Friday, October 2, 2015

Mia - Untitled (Chapter 2)

** I've come back to this story several times, feeling like this might be the one I'll flesh out all the way through. It's tough deciding what character features will appeal to a YA audience. Still, I'm enjoying the process. I suspect these chapters will look very different in the end. If you have any thoughts about direction please feel free to comment. You can find Chapter 1 here.

Mia - Untitled

Chapter 2

            I wish I hadn’t agreed to serve on the Back-to-School Greeting Committee. As if the first day of seventh grade wasn’t hard enough, now I had to be at school an hour early and with my cheeriest voice—as Mrs. Bruce liked to emphasize—tell the sixth graders to ‘Have a happy first-day of middle school!’ What I should probably do is urge them to run back home before the older kids chew them up and spit out their bones.   
Somehow I survived sixth grade, but if it hadn’t been for Julia and Khareem, I wouldn’t have. They had moms they could run to on bad days; I didn’t. I only had them, and my dad, I guess, but he and I seem to speak different languages. Some days I wish I could just lie in my comfy pink bed and never get up again. But at least I would get to see my friends today and that beats sitting in my room all alone.
When I finally arrive downstairs, the smell of burnt toast suffocates me. My dad had, once again, decided to cook breakfast even though I urged him not to—for obvious reasons.
“Good morning, Caterpillar. You ready for the first day of school?” says Dad. He runs from one side of the kitchen wearing oven mittens on one hand and holding a sizzling pan in the other.
“Could you please call me something else? I’m not six anymore,” I respond.
“Oh, that’s right. I forgot. You’re twelve now and too cool for your dad,” he says.
“No, Dad. I’m just not six,” I say, staring at the charred bacon strips on the plate he places before me.
“Are you not excited to see your friends again?” he asks.
“I guess,” I say gloomily. “I’m just not excited to see everyone else.”
“Well, maybe you should perk up. Let people see your smile and they’ll start liking you.”
“I wish it were that easy,” I say.
“Just try a little harder, Caterpillar.”
I don’t even respond. This is where most of our conversations end, with me getting blamed for not trying hard enough.
“Do you want Mary-Ann to take you to school? She’s on her way to the clinic, which is in the same direction.”
“No, it’s okay,” I say, wondering whether I should skip breakfast altogether.
“You sure?” he says.
“Yes,” I say, getting up and placing my plate on the counter.
I grabbed a piece of toast, the least-burnt I could find, gave my dad a hug, and walked toward the door.
“Oh, hi, Caterpillar. You’re leaving for school already?” says my stepmom as I walk past her on the staircase.
            “Yep. Bye Mary-Ann,” I say, closing the door behind me without looking back.

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