About a month ago, I started itching to write something- something big, something challenging, and something that I’d never done before. I wanted to write a novel.
I started brainstorming ideas, getting more and more frustrated each day as I failed to come up with a topic, plot, or even characters I wanted to write about. I knew I needed to write about something I could relate to- namely, being a teenager- but that was as far as I’d gotten.
Then, about a week ago, I had an idea. Maybe not the most profound idea, or the most beautiful, or the most realistic. But the words have poured out of me since, now up to 10,000 and counting, and I’m hooked. Writing is my fuel, not my job, and I love it with a passion.
I’m going to give you a little teaser, and I’m curious what you all think. I don’t know how many of you out there are writers, but if any of you are, tips and advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Let me know what you think!
Three hours after lunch, I stand next to the statue in jeans and a red plaid flannel over my white undershirt. Cassidy will walk through the doors any minute. I reach into my pocket and fish out a pack of gum, removing two pieces and folding them into my mouth. The mint hits my tongue hard and I salivate, chewing aggressively to cut the sting. I can barely stand to brush my teeth in the morning, I am so against mint. I chew the gum because Cassidy likes the taste, and for her I would chew it all day long.
She emerges from the building in a maroon sleeved dress with a lacy neckline and her black boots. Her hair is braided down her head, the end hanging over her left shoulder. Her lips match her dress perfectly, and a gold necklace hangs around her neck elegantly.
“You look beautiful,” I croon, and she thanks me. We walk to the car and she settles softly into the passenger seat, arranging her dress beneath her. We are off.
I take her to the ice cream shop near the pier like promised. The shop is on the end of a strip mall with a red and white awning and a picture of a blue cartoon cow painted on the window. The shop is small and cozy, with red fifties-style booths and a jukebox collecting dust in the corner. Big mason jars of rainbow sprinkles, cookie crumbs, chocolate shavings, M&Ms, and toffee bits sit on top of the glass counter. The wall behind the ice cream coolers is covered in a long chalkboard, listing the prices of milkshakes and sundaes and various frozen dairy creations.
“What can I get for you two?” a girl emerges from the back room and opens the ice cream freezer. She is young, in her early twenties, with dark, frizzy brown hair and dark eyes. She pulls an ice cream scooper from a bucket of warm water and shakes it dry.
“Chocolate with rainbow sprinkles, please,” Cassidy decides after scanning her options through the glass container.
“I’ll just have vanilla, no toppings,” I add as the girl hands Cassidy her cone.
I pay and we head out to walk the beach. She takes off her boots and socks and leaves them on the sidewalk and we head south towards the dunes. The sun is still high above us, offering little in the way of warmth. A breeze blows in from over the lake, fresh and cool. Dune grass covers the dry sand, the thin blades rustling together at every gust. Cassidy walks ahead of me towards the shore line, her feet and ankles sinking into the sand. I run to catch up with her, picking up my feet awkwardly to avoid falling in the sand, and I wrap my arm around her back, both of us happily licking our ice cream cones.
“I’m sorry I’ve been so stressed out lately,” she begins, looking at the sand. “School’s been overwhelming and my parents want me to start and internship and all this stuff, and this is my first break since school started.”
“Don’t apologize, Cass. I understand. You have a lot going on, and I just like spending time with you when you’re free.”
“Thank you Henry. You’re the best, you really are,” the soles of our feet are submerged in gentle, frigid waves now. The breeze picks up and Cassidy shivers. I take off my flannel and wrap it around her, helping her put her arms through the holes. I am only in my white t-shirt now, but I don’t care. She cuddles up inside of it and stops suddenly, her ice cream nearly gone.
“I feel much better now. I’ve been kind of sad lately. Not depressed or anything, but it’s been hard to get through the day. But now I’m alright.”
“I’m glad. I want you to be okay, and I want you to tell me when you aren’t, alright? You know I’m always here for you,” she looks out to the lake, her eyes focused on a point far off on the horizon.
“I know. It means so much to me,” she pauses and smiles, lighting up again. I realize how much I’ve missed her in the last month. I pull her towards me and kiss her hard, my lips closing around her bottom one. She kisses back passionately and wraps her arms around my neck. We kiss several times, gentler and slower with each until my lips barely brush hers and she pulls away and laughs. “Anyway, I don’t want to be a buzzkill today. Today is our day of happiness together, and the rest of the world can go screw themselves.”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you, my parents will be gone tonight. We’ve got the house to ourselves,” and I’m smiling too as we turn back towards the car, our feet caked in dry sand as we head up the beach.
There you have it. Thanks for reading, all of you. It means the world to me.