Since the semester began three weeks ago, I haven't seen my dad. My parents' house was a 90-minute car drive away -- close enough to consider a spur-of-the-moment trip every now and then, but too far to do it too often. Classwork was keeping me really busy, too.
Alan's mother, Nora, had retired to a gated community to golf away her twilight years. Her comfortable home was across the street from Jim and Sally. They had been so nice to Nora when she moved in, shortly after the death of her husband, Alan's dad. Jim was a retired banker who married late in life. He was in his late 70's now, while Sally was in her early 50's. He was a tall slim southern gentleman. She was a short bubbly blonde who was aging gracefully. She stayed active enough to look a few years younger than she was. She was devoted to Jim.
My name is Annie, and this is my story about earning the scholarship that is getting me through college. This is my first time submitting a story, let alone my story to a site like this, but reading through, I'll go ahead and share about me at the time of the story. I'm a 19 year old girl from Washington State, going to school at a small, private liberal arts college in Canada. This story took place about a month into my sophomore year there. Myself, I stand at 5'5, about 135 pounds... I don't really look fat, I'm just built kind of bigger.
The sky was low and dark and held an ominous look of snow in it. The winter had already proved to be a cold one, with several inches of snow already accumulated. It was no surprise to hear the weather man say, "...and more snow is on the way...".
It is Saturday, mid-morning.
My cellphone rings, I pick it up and see that it is my answering service. I take the call.
"Yes, speaking...What are the symptoms?"...looking for a pen and paper.
"What is her number?...OK. Thanks."
I jot down the number.
"Stephanie! What have I gotten myself into now?" I say to myself.
After a bad divorce I had moved to a new town. I found a job within a few weeks, but it was far from the ideal job. I was a mechanic's helper in the city garage, working on garbage trucks, an often nasty job. Once in a while, after I was able to wash up enough, I stopped in at one of the local pubs, and in time got to know a couple of the other guys who seem to hang out there.
The two travellers struggled to get through the swinging glass door entrance to the hotel. Ingrid, the maitre d', hissed for the young porter who was usually to be found lounging at the back of reception. But he was nowhere in sight and now the men and their bulky luggage were through the entrance and walking grim-faced towards the front desk.
In an attempt to deflect any initial dissatisfaction, Ingrid put on her friendliest smile and, even though it was almost the end of a very long shift, greeted them with energetic efficiency.
You go to the fridge, dragging the door open, as the conversation continues loudly behind you. Laughter rings out over the clamor of the television and you draw four cold long-neck beers from the crisper, set them on the small silver tray you were given for your hostess duties this evening, and with a pop-pop-pop-pop the caps are all neatly removed and discarded. You brush down the leather skirt and adjust your corset before entering the living room again.
Shortly after 5 AM the sun raged through the haze over the lake and began another attack on Chicago. The humidity and temperature had both been in the low nineties all week and today didn't look like the time for moderation.
Fred sat up in bed, swung his feet to the floor and felt with his feet for his slippers. The air conditioner had been on maximum cool all night and when he reached for the knob to turn it to Low Cool he noticed moisture had accumulated on the outside of the window pane. August in Chicago, he wasn't surprised.
In the early spring moonlight, the back of the river seemed to lift and heave like the body of a snake, flowing over rocks and stumps, braiding its way through copses of saplings on the flooded banks, pooling and forming eddies as it washed around the concrete pilings of the bridges.
"What does that remind you of?" I asked her as we drove along. "What does that make you think of?"