As some of you may or may not know I want to be an author. However, I always feel hesitant telling people that because so many people say the same thing and never get anywhere. It’s just an ideal dream. But it has become kind of a mission of mine to come through with it. I have a lot of things to say, I guess. Mainly I’m just super quiet and observant. I have things I want the world to know. And I don’t just want to write, but I want to make people think, whether that’s through different lifestyles or viewpoints. My goal is to get people outside of themselves, but also write realistic, relatable characters.
This past semester I had my introduction to creative writing class, where I probably wrote more in a few months than I ever have before. My favorite piece was the one fiction story I was able to write, Remodeled. After over a month of poetry I was pretty relieved to write some fiction. Short stories are a challenge though, because I become way too attached to my characters.
Anyway here’s the beginning of my story! I’ve never shared any fiction on here before so I thought I’d give it a try. Maybe you’ll like it. Maybe you’ll think I’m a terrible writer. I’m always game for feedback, so fire away.
“There’s an elderly woman outside who can’t lift the grocery bags into her car,” I heard my boss say from the supermarket entryway. “Will someone help her out?”
I stared transfixed at the plastic bag turntable in front of me. It was no more than twenty degrees outside and snow was falling thick and fast. Please, for the love of god, don’t pi—
“Adrienne, you don’t look like you’re doing much. Why don’t you go help?”
“Sure,” I replied, mustering the weakest smile possible. “I would just love to help.” Ugh, why do I always have such a crass attitude?
On the plus side, at least I could cover up my atrocious yellow work vest with a coat. Stiffly, I jerked the black cotton over my sore body and pulled a wool hat over my tightly pinned black bun. Yeah, I’m really starting to feel the repercussions of my workout yesterday. It had been the first time in a month I’d forced myself to do something worthwhile, like caring for my body.
Lane, my boss, made me hate my job even more than I already did. He was short and squat, with dark-rimmed glasses he always stared over the top of, probably because he thought that made him more menacing. To him, he was better than all of us lowly minimum wage workers who had to cater to customers in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere. When I walked past him towards the door, he grabbed my arm.
“Hey, watch that attitude. We are here to serve customers. If you won’t do that, you’re always welcome to quit.”
I glanced down at him, thinking of all the things I wanted to say in retort. How I would definitely leave if I could. How his attitude wasn’t that much better than mine. I considered taking out an earring and stabbing his cornea. But instead I just barely nodded, saying monotonously, “Please let go of my arm.”
The biting wind grazed my face as I stepped into the flurry of winter. A small lady stood hunched over her grocery cart, while another younger woman lifted a bag into the trunk of her small, red bug. I approached reluctantly. When the younger woman saw me, she smiled.
“Hey, you don’t have to do that, I was just about to help,” I said weakly, grabbing a bag myself. “I’m the one working here after all, this isn’t your job.” I laughed a little. Why would you waste energy on work you don’t have to do?
“Oh, that’s perfectly all right, you go back inside!” she exclaimed, warmly. “I’m sure you’ve been working hard all day! You deserve a little break.”
I opened my mouth to disagree, but closed it abruptly. Well I mean if she insists, I can’t argue with that. Who would want help from a rude person like me anyway?
With an awkward nod at the old lady, who had been staring and giving me a toothless smile this whole time, I returned to the warm embrace of the store. Luckily, Lane had gone off to attend to other duties, so I returned my coat and stood at my assigned place on the end of a checkout lane.
As another customer entered our lane to purchase groceries, I delicately pried open the bags, so they sat ready for the incoming items. It was nice to be the bagger, because I hardly had to converse with the customers. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out earphones and placed one in each ear. Music processed my inexpressible emotions for me and I liked that. Emotional rock music was my favorite; profound lyrics mashed with electric guitar solos. It brought out emotions I didn’t even know I had. Mostly, it kept me calm when I had to talk to customers, because I’ve never been a people person.
“Have a nice day,” I said, blinking in response to the customer’s smile. More groceries began to pour in from the next customer and I started over. One of my favorite songs drifted through my earphones and I let the words consume me, as I continued my mundane work in autopilot mode. I was so absorbed in the song that it wasn’t until the customer had tapped me on the shoulder that I jerked out of my reverie. The young woman from earlier was back.
“Adrienne… that’s what your nametag says, right?” the young woman asked, while I unplugged my ears and let the unnecessarily loud music flood the vicinity.
“Yeah…” I said, trying not to let my annoyance become too obvious. “…And yours?”
“My name is Brielle,” she said simply. She held out her hand to shake mine.
“Cool name,” I replied with hardly any enthusiasm. Her hand remained facing me and without any other way out, I shook it.
“Thank you, I think so too! But you’ll have to thank my mother for that,” Brielle said, moving a strand of auburn hair behind her ear. “Anyway, I just recently moved here with my family so I thought I would get to know everyone in town! Adrienne… I will remember that for sure. It was lovely to meet you!”
“Yeah… you too,” I said, hesitantly. With another smile, Brielle walked away, her cart squeaking along in front of her. She’s a little too chipper for my taste. I gazed after her, my eyebrows furrowed. I wonder if she’s like that around everyone.