POINTS FOR STYLE
The doorbell rang and Esther’s eyes flew open. She had been napping on the couch. There was a groan, followed by an “OW!” as she started to raise her head. The bell rang again. Esther yelled “I’m coming! I’m coming!” in a hoarse, phlegmy way.
Esther made multiple noises, verbally and bodily, as she leveraged her way to a sitting position. They mixed with the occasional muttered curse. An “Oh, shit!” punctuated the calliope of sounds. The library book she had been reading, before she nodded out, fell to the floor. The bookmark went flying free, coming to rest on the other side of the coffee table. Her back creaked more as she retrieved the book.
Grumbling, Esther forced her swollen feet into her pink mules. Getting to her feet was a feat. Her smart-aleck son called this her “Rice Krispee Olympic Maneuver. From Prone to Standing in 6.5 minutes, accompanied by snapping, crackling, and popping, the whole way through.
“Putz,” she muttered, the pain holding back the sometimes smile that comments made. Esther adjusted her faded baby blue housecoat and touched her thinning hair.
Something was hitting the door as she shuffled out of the living room to the main foyer. It was a consistent, rhythmic beat. Already, the vein in her right temple began to throb. Esther cursed some more under her breath, still loud enough for others to hear (though she denied it every time). She thought she was quiet. End of story.
Even though she thought she knew who it was at the door, she still asked: “Who is it?” Esther had to: she could no longer reach the peephole and peer out of it.
“It’s me, Grandma. Becky. I have to go to the bathroom!”
Esther tsked and winced as she began to unbolt the three locks and then unchain the door. The blood rose in her cheeks: she hoped none of the neighbors heard Rebecca. Esther loved her granddaughter, but it was times like this she wanted nothing more than to give her a little zetz.
Taking a few steps back after “The Great Unlocking, another of her son’s quips, Esther grasped the doorknob. She turned it, bit her lip as arthritis in her hand flared, and opened the door. Her mouth dropped open as Rebecca skittered in.
“Hi, Grandma” rushed forward, followed by a cheek kiss and running into the apartment. Esther heard the bathroom door slam shut and the lock click.
The front door was still open and Esther still had her hand on the doorknob. A noise from down the hall startled her. It was Beverly, taking a bag of garbage to the incinerator door. They made eye contact, nodded, fake smiled at each other, and as one opened a door the other one closed hers.
Esther locked the bottom lock. She was back in the living room, sitting on the couch when she realized that she hadn’t bolted the other two locks. Nor did she re-chain the door.
She heard the bathroom sounds then. Flushing. The sink water turned on full blast, then off. The bathroom door unlocked and Rebecca came into the living room. Esther’s eyes roamed up and down the teenager.
Becky saw she was getting The Look. She sat down in the wing-back chair that had always been her favorite seat when visiting. She crumbled into it, threw both of her legs over the right chair arm, and sighed.
Esther’s son warned her: “Don’t make a big deal out of this,” he told her over the phone. “This is not the ‘Big Fight!’ It’s a phase,” he emphasized. “She’s not hurting anyone. Do not start,” he demanded. Esther gritted her teeth at this memory.
She stared at her granddaughter, her Rebecca. Her Shayna Maidel. Her pretty girl. She stared, and in her head repeated: “it’s only a phase.”
Rebecca’s hair was dyed ink-black, cut short and spiky. All white face makeup. Exaggerated black mascara and eyeliner. Dark purple lips. A short red plaid skirt, legs showing through torn black stockings. Those horrible black Doc Martins. Her tee-shirt was one of her father’s that he got from a concert: T-Rex, faded black, with the sleeves torn off.
“Darling,” Esther said behind a strained smile. “Is that a dog collar around your neck? With spikes?”
Becky nodded her head.
Esther nodded hers.
They sat looking at each other for a bit.
Finally, Esther sighed.
“Bubala, are you hungry?”
Becky smiled, got out of the chair, and said: “Yes, grandma. Here, let me help you.” She moved to Esther’s side, knowing her grandmother. It took a moment, but together they got her standing.
“Oh shit!” they said in unison, and then went to the kitchen for a nosh.
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The above is from another writing group I am a member of. Today’s prompt was the above title: Points For Style. Style can mean many things, and the writers today took the prompt and delivered very different interpretations. Some very thoughtful, some amusing. We wrote for less than an hour and then shared. Hope you enjoy my piece.
I AM RUNNING A FOUR WEEK CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM
Starting on Friday, October 11th, I will be leading a Creative Writing/Storytelling workshop, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Held in New Rochelle, NY (lower Westchester County), the workshop can be reached by car or by the Metro-North Train stop (New Haven line). It is accessible to any of the five bouroughs of NYC, Westchester County, Rockland County, lower Connecticut, and Northern New Jersey.
Primarily created for the newly retired community, the sessions are open to anyone wanting to flex their creative writing muscles.
For full information and to sign up, please click on the following link:
Storytelling 101: An Intro to Creative Writing.
If you know anyone who would benefit, I’d appreciate it if you could pass this on.
Thank you!! Hope to see some of you there.