Sunflower Skins

November 17, 2010

Assignment #3: Focal/Vocal Modifications

Filed under: prose — Tags: , , — Sunflower Skins @ 5:13 pm

Crosswalking

Step outside. Evening. Chilly. Zip my coat up some more and walk down the path behind my building. So hungry. Wind blows my hair around, a wild mess. Footsteps on pavement, mine. The shwarma place isn’t too far but I might not make it. Dying of hunger. I walk along and become a famished zombie. Pass by frat houses and parties with giggling girls. Stupid. Much rather’d spend the night listening to records and getting drunk with just my boyfriend. The two of us, alone together. This’s the first time I’m heading out to get our dinner on my own, he usually comes with me. What a sickie, lying on the couch with the Xbox on. Press A and don’t pull the right trigger—X X X!—Don’t miss the mushroom! Watch out! I’m a zombie in Marioland. The Mushroom Kingdom. Crosswalk. Wait for the light to change. Little man lights up. On the main road now, busier, cars rush past. Gotta get home to your wife! Text and drive and talk and talk. Inattentive drivers. I’d rather walk, thanks. Stomp past the bus stop—mangy mutts turn to look at me. Dirties. Wind still blowing but I’m warmed up. Put my hands in my pockets. Stomach rumbles. See a group of Western girls up ahead. I am a zombie, they cannot touch me. I open my mouth and drool, stalking on shaky legs toward them. They stop chattering as they approach me. They are disgusted by the sight of me. Smile to myself. Gotta amuse yourself somehow. Through the tunnel, train tracks overhead. Will I make it through alive? I can see the light at the end! Phew, I did it. Some guy looks at me funny. Pass the tanning salon and the Asian restaurant. I can almost see the shwarma house. So hungry. My zombie stomach is grumbling. Pass Starbucks. Yuppies inside. Not on my life. People at the bus stop, crowded. I push through them, come to the corner. Stop, wait for the light to change. A woman is standing there with her daughter. Little girl won’t stop talking. Man, children bug the hell outta me. The cars begin running parallel to me, but the little man does not light up. The bright orange hand still says stop. Broken. Oh well, cross anyway. The woman grabs her daughter’s hand and begins to cross too.

The little girl says, “Mommy, there isn’t a cross sign. We can’t go!” She’s getting worked up, pulling back on her mother’s hand. “No! We can’t walk! The light’s not green! No, mommy!”

The woman says, “Hush, Amy.”

I walk faster and pass them, but I can still hear the little girl squealing.

*     *     *     *     *

Leave the sitter’s, going home with Mommy. Only a few blocks from our house. I know where that is. We walk down the busy street. Mommy holds my hand. I tell her what I did today.

“Cindy and I made placemats outta leaves. And Johnny liked mine better’n asked if we could trade, but I said no ’cause I made it for YOU!”

“That’s very nice of you to make it for me, but I hope you weren’t rude about trading with Jonathan.”

“I wasn’t rude.” Why would she think that? Wonder if he said something when I wasn’t looking. I’m glad he only comes to Cindy’s on Mondays. I tell mommy about how we collected leaves from the backyard.

“Red’n orange ones, really pretty,” I say.

“I bet. Listen, what do you want for dinner tonight?”

I dunno. I think for a minute. Then: “Psghetti!” Mommy agrees. Yum.

We get to the corner and wait for the light to change. Home is just across the street and then turn at the next left. Number 12. The cars change direction, but the hand is still up. Then Mommy steps forward into the street, even though the little white man isn’t walking!

I say, “Mommy, there isn’t a cross sign. We can’t go!” What is she doing? Doesn’t she realize we could get hit?

Mommy keeps walking, pulling me along into traffic. I yank back on her hand. “No! We can’t walk! The light’s not green! No, mommy!”

Mommy says, “Hush, Amy.”

Omygod, we’re going to die. We’re going to get hit by a car. The hand still says no. We’re gonna die!

“Mommy…”

“Knock it off, Amy.”

My heart is pounding. Thump thump thump! I imagine cars screeching. Crash! Mommy holds my hand even tighter, but she doesn’t have to drag me now. I want to get to the other side as fast as we can. Hurry! I don’t wanna get hit! A girl passes us and makes it across before us. She is ok. She keeps walking, doesn’t look back. We’re almost there… safe! I let out my breath, panting. Phew.

*     *     *     *     *

The restaurant is empty except for the manager. Early twenties. Shirt collar open to reveal a hairy, bronzed chest. I awkwardly order. One chicken shwarma, one lamb. Everything smells so good. Chicken on the spit looks really fresh. The manager smiles at me while making my sandwich. I am a zombie. This guy cannot touch me. Pay, leave. Gotta get home to Thom! I get to the corner. Cars rush past. The light doesn’t change for me. I start walking. I am not dying. I will be home in a few minutes.

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