Assignment 6 – Home

Write a 200-300 word essay/story beginning describing the moment a character/narrator is departing (home? the country? a party?). What are the sensory details that would be noticed upon this moment of departure?

We lost our home in Sacramento a year after the market crashed, and the housing industry came crumbling down, and somewhere in between my husband lost his job, making my income insufficient to live the American dream. At the time, it was the most difficult of things to go through, and I remember clearly that June day we were instructed by the mortgage company, on our way out, to leave our keys in a planter on the side of the house. I hated the final blow, that the house we once called home was no longer ours.

The night before, we packed a small-sized U-Haul truck with a few of our belongings set aside from the garage sales we held over the course of three previous weekends, selling off major pieces, and then donating the items we couldn’t justify storing in my parent’s garage in San Francisco for an unknown period of time until we figured out life. I woke up that early summer morning to a cool breeze streaming across my face from the opened window by my side of the bed. The chirping ballads from the colorful birds busily fluttering in the backyard, hard at work; I could see vividly, even with my eyes still shut. I lingered in bed for a moment, knowing there was no delaying the inevitable. I stood up, to make my way downstairs, as usual, admiring the sun emerging over the horizon, steadily creeping across the living room, to the open foyer, and moving up the spiral staircase, in its path gracing temporarily a silhouette of an outdoor tree, and its ruffling leaves projected onto the wall alongside the staircase. How I will miss that I thought.

I opened the front door and saw a baby bird, not sure what kind of bird it was, but he had fallen from the nest attached to the corner of the walls to the entryway niche to the house.

I called my husband over, and together tried to get it up into the nest, and although our efforts were with good intend, we were, immediately attacked by five or six birds, trying to protect, what was theirs? I imagined. I was heartbroken, because I knew the baby bird wasn’t going to make it. So I walked over to the front lawn and sat on the grass, just under the magnolia tree, trying somehow to nurse the bird back to life, crying uncontrollably, not for everything we had lost, but for the baby bird that was dying in the palms of my hands.

Assignment Nine – Made Up Story

In 250-500 words, evoke a scene (from memory, or made up) in which the narrator faces a problem.  The problem need not be solved by the end of the scene, but show us how the narrator (you, or a made up 1st-person narrator) reacts to the circumstances.  Action is character!

I transferred the last installment online to the line of credit that my husband and I took out three years ago to pay for our daughter’s wedding–which, according to my husband, went insanely over budget. My fault, he said, a result of misunderstanding our daughter’s expectations, and ‘truly comprehending’ our inability to deliver on our income. He had no idea at the time that there was no misunderstanding on my part.

The wedding reception she dreamt about her whole life I delivered. In the Crown Room at the Fairmont on Nob Hill, with a confirmed guest list of 148, of which 15 were a ‘no-show’, further agitating the man I fell in-love with and married 30-years ago. And although, I still reflect upon that memorable day in a good way, even with all the arguing with my husband, I was glad to be paying off the fifty-two-thousand dollar loan, so we could put all of this behind us.

You see my husband and I, on our last-ditch effort to save our marriage, agreed after the college loan and wedding obligations were paid off, to opt for early retirement, sell our small home and move across the pond, to the English countryside, optimistic that the simpler lifestyle there, would be beneficial to our marriage. I was happy that finally that plan would be taking shape within the year. That is until, the phone rang. My daughter calling to tell me she was leaving her husband, and needed a place to stay until she could get her life back in order. She was hoping we could make ready, her old bedroom. The added news, she would be coming home with a forty-three thousand-dollar debt, and could use a loan in order to sever all ties with that ‘asshole,’ she said she married.

Before I could even consider speaking my mind, she disconnected, abandoning me slumped in a chair, at the kitchen table, staring at a hung photograph of a Cotswold cottage beckoning me. Knowing, while my stomach was in knots, that I had no choice but to step off that cloud, back down to earth, and plan out how to get the room ready in time for my baby to come home, and also…find a way to break the news to that husband of mine.