Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Writer's Toolbox Day 4

The Writer's Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the 'Write' Side of Your BrainHere's is another writing from ancient history (February 2009) that I wrote using The Writer's Toolbox. It was my fourth day playing with it and I think I got carried away. I don't remember which game I used here, but I can't imagine that I obeyed the time restrictions given the length of this piece! I'm posting it here to submit to the Write on Edge Weekend Link-up. I hope you enjoy it.

February 18, 2009

There she was, Amy Gerstein, over by the pool, kissing my father. I couldn't believe my eyes, my mom had told me the story a thousand times in the last month, but to see it, with my own eyes projected on our living room wall in that authentic-looking 8mm film was more than I could handle. Ms. Gerstein was my teacher, how could she have dated my father?! My mother laughed at my bewildered expression, while my father just grew impatient, "Danielle, is this really necessary? She has to see Amy on Monday!" Eww! Why did he have to call her Amy? If he wanted to be casual he could call her Ms. G, but that's as far as it goes!

My mother just laughed, turned off the projector and sashed out of the room with a grin from ear to ear. She planted a kiss on my father's head on her way to the kitchen. He grimaced and turned to me, "Honey, pay no attention to your mother, she is terribly amused that Amy, I mean Ms. Gerstein, is your new teacher," he rolled her eyes, "It was so long ago, but she was the last girlfriend I had before your mother, so your mom always feels the need to remind the world that I chose her."

"And," Mom called from the kitchen, " I need your daughter to know that her teacher may still have a crush on her father!"

"Eww! WHAT?!" I couldn't believe what my mother was saying, here are the things I know:
1. Teachers do not have first names (unless they teach nursery school, Pre-K or Kindergarten in a very liberal school)
2. Teachers have no lives outside of school, checking my homework, and maybe, sometimes they will use a phone or e-mail to contact parents of their students.
3. Teachers were never young once - they never dated or did normal things - they are either married or painfully, eternally single; how they get to either of these lifestyles is not for any student to understand.
4. Teachers don't have crushes.

My mother was working very hard this weekend to breakdown all of my rules, but I refused to believe that Ms. Gerstein had a crush on MY father!

"Jesus, Danni! Enough! It is only October, she has to be in her class all year, don't start anything," my father was laughing when he said this, so it became obvious to me that I was the only one taking this seriously at all.

I got up to go to my room, they were both getting way too giddy for me, "Call me when dinner is ready." My dad was in the kitchen tickling my mom - this was going to be a long year.

I missed most of what went on in class on Monday, I was too busy daydreaming about the adults in my life. When I got to class on Monday I could not get the projected image of the young Ms. Gerstein out of my mind. Her skinny little body, with long black hair tied up in a ponytail kissing the young image of my father. She was in a little red bikini, although the color was faded on my living room wall from the film's age and projection surface. My father had spiky hair and yellow swim trunks, he was missing his glasses, his salt and pepper dad hair and, most notably, my mother! Who were these adults in my life? Really? Did the Amy Gerstein of the past, that 8mm ghost, imagine that she would someday be a single teacher having to deal with ex-boyfriends at PTA meetings? I am guessing: no. She probably had plans, big plans, some that may have even involved my father... what happened to those plans? Where do big plans go when they are unfulfilled? Which then led me to thinking about something else quite profound... who am I going to be? What are my big plans? Should I even bother to make any? Am I to be the Amy Gerstein of tomorrow? Or will I be more like my mother?

I was snapped from my stream of consciousness by the recess bell. I had zoned out for nearly the entire school day. A quick glance at my day's notes would tell the tale: a few sentences here and there and then random doodles of girls in bikinis, boys in swim trunks and lots of question marks. I went home happy that I hadn't been caught unaware during class, and slightly annoyed at my mother for starting all of this nonsense in the first place. I decided on the walk home that I was not going to think about it anymore. I would go back to my normal routine: naïvety. I would call Becky when I got home to find out what the heck went on in school today, get my assignments and go back to normal. My parents already seemed to do so, nothing had been mentioned about the illicit affairs of my father or teacher since the night of the film's premier, so this should be easy, as long as I allowed it to be.

If only Ms. Gerstein could have been in my head on the walk home Monday afternoon to hear my resolution. On Tuesday she asked me the most peculiar question. "So, Vicki, how's your dad's car doing?"

I blanched. I was on my way to the cafeteria, looking for Becky, "W-w-what do you mean?"

"I saw him at Ray's on Sunday. I figured something was up. Is everything okay?"

I needed to get out of this conversation quickly, "I guess so, he had it today," I spotted Becky, finally, "Hey Beck! Got to go, Ms. Gerstein," I practically ran to the unsuspecting Becky Miller, my best friend for as long as I could remember.

"Vick, you okay? What happened with Ms. G? You looked completely freaked out! You did the homework, right?"

"Yea, yea, no it's nothing, I guess. I just didn't see her coming," in more ways than one - I wanted to talk to Becky about it, but we weren't alone, and I wasn't sure if I was overreacting. I needed some time to mull it all over. I was happy we had a big group at lunch, I could be relatively quiet without being noticed. Becky and friends were enraptured in a discussion about the upcoming holiday ball that was announced this morning during announcements. It is a pretty big deal at our school, so the cafeteria was all a-buzz with dance chatter, in fact, Ms. Gerstein had a hard time reigning in our class after lunch due to the overwhelming excitement. By about 2pm, she gave in and chimed in with her own dance duties, "Alright, alright... Class. Since you can't stop talking about it anyway, let's get through with all of the formalities now. I was going to wait until just before recess, but I can see you are hopeless."

A series of cheers erupted in class, some from legitimate joy about dance discussions, and some from joy of class distraction. I often wonder if teachers can decipher between the two. Either way, my class did not give Ms. Gerstein enough time to decide, they hushed quickly to hear the news.

"First of all, Principal Lindt asked that we help decide on a theme by next week, some of the ideas were: Holiday Earth: A Global Celebration or Dancing for a Cause." Ms. G circulated around the room handing out a sheet of paper with both themes and brief descriptions below, of course Principal Lindt also had a brief list of Causes he wanted us to select from. The chatter erupted again, I was sure Ms. G had lost the class for good this time when she declared in her best teacher-voice, "Ladies and Gentlemen, that is not all," she paused for effect, and it worked, "Principal Lindt also informed the faculty that there will be no dance if there are not enough chaperones, so it is time to enlist your parents' help!" for a moment I thought Ms. G had glanced right at me. She came around the room again with a parent volunteer form, when she got to me, she stopped, still gripping my form as I tried to take it from her, and addressed the class, "Class, this is not just a ladies' affair, remember your dads like dances, too." She looked down at me, winked and released the form. I could hear or see no more. All I know is that by the end of class there were two more forms on my desk and the class chatter had become a near-roar. I also knew that I needed to talk to Becky because I was not overreacting.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliantly told story. Really gets into the child's mindframe. I am desperate now to know how it turns out!