Work in Progress Part One


It is July 7th and time to post something for the week….

Okay, so she isn’t really that good a friend. In fact, I hadn’t seen her for about five years, when I literally bumped into her in the local bookstore/ music shop. It’s a small town, and some of the stores try to sell a little bit of everything so they can make a go of it. Anyway, I was backing up from the cash register, after paying for my CDs when I hit something, or rather, someone.
“Watch where you’re going,” I snapped, as I stepped back from the girl who was now in front of me.
“Why, it’s Emily Oliver! How are you Emily?”
I studied the girl who stood there. She had dark hair, and a tiny mouth, which was now stretched into a smile as she looked at me. I didn’t have a clue who she was.
“I – I’m sorry but,” I hesitated a moment before I continued to speak, “Do I know you?”
The girl laughed.
“I guess my contacts instead of glasses disguise is working, eh? It’s me, Savannah.”
“Savannah?” I looked closer. “Those contacts make a big difference alright. I would never have recognized you, not in a million years. When did you get them?”
“Right after I started my music degree at college. Couldn’t be a singer with big ol’ owl eyes, now could I?”
“A singer?” This was going from bad to worse. I peered at her from behind the glasses that I wore. I’d thought about getting contacts, but the idea of putting them in my eyes made me squeamish.
“Yes, I’m in a rock band called “Ocean’s Wave”.”
“I’ve seen ads around for that band. I had no idea you were in it. A singer, you say?” I was getting more jealous by the minute. How on earth did this so called friend of mine end up a singer, when that was the one big secret wish and dream I’d had since I was about twelve? Never mind that I hadn’t gone to college. Couldn’t afford to anyway. Never mind that I’d never even looked into it. I resented Savannah, and it’s a good thing I can act or she’d have seen my resentment.
“So can we talk sometime? I’ll call you if you give me your number.” Savannah smiled at me again, and I thought the eyeliner and mascara she had on was a bit heavier than it should be, but I wasn’t going to criticize her. No, I’d take the high road and let on like we could still be friends. Big laugh. Never. Not a chance.
We exchanged phone numbers and Savannah told me she was in the shop to buy some music for the band. And a new CD or two, so the band could increase their repertoire.
I managed to extricate myself from her happiness and got out of the store. I stalked angrily down the street. A singer? How dare Savannah become a singer? Not once had she ever hinted to me, all through high school, that she had any interest in music. Oh, I knew she took piano lessons, and then played a guitar, but a singer? Geez, and all I had to show for the last five years was a miniscule bank account with money I’d saved from working at the truck shop as a shipper, receptionist and accountant. They didn’t even let me do the real accounting. That was handled by Meg, who was a tad over forty and raised Scotch Terriers. She came in part time and did all the end of the month work, while I was allowed to do the preparation and record keeping so it would be all ready for her when she did come in to work.

I got home. I was still living with my parents. Mom had had to retire early when she got sick, and dad was still working at the grocery store. He was assistant manager, and I knew he’d never get the promotion he dreamed of, to become store manager. Old Mr. Frost would never allow it. His bald and fat son Earl was the manager, and dad had nowhere else to rise to in the store. He was stuck, just like I was stuck. But maybe, just maybe, I could get out of my rut, even if dad couldn’t.
My mom called me from the kitchen as I entered the house. “I’m home, yes, mom.”
“Come here Emily. I have a treat for you.”
I entered the kitchen, which was all white, and glowing. Mom was house proud and she loved to clean I think. The house was always spotless. I helped her clean when she wasn’t feeling well because I knew how much it meant to her to have a nice home. Well, except for my room which is another matter entirely. But she left that cleaning up to me.
Mom gestured toward the spotless white counter.
“I baked a cake this morning while you were gone. Want some?”
“Sure, mom.” I knew mom liked to feed me and dad. And she loved to make cakes. This one was beautiful. It was tall and round and the frosting was a light soft pink. She’d put strawberries all around in a fancy way. She’d taken a cake decorating course at Micheal’s and then come home and put her new skills to good use. Something my weight showed. No wonder I was gaining weight. Oh well. I’d have some cake.
We sat down together and mom cut and dished up a generous slice of cake for me. It was heavenly. My life might be in shambles, but I had a mother who could cook and bake.
After I finished my cake I excused myself and went up to my room. I opened the bag from the store and took out the two CDs I’d bought. Funny, I didn’t feel much like listening to them now. Not when I knew that Paula would probably be singing these very songs at some band concert before long. The jealousy came back with a vengeance. How dare she? I slammed the CDs down on my bed and tossed the bag in a corner. I threw myself down on my bed and buried my face in my pillow.
I cried for a few minutes, then I got up and went into my bathroom and scrubbed my face. I rarely wore makeup. Didn’t see the point when I only saw old Jack and his brother Merv at the shop most of the time. Sure, sometimes the shop door would open and a handsome young guy would come inside, but it was to check on a repair job on some truck, and they weren’t there to meet a girl. I was overweight anyway. And I usually needed a haircut. I kept my hair long, but the bangs I wore grew fast and I never seemed to get around to having them cut regularly. Jack and Merv didn’t mind how I looked. So why should I?
After I washed my face, I sat down on my bed and thought a bit about my future. Maybe I couldn’t ever be a singer like Savannah, but what was stopping me from being a success in some other way? I went over to my little white desk, opened the drawer and rummaged through it until I found a notepad and a pen.
I sat down at my desk. I wrote across the top of the page, “What I Can Do” and then another column, “What I Want to Do”.
I thought for a minute, and started writing. Once I was done, and it took a while for me to finish, I had, under “What I Can Do” a list that read, Get a hair cut that suits you, Wear makeup, Lose weight, Find a better paying job, Buy some nice clothes.
Under “What I Want to Do” was listed: Be a success, be rich, get a boyfriend, get a cat.
I sighed. Maybe this was a stupid idea, but suppose I really wanted to be rich? The easiest way to riches would be to rob a bank. I grinned, imagining myself, dressed in black with a face mask, entering the little local bank and robbing it. Now that was crazy. I set that idea aside for a minute.
I could, though, take money from the truck shop. Nobody would know, because I was smart enough to get away with it. I was given charge of the books until Meg showed up at the end of every month. I was certain that I could hide my theft from her, if I tried. But did I dare do all this?
I grinned. Yes, I was going to set something in motion, because I couldn’t bear the thought of Savannah’s success and my failures.

To be continued….

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