Friday, July 10, 2009

45 Minute Wait

The first sentence is not mine... But I wrote the rest of my story based on it.

Carol heard a noise as she undressed for bed; it frightened her. She’d only been half undressing for bed and half searching for the book she had intended to read in bed, but but after she heard the noise she was only a third involved in each of these tasks and a third involved in trying to figure out where the noise had come from—though of course these things could not be measured like sugar or flour; in fact, it would be more than a third of trying to determine the source of the sound anyway, because there was fear attached to that fraction, and fear has a way of dispossessing its neighbor. Carol continued to listen for every little noise like she always was, although there was really no reason for it. She had never witnessed any sort of traumatic experience as a child- the kind that brands fear on a person’s mind. Her fear had just appeared and would not let go. Quickly, she threw on her pink slip and went towards the door- the noise had come from the kitchen down the hall. When the noise suddenly echoed through the hall again, Carol found it more familiar. With a short sigh, she slid her hand down in a feeling of relief. She knew the sound of her cat, Romeo, as he climbed on the shelves and knocked down everything in his path. Romeo came galloping towards her when he heard her soft footsteps. She looked at him lovingly- he was her only roommate and he was almost killing her with false fear. Carol didn’t know exactly why she named her cat Romeo; it wasn’t that she disliked Shakespeare, she just found the character of Romeo to be too impulsive and dramatic. She hated when people were too dramatic about things. This was probably because of her family, mainly her parents, for acting so quickly on their emotions. Her mother made tiny issues into front page news headlines. Her father saw a girl, wanted her, and left her poor mother sobbing on the living room carpet. Too impulsive for Carol. It was this kind of behavior that ran in her family and this kind of behavior that caused her to become “Carol”. Being from a Mexican family, her mother chose the name Carolina. But as a Mexican girl attending an all-white school, without a father, and without much money, Carolina turned her back on her culture. She rejected the language out of embarrassment and rejected the last three letters of her name.

As Carol looked at her cat thinking that the name Romeo had a nice ring to it, a small feeling of hunger came creeping up her body from her stomach. Though it was already 10:33 at night, she decided to go out to eat. In the misty bathroom mirror, she struggled trying to piece together her curly, frizzy hair. The deep red strands finally came together in a loose bun she created with bobby pins- she knew her hair was too much for the bobby pin attempt, but she tried to control it anyways. Even with her hair, Carol tried to Americanize herself. Her deep brown Mexicana hair had been bleached and dyed into a deep fire color. When she first dyed it, her mother took one look and said, “Mija, it looks as if your head is on fire.” In a way, Carol’s head was on fire, or at least her mind was. Her high school years were an embarrassment to her. Her mom would stand out on the porch in her skimpy outfits appearing for the neighbors to be sipping a margarita (really she would be chugging it down in the house). At night her mother would come home late from dates. The worst for Carol was when her mother would take her to bars and the daughter would have to watch as her mother pranced around drinking and dancing with different men. Carol hated that. So she dyed it all away. But the big lips she inherited from her mother still remained on her face and her mother’s hazel eyes also mirrored in hers. With her hair done, she put on some earrings, changed, and left to get something to eat. She drove for a while, still undecided on what she wanted. Finally, the bright lights of a small hamburger shop lured her in, and she began searching for a parking spot. Unfortunately, the only spot to be found was five blocks away. A few minutes’ walk later, Carol made it to the hamburger shop. In her mind, she was already deciding what she would order. It hadn’t occurred to Carol how much she was craving a classic American hamburger until that point when she stopped to open the door. Inside, there were filled tables of people eating and laughing. “Table for one, please,” Carol said. The waiter scanned his seating chart and then looked up saying, “That will be a 45 minute wait.” After declining to put her name down on a seating chart, Carol went outside. Looking around, she noticed that the street she was on was mostly dark, except for the burger shop and the TaquerĂ­a. Without a second thought, Carol walked inside the small, Mexican decorated restaurant to eat. She walked up to the counter and placed her order. Since she was starving and hadn’t eaten for hours, Carol ordered just about the biggest platter she could find. While she was putting her ID back in her wallet, the boy at the register asked for her name to call when the order was ready. Looking up she replied, “Carolina.”

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