This is my entry to Day Eighteen of Writing 101 at The Daily Post.
Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.
The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.
Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.
The afternoon sun slants at an angle on our front stoop. I sit in the shade the garage wall casts on the steps. It is summer and the air is sticky with moisture. My tee-shirt clings to my back as I sweat profusely. The book I was reading lies by my side. Its edges are frayed and the cover is faded. It is a book that my aunt gave me for my birthday. She promised me I would like it. She said she had loved it growing up and I would too. To be honest, I find the language tedious. The story is not bad though. I think of myself like Jo. Odd.
I could go inside but I won’t. This is the not the first time either. My mom has not been herself lately. I hate it when she goes all cold and silent. She is probably napping now or crying in the bathroom. I miss my dad. I roll the pebble I find in my shorts in my hand. I picked it up at the beach last week. It was a fun trip. Mom had been fine then. She even chased me around. I felt a little embarrassed. But it was fun.
I hear a car and look up. It is Mr. Jones. He owns the house that Mrs. Pauley lives in. I like Mrs. Pauley. She gives me cookies every time I go over with groceries that Mom picks up for her. Her house smells a little like her. Old and homey. She keeps her windows drawn. I have been in there so many times that I can see her shuffling to open the door. I have seen pictures of her kids. They all look so grown and handsome. Mrs. Oakley looks different in the pictures. She is smiling and Mr. Oakley always has his arms around her. They must have been in love. I giggle when I think of them younger and in love. I know what people in love do.
I look up and Mr. Jones seems to be yelling at Mrs. Oakley. She looks sad. I hear sirens. Two police cars come to a stop near Mr. Jones car. I feel scared now. I should get mom. I don’t like the way Mr. Jones is pushing her aside to get inside the house.
I run without thinking. My bare feet catches on the raised feet and I fall face first. My glasses crack and I hear the door open. Mom. She would know what to do. I feel faint.