January 19, 2022

Writing Exercise #9

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Something a little different. I used this prompt by my beloved Rowan. Then I made it harder for myself by deciding to connect this piece with another piece. I chose this one (read it first) I told myself to change the story and bring her back but not home. AND I had to use the prompt from the original story as well.

#9

11:43 PM 

48° F 

Seven hours left of the day and it’s only Tuesday.- 

This is, The World. The neon sign cheerily informs me that it is nice out, close to midnight and that allergy medicine is on sale buy one get one half off. Good to know. I’m sitting on a bus bench somewhere, I feel okay, but my feet are bare. I’m wearing the softest dress; it is long enough to cover my feet and feels like being kissed by clouds. I feel expensive until my awareness goes back into my feet. 

I pull my feet up and hear myself mewl, apparently, I don’t like it. I realize I should be worried about being in a mystery bus shelter, close to midnight, somewhere but that feels normal, as it should be no, no I am upset about my feet. 

I need to move. I need to go away from this place but the thought of putting my bare feet back on the ground brings tears to my eyes. When I move, I realize I have a backpack, this is my backpack I just know from the way the weight settled in the small of my back like comfort. I pull it off and look inside. The detritus tells me I like lip gloss but don’t have enough sense to carry extra flip flops. I pull out a little bundle and find three little books wrapped in a scarf, one appears to be a raggedy little chapbook of poems and drawings signed with a string of symbols, the second a little book of jokes and the third one just as the word manual. 

Manual for what? Deeper inside the backpack I find more odds and ends, and another make up bag that has a thing in it. The thing is smallish, roundish, plastic with a little screen and three buttons. “What the fuck are you?” I’m surprised, my voice is slightly raspy, accented maybe? I don’t know. I flip open the manual. 

Hi Ana, if you’re reading this you fucked up. Well technically I fucked up. I’m sorry, I thought I could get us home and it looks like I failed. You are Ana, Professori Ana Pasquale. Say it out loud, let your tongue remember. 

I do what the manual says, in this moment I am grateful for the cover of night in an urban somewhere. A place where a barefoot woman in a bus shelter rummaging in a bag and muttering garners little attention. Ana Pasquale, I am Ana J. Pasquale. Professori. Yes. That tastes right. This situation seems, usual. 

In the manual I find the page titled re-entry,  

The thing, the little plastic doohickey is called an alpha-numeric pager. In the manual I say to turn it on and press the buttons until it lights up. The screen flickers a weird deep green then a message pops up with an address. I get it. I know this is me. I put my feet back on the ground and flex my toes, digging into the filth.  

There is money in the make-up bag, I put on some lip-gloss and run my hand over my hair. The backpack is nice, soft well-worn leather. When I stand and look down at myself, I can’t see my toes, my soft whisper of a dress swirls around me the way only a finely made garment can, it works. The sign above flashes,  

11:59 PM 

44° F 

I find my smile, I feel my back straighten, I am Professori Ana Pasquale, I am not gone. I am not the Shadow. Only The World knows me now and there’s seven hours left in the day and it’s only Tuesday.  

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