Sunday, February 2, 2014

Finally my own story.

Well, I took the plunge.  I woke up this morning with a story rattling around in my brain.  It was actually a dream.  Even had the title.  Lease On Life. has a contest going for tne newbie members, but only 2500 words.  All of Bob's short stories were way over that limit.  But it got me thinking.  Allen told me I should start writing my own stories.  I never thought of myself as a writer before.  Never had a story demanding to be written.  But this one there, running through my mind.  I only have 876 words so far, but here it is.  Let me know what you think.  

Damn, I thought in disgust, as I find myself once again behind an ugly, orange desk.  So what birthday card was it this time, I wondered?  And there’s that déjà vu feeling I get whenever I find myself here.  But I never remember being here before until I’m actually here.  The paradox makes my head spin.
Glancing around at what I can see of the vast, empty room, I see the usual stuff.  The pumpkin-colored desk and the black chair I’m fidgeting in.  Sometimes the desk is black and the chair orange.  But always the same color scheme.  Since my first visit here, I always wondered if the décor was based on a holiday theme.  I was born in October.  My youngest sister was a Valentine’s Day baby.  I wonder if her motif is red and white.
But I never have a chance to ask her.  We aren’t meant to remember these yearly excursions.
Okay, let’s see if I can do it this year.  Straining as hard as I can, my back threatening to give out, I push against the arms of the chair, trying to stand up.  Sweat trickling down my face, my arms trembling with exertion, I finally give up and sit back down with a heavy sigh of resignation.  I think I moved two inches.  It’s like the chair is a magnet and my body the steel.  Or more likely the chair is a magnet for water, seeing as how our bodies are mostly water.  Each year I give my best heroic effort.  Each year I fail.  Maybe when I come back here on my sixtieth birthday I will finally quit trying.  Probably be too weak by then anyway.
My first task over with, I start to survey the room.  The room hasn’t changed.  Still looks like I am sitting in a huge fogbank.  I can clearly see several feet around me, than everything past that point becomes blurry, indistinct.  The lighting is a soft, white glare, enough to give you a headache, if you try looking too closely or long.  My eyes squinted against the glare, I try looking for walls or a ceiling.  Nothing.  I have no idea how big the room is, but my impression is that’s its endless.  How many other people are in this same room at the same time?  Must be a lot.  I’m not the only person born on October 16th.
Knowing I can’t be the only person in the room, I concentrate  hard, trying to listen for any noises or sounds.  All I ever hear is a faint hum.  But I’m never sure if that humming is from my ears or the room.  Through dry lips, I blow out a low, short whistle.  The sound floats in the air for a few feet, then stops, as if being absorbed.  I loudly call out, “Echo.  Echo.  Echo.”  I used to feel dumb doing that, but not anymore.  Now I just feel peeved.  Once again the sound travels a few feet, then just stops. 
About now is when I start getting jittery.  I hate not being in control.  Not being able to see in front of me, let alone behind me.  Panic Attack, here I come.  Okay, take some deep calming breaths.  Get that heart rate down.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.  Much better.  I‘m not a newbie at this anymore, I chide myself.  I have been here plenty of years to know that some monster isn’t slowly creeping up behind me to eat my brains.  But what if this year is the exception?  Oh damn.  In.  Out.  In.  Out. 
Quit it, I admonish myself.  You know why you’re here.  Now get to business.
I reluctantly look down at the birthday card that started this who process.  It is resting innocently on top of the ugly desk.  Of course, it’s not really a birthday card.  It just looks that way until you open the envelope.  Now it’s a tri-folded legal-sized piece of paper.   I am not the sort that checks my mail on a regular basis.  In fact, the post office is lucky if I check my mail every three weeks.  But, on my birthday, I am compelled to check my mail.  I have no choice.  Lucky me, I thought sadly. 
What if I were driving when I opened the card?  Would there be an accident?  Would I just disappear?  I have never heard about people disappearing and then reappearing.  So maybe this is a time-warp type of trip.  I could be sitting here for hours, but it might only be a second in my reality.
Biting my lip, with a soft crinkling, I slowly unfold the piece of paper.  Across the top, in 22 pt, black, bold type it reads: Lease on Life for Pamela Jean Forbes.  I have held this lease in my hands since I turned eighteen.  Once I became an adult.  If this is a yearly ordeal, who signed my lease for me before I turned eighteen?  My parents?  Maybe just my mother.  Since she gave me life, that would made sense.  I wonder if she was relieved when she no longer had to vouch for me.

With sweaty palms, I smoothed out the legal paper.  This is my eighth lease.  

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