Still feeling ill, so for today’s post, I present to you the product of a writing exercise from my high school creative writing class. Enjoy!
Writing Exercise: Constellations
Maybe it’s because I grew up an only child and spent the majority of my days in silence, with only the company of my imagination, but there are moments in life where I just don’t want to talk, and that night was one of them. It was like a scene out of an indie film: we were parked within the limits of the local playground, lying back on the hood of my car, staring at the stars and listening to the music flowing from my car speakers. It was after hours, and verily so; if the cops found us here, they’d probably flash their lights at us, ask us for IDs and then sternly ask us if we’d read the rickety wooden sign at the mouth of the lot. Even with all of this in mind, we’d come here anyway, because, well, fuck it.
That night was one I felt needed no dialogue, but he didn’t seem to agree.
“Do you see that over there? Those stars? That’s Orion’s belt. And that over there…”
I looked the first few times that he pointed out constellations, but after a while, I ceased. I’d never been able to discern constellations, and somehow I doubt I ever will. He didn’t seem to notice that I wasn’t looking; my affirmative “Mmm-hmms” seemed to be just fine for him. Eventually, I slipped my hand into his, hoping he would quiet down and just drink in the moment with me.
They say people fill in long silences with any meaningless gibber just to stave off the awkwardness, and it makes me wonder if that’s how he felt, and why.
I closed my eyes and began to listen to the soft melody that had begun playing from the car speakers. For a few moments, that was all that I could hear: the music, the soft night breeze, and the distant traffic passing by across the lake. And it was wonderful.
“What song is this?”
His voice jarred me from my thoughts. “‘Asleep’ by The Smiths,” I replied, my eyes still shut.
“I like it,” he said. “Where do you find this music?”
“You’ve never read The Perks of Being a Wallflower?” I asked. “It’s in the glove compartment. Playlist is on page 62.”
“You got this playlist out of a novel?”
“Mmm.” I opened my eyes. “Go get it,” I said. “Tear out page 62.”
“Tear it out…?”
“Yeah, take it. So you can have the songs too.”
He rolled off the hood of the car, ducked into the passenger seat, and came out a minute later with page 62 in his hand. He folded it up and stuck in his wallet before leaning over and kissing me on the forehead.
“Thanks, Jo. I won’t ever lose it.”
Two weeks later, he broke up with me. I didn’t really listen to his reasons why. Something about how he felt we were disconnected, how I wasn’t all there, and how he loved me with all his heart but maybe it wasn’t meant to go on. I didn’t say anything, and I didn’t cry. I just stared into my coffee, wondering how they managed to make that cool feather design on my latte and if it was hard to do. Maybe I would do that next, coffee art. It would be fun to learn.
Then I realized this was probably why he didn’t know what to do with me anymore. Everything was an internal dialogue for me, especially during those times when emotions ran the highest. It was a phenomenon I couldn’t explain, and one he couldn’t live with anymore. On the outside, I just didn’t do much. I didn’t do anything at all.
He still has page 62 of my book, which is great and dandy, but now I’m left with a copy of my favorite book that’s missing a page. He won’t miss the other two-hundred-odd pages that surrounded the one; he has all he needs from it. On the other hand, here I am, with a book that is very nearly still the same but now screeches to a confusing halt where that page once was. And I suppose that’s how life is too; people come into your life, taking a bit of what is yours and then leaving without it, while you’re left behind still mostly yourself but with little holes in your fabric that, even after repair, are still forever visible. And I suppose also that I can just toss out this copy of the book and buy a new one, but even then I’ll always remember that this wasn’t the original, and that the original is missing that one goddamned page that I’ll never get back which, even if I did, would never look or feel or fit the same way again.