in the car, but that could just be a false memory, but regardless, I remember feeling lost, cold. Confused. Not the circumstances under which I wanted to see my best friend. I kept turning Avery over again and again in my hands, feeling the beads slide through his cheap, cloth body.
We played with our stuffed animals quietly. I was really quiet that night, which was unlike me, and then, a few hours later, around eight or nine o’clock, I heard the doorbell ring. I heard my dad talking softly to Mrs. L., and it was in that instant, I knew my grandpa had died.
My heart felt as though it had stopped.
When we got to my grandparents’ house, there was a ring of family outside in the garage, all their eyes were red-rimmed with tears, in the car ride my dad had told me, and I kept a strong face. (I’m guilty of still doing this to this day. Keeping a strong face when I feel the whole world loses its footing.) I sat in the den in a rocking chair, just listening to the low murmurs of voices around me. I grabbed a white legal pad from the kitchen and a red pencil. Instead of having an eraser, it had a metal tip. I wrote and wrote and wrote outside when everyone went back inside. I wore the pencil’s point down to the nub. I sat on a big hunk of quartz my grandma had out front and stared at the full moon. I listened to a dog cry at the moon, and I kept a strong face. I went back inside, stared at the bleary-eyed adults, and I kept a strong face
It wasn’t until I went to bed that night that I cried into my pillow case.
This was the day I will never forget. The day that will be imprinted on my memory forever. The day my grandpa died.
I went over 500 words, but at least, this is getting my creative juices flowing again.