‘Awkward Amy’ (Fiction)

Perfect reading tree (in my opinion!)
Perfect reading tree (in my opinion!)

Amy rolled onto her side, the foam inside her vinyl-covered bean bag chair squeaking as she moved. She flipped another page in her book, anxious to find out if the rumor of Tiffany cheating on Brad was true.

“You should be outside, it’s a beautiful day.”

Amy glanced at her mom standing in her doorway.  “No thanks.  This is a really good book.”

“Go play with your friends.  You sit around the house too much.”

“I don’t want to.”  I don’t have friends, and twelve-year-olds don’t play, she wanted to say.

“You’re not going to spend the whole summer inside.”  She motioned toward the front door.  “Go on.”

Amy contemplated arguing, but could see by her mom’s folded arms that it was no use.  “Fine.  I’ll get my bike.”

With a satisfied nod, her mom turned and retreated toward the kitchen.

As soon as her mom’s footsteps faded, she tucked the book into the front of her khaki shorts and pulled her baggy t-shirt over her hips.  “Be back in a while,” she called as she slipped out the front door.  She rolled her bike out of the side gate and thought a little prayer that she would make it to the park without anyone seeing her.  Several streets away, she spotted four blonde heads and knew her luck had run out.

“Look, ladies; there’s Awkward Amy!”  Savannah White said to her three blonde friends (whose hair happened to be several shades darker.)  “Nice helmet.”  She giggled.  “Oh wait, that’s your hair.”

The other girls giggled with Savannah, as if on cue.

“Whatever,” Amy said, pedaling around the corner.  At least I wasn’t named for a 1980s game show hostess.  Like always, her come-back came to mind a minute too late.  She gathered speed and shot up her favorite hill.  Halfway up, momentum quit and she had to dismount and push her bike.  She headed to the far end of the park and dropped her bike next to a large-trunked oak tree.  Less than a minute later, propped against the tree, she again immersed herself in the pages of Tiffany’s scandal.

Amy had read all but a finger’s-width worth of pages when she raised her eyes from the book.  She couldn’t tell what, but something had penetrated her consciousness, summoning her back to the real world.  In the distance, she saw a girl and a guy, maybe a foot taller, wrestling.  Amy pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and squinted to get better focus.

She remembered the white t-shirt and jean skirt from their earlier encounter. She didn’t recognize the guy.  Her stomach lurched when she glimpsed his face- he had a beard.  Definitely not someone from school. He pulled her toward a car parked on the street; Savannah dragged her feet.

Daily, Amy had wished Savannah would just disappear, but not like that.  She scrambled to her feet and slipped her cell phone from her pocket.  She ran toward them, snapping a couple pictures just in case she couldn’t make it (she read faster than she ran).

“Hey, stop!”  She yelled when she got within earshot.

The man paused, and they both looked at her.

“I have several photos of you and your license plate.”  Amy tried to sound more confident than she felt.  “I already emailed them to my mom,” she lied.  “You’ll never get away with kidnapping.”

“Kidnapping?” They said in unison.

The man released his grip on Savannah and she stumbled to regain her balance.  “Oh, no, this is my older brother.  He’s visiting from college,” she said.

“So why was he dragging you to his car?”

“He threatened to drive us by Seth Robinson’s house.”

“While honking the horn and shouting ‘My sister loves you’,” the guy added.

Seth played all the major sports- baseball, football, basketball, dodge ball- anything with a ball, really.  It made sense that Savannah would crush on him.

“TJ, I’ll just walk home, k?”

“Fine. See’ ya later.”

He practically ran to his car, which made Amy’s embarrassment flare again.  “Sorry,” she muttered.  “I feel stupid now.”

“You are stupid… and a big, nerdy dork!”  Savannah rolled her eyes.

Amy stared at the jagged crack in the sidewalk that ran beneath her feet.  She kind of wished it would widen and swallow her up.

“But it was slammin’ thing to do.”  She crossed the street.  “See you at school!”

She looked up and caught sight of Savannah smiling… a nice smile, not the usual mocking kind.  “Uh, okay.  Bye.”  She raised her hand in a limp wave.

Savannah waved back.

For the first time since Kindergarten, Amy felt hope when she thought of school.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Inspiration:  A few nights ago, my kids went to ride bikes before dinner and stayed out long enough that I finished my dinner before they got back.  While they were gone, the “worst” nagged at the back of my mind.  When they returned, the worry turned to anger. (The crazy mom reaction they can’t understand!)  I also drew from my own experience as a child – the conflict between me wanting to stay inside and read a book and my mom wanting me to go outside and ‘play’.

Life is still being a vampire (sucking the creativity right out of me) but this is the best I could do this week.  I see some light at the end of the tunnel with my workload, so I do hope my drive to write returns soon.  (Never mind that kids’ sports are gearing up and Boy/Cub Scouts is back in session – I won’t let it take up ALL my writing time 🙂 )

Liked the story?  Hated the story?  Feel free to share your reaction in a comment.  I can take it.  Either way, have a terrific Thursday!

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34 thoughts on “‘Awkward Amy’ (Fiction)

  1. nrhatch August 14, 2014 / 5:54 AM

    I liked the story, including the tentative “truce” between the two rather than a complete “about face and embrace” on Savannah’s part.

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 11:29 PM

      So glad it came off ‘real’, Nancy. I don’t know that Savannah would relinquish her ringleader role and give Amy a break that easily.

  2. Debbie August 14, 2014 / 8:23 AM

    Yep, this was a good read. I can identify with Amy’s love of reading! And I, too, liked the turn-around on Savannah’s part, making me wonder whether these two just might become, if not friends, then at least not enemies!

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2014 / 11:30 PM

      From my experience, a truce was just as good. At least there wasn’t active teasing 🙂

  3. suzicate August 14, 2014 / 9:16 AM

    I love that you find inspiration all around you even when you feel like your creativity has been sucked out! I think you did a great job with this story.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2014 / 12:13 AM

      Thanks, Suzicate! I’m glad you stopped by to read the story 🙂

  4. newwhitebear August 14, 2014 / 12:33 PM

    You’re right: that is a reading tree.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2014 / 12:14 AM

      Makes me want to grab a book and go read. Thanks for reading, Newwhitebear 🙂

  5. Widdershins August 14, 2014 / 1:08 PM

    Loved it. A good ‘hopeful’ ending, not an unrealistic ‘HEA’ one! Bravo 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2014 / 12:15 AM

      Thanks, Widdershins! Who knows what she’ll do when they are back at school and Savanna’s friends are with her 🙂

  6. Emilio Pasquale August 14, 2014 / 3:12 PM

    I have to agree with nrhatch and Debbie- and probably the rest of your commenters. The ending is really believable and a nice surprise from what I was expecting!

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2014 / 12:16 AM

      Thanks, Emilio! I wanted to leave the end kind of open. I’m not sure if Savannah will give Amy a break or if she’ll continue to pick at her.

  7. joannesisco August 14, 2014 / 5:10 PM

    I liked it – I too am impressed by what you can push out when your creativity is being sucked dry.
    The part that made me blink is when Amy took out her phone to take pics. The generational divide is huge in so many ways. I don’t think it would occur to me to do that. Hope I never have to find out.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2014 / 12:45 AM

      Thanks, Joanne! Oh, times have changed… back when I was a kid, the idea that a phone could be used to call someone from anywhere was like science fiction… never mind the idea you could take photos with such a phone 🙂

  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 15, 2014 / 1:23 AM

    Somehow.. to me this tell so many stories at the same time.. still being consistent.. about peer pressure, about living in with imagination.. and after all Amy still saved Savannah, so there was a reason to be thankful I guess. And oh.. bring in more butterflies, and drop those bullets… that’s how to get those vampires to leave you.

    • jannatwrites August 17, 2014 / 9:59 AM

      I’m glad you saw many stories in this, Bjorn! That age is full of conflicts and learning.

  9. Lance August 15, 2014 / 6:19 AM

    LIKED! The dialogue is breezy, fun and fits the characters. I could “feel” this. Well done.

    • jannatwrites August 17, 2014 / 10:00 AM

      Thanks, Lance! I’m glad this one was one you could relate to.

  10. Michael August 15, 2014 / 4:46 PM

    But, was Tiffany really cheating on Brad? Don’t leave us in suspense! 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 17, 2014 / 10:01 AM

      Of course she was cheating… with a werewolf 🙂

  11. thepaperbutterfly August 16, 2014 / 7:14 AM

    You captured the essence of my childhood. My father kept forcing us to go out and play, and we just wanted to play video games or read. My mom understood though, so she let us get away with staying inside when my dad wasn’t around. And the bullying that so many kids face 😦 But here it seems like Savannah isn’t as bad when she’s without her friends. This was my favorite line, “Amy stared at the jagged crack in the sidewalk that ran beneath her feet. She kind of wished it would widen and swallow her up.” You really got inside of her head, and I could feel her thinking this. I wrote a story recently, and there was a part about a kid. I used a metaphor that I thought was fitting for a 10 year old boy. Even though I’m in 3rd person, I just felt it shed more light on his character and the situation. This was lovely as always 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 17, 2014 / 10:03 AM

      I could identify with Amy as well. I so much wanted to be invisible, but when you’re such an easy target, being invisible wasn’t an option. I’m glad you stopped by to read the story and enjoyed it, Paperbutterfly!

  12. Tessa August 17, 2014 / 12:53 AM

    My mom was always pushing me out of the house when all I wanted to do was read. I was kind of like Amy. 🙂

  13. Imelda August 17, 2014 / 12:24 PM

    That was brave and noble of Amy to do something when she thought Savannah, a girl who does not like her, was in danger. I am glad Savannah appreciated that. I like this happy and hopeful story. 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 17, 2014 / 4:02 PM

      I like to think that Savannah will be kinder to Amy in the future… just because I like to see mean people see the error of their ways. Thanks for reading, Imelda!

  14. Leigh W. Smith August 18, 2014 / 8:34 AM

    Authentic, positive, and well-told. Although it tackles at least a couple difficult subjects (bullying and potential abduction), the narrative was quite pace-y. Now, if only everyone who was bullied could get the kind of breakthrough Amy got at the end!

    • jannatwrites August 19, 2014 / 4:44 PM

      It would be nice if it always worked out in the end, Leigh. I suspect the kids I went to school with wouldn’t have been deterred.

      • Leigh W. Smith August 21, 2014 / 1:48 PM

        Been there, done that. Still, I’m sorry to hear it for you, Janna.

  15. pattisj August 20, 2014 / 10:48 PM

    I wondered if Amy was a reflection of a younger Janna wanting to read more than anything else. You brought suspense with the thought of kidnapping, and ended with a friend instead of a bully. Well done.

    • jannatwrites August 24, 2014 / 8:39 PM

      Some of it was me, Patti… I do remember being so pleased with myself that I sneaked the book out with me- I rode my bike to the next street, propped myself up against the stop sign and read for a couple hours. She was happy I went to ‘play’ and I was happy I got to read 🙂

  16. Sarah Ann September 1, 2014 / 11:41 AM

    I hope Savannah continues to be appreciative when Amy gets back to school – I was very impressed with Amy’s quick action. Great line about being named after a TV show host, like all those poor kids these named after their parents’ favourite wine. Love Amy’s inner dialogue – 12-year olds don’t play. No, I guess they don’t 🙂 Reading’s far more important.

    • jannatwrites September 1, 2014 / 7:22 PM

      I’d like to think she’d be a little nicer. Kids’ names haven’t gotten a little out there – everyone wants to be different. Hey, I’d rather read than play, but that’s just me 🙂 Good to ‘see’ you today, Sarah Ann!

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