Written in 20 minutes
short, short story.
“I’m thinking about writing a book,” she said, her eyes gazing up to lock with her friends.
“What? Why? You want to be a writer? I thought you wanted to be a doctor,” her friend responds, a mild look of surprise on her face. “No, L, not a writer. I just want to write a book, you know. Leave a mark on society.”
“A mark?,” the friend replies as her cast around the diner they are sitting in, “where the hell are you getting this idea?”
“I don’t know. In English class were always talkin’ and highlighting golden lines and stuff. I want a kid ten years from now to read my book and be enlightened by it.”
“Enlightened? Can’t you do that without writing a book?”
“I guess,” she responds, lightly tracing a crack in the glass table where they are sitting, “but, well, I don’t know! I want to make a difference. Make someone’s life change. Have someone wake up one morning and have their life completely different than that of the night before. I want to be the current that changes the course of the waters. The rock that forms a new mountain. Even if only one person reads my book. Even if only one person reads one line and is inspired, L, my job is done. I’ve accomplished something.”
“Well,” L retorts, taking a sip from a half empty Coke-filled glass, “maybe you should just be the president, you could sure change things then.”
“I want to change things L, not get persecuted and shot,” she says, rolling her eyes gently with a smirk on her face. “Besides, I would never look that good in a suit, talking about wars and poverty and stuff. I’d probably fall asleep at the first meeting. “First Woman President Impeached After One Day“, all the headlines would decree. The press would love me then. So, no. I won’t be a politician, too stuffy.
Just, one summer, perhaps in between college and med-school, buy a type writer, reserve a spot in Starbucks and become the next Ray Bradbury. Change the world, L. I want to change the world with my pen.”
Silence engulfs the conversation. She glances off, her eyes darting around the diner that they are sitting in. They haven’t been here in a while. Well, they haven’t been here long enough for things to change. There’s a new sign over on one of the window, “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT!” the neon signs says to passersby.
She sits, lost in her own mind, as her friend silently twirls a lock of hair around her pink painted fingertip. Twirl, one, two, stop, let in unravel. Twirl, one, two, stop. The rhythm is intoxicating, and slowly, her attention is drawn to the brown-died-black strand chocking her friends finger. One, two, twirl. One, two, twirl. Her eyes capture every moment, etching it into her mind, imprisoning these seconds into her memory, for a rainy day, and a secluded keyboard.
“L,” she says, breaking the silence and the persistent process of twirling, “would you read it? The book I mean. Would you read my book?”
“Hmm. I don’t know. Is it’s going to be some cheesy romance novel?”
“No way! How the hell could I change the world if the title ended up being something like, ‘The Lusty Barbarian?’ It’ll be deep, critical thinking. High schools will demand it be put on their reading lists, for honors classes of course. The book will be provocative, Christian mothers will beg for it to be banned. Amish villages will burn the book’s spines. Kids will line up outside stores just to buy it.” she exclaims, her hands a whirl of motion as excitement gleams in her eyes.
“That’s great, really, that is. But, what’s it going to be about?”
“That’s a bit trickier. You see, writers have always said that they have written about things that have affected them. And, well not a lot of things have affected me. Well, there is this one thing, but I don’t think it’ll work.
Maybe, hmm. I’ve got it! People who have inspired us, changed us, taken us on a journey that has rearranged our very being. I know of only person besides Abraham Lincoln who has ever done that to me. So my book will be about a girl named L. Who changed one girl, who then set out to change the world.”
Once, again silence descends upon them, only this time the silence is different, like a great wave crashing against a desolate shore. The finger that had, at one time, tightly gripped a strand of hair, lightly falls to rest on the cracked glass table. The dingy diner that they are sitting in fades into darkness, and it’s only them. Only them, sitting alone in a red foam booth with an empty bottle of ketchup and two glasses of Coke. Only them, and it is at this moment that great revelations occur.
“You think,” L gulps out, “That I changed your life? That I changed something about you?”
“No, L, you didn’t change my life. You changed my soul. You changed who I am. You were there when all the lights in my eyes went out, and stayed close until I had the strength to shine again. You were my pillar L. My confidante. L,” she tenderly whispers, “you saved me.”
“So,” L says, grasping at her friend’s hands, while a single tear escapes from her right eye to roll down a red and blotchy cheek, “This book, will the main character have a love interest?”
They laugh, together, and life goes on.
Critism is love. Because the ending sucks. And, yeah, I know it.