violetcheetah: (Default)
[Sam is about 9 months old (unless any parents want to chime in telling me I'm way off-base). Larry is his uncle, Meg's older brother, who lives in the same house while going to grad school.]

Scene behind the cut: )
violetcheetah: (Default)
Note: In the first scene of the novel, we learn that for years, Meg (the mother) and her older brother Larry refer to particularly vivid sunsets as "a Chernobyl sky." From the time he was a preschooler, Sam parrots them, hearing it as "sure noble sky," which makes perfect sense. In the scene below, he's 10.

Scene behind the cut... )
violetcheetah: (Default)
Note: "Grumpa" is Sam's grandfather. Also, this is not a light, fun vignette like the others.

Scene behind the cut... )

violetcheetah: (Default)
I'm thinking Sam's late 3-year-old or early 4-year-old; it's stolen from an afternoon with [livejournal.com profile] introverte and her son from many moons ago.
Longish stuff behind the cut... )



A scene

Jul. 24th, 2011 01:42 am
violetcheetah: (Default)
I've had an unfinished novel in the works for... holy crap, 18 years now.  I didn't know it was a novel when I started; it was just a premise for a short story.  The last time I wrote a scene for it was 2004, but I have been thinking about various vignettes, including this one, probably more than I've thought about any of the other half-finished pieces in my head.  The scene is first-person from a young mother, and features her five-year-old son, Sam, Sam's best friend Janna, and Janna's mother, Ruth.  

-----

I woke up to find Sam standing beside my bed, his bike helmet on his head the chin strap fastened.  "I want to ride on the path today!"

"I'm confused: ride? You have a pony?"

"Mah-om!  Stop being sarcastic. You know what I mean." He gestured to his helmet.

"Actually, it's more facetious than sarcastic, since it's not an opposite."

"Mah-om! Quit stalling and get up!"

As soon as he said it, I knew he was right: I was stalling.  He was so excited, so anticipatory, so unlike his usual worrying self.  I knew he was going to be crushed, possibly literally. He'd only been on the bike path in the booster seat on the back of my bike, so he had no idea how many spandex-clad high-speeders use the path.  For once, he had no dread; all the dread was mine.  I pulled the covers up over my head, faux faux hiding, and I hid the sting of tears by yawning widely.

Ruth and Janna were late getting to the parking lot, which gave Sam more time to get excited and gave me more time to dread.  The peace-offering iced mocha preceded Ruth out of the driver's door, and then she sized me up and said, "Oh, maybe I should've gotten you a decaf.  And a Quaalude."  I tried to smile, but I could feel the rictus.  She squeezed my shoulder, just for a second.  "We'll survive it."

I took a pull on the straw. "I'm just overreacting again."

"Oh no, it'll be a disaster." She carefully poured her own iced coffee into her Sigg bottle, coaxing in the ice a cube at a time with her straw.  "But it's gotta happen sometime, and it'll be over by sunset."

And it was as bad as I feared.  Worse: because we were going so slowly, the bikes flew past us more often and more quickly than when I'd ridden with Sam on the back.  I rode in the back, Ruth in the front. I could see Janna getting less wobbly as she got used to riding, but Sam seemed to get worse.  Not five minutes into the ride he veered a little closer to the middle line than usual, just as a stringy man in yellow blew past me.  Sam never crossed the line, but the yellow man gave a sharp, wordless shout.  Sam nearly clipped Janna and slowly rolled to a stop on the shoulder.

When I dismounted and went to him, I was amazed that he wasn't in tears.  How do you tell your kid you're proud he hasn't had a meltdown?  I just put a hand between his shoulder blades while he gulped in air. I waited for the wail.

"I don't want to do this anymore." His voice was watery but intelligible. "Everyone's mad at me."

"You didn't do anything wrong.  You know that, right?"

"Then why are they all mad at me?"

I hadn't remembered Ruth was with us until she spoke. "Because they're self-absorbed asswipes who've forgotten what it was like to learn to ride a bike."

Sam's eyes widened; Janna proclaimed, "Mom! You owe me another dollar."

"What? I could be talking about a donkey."

"Mah-om: you don't wipe a donkey."

"Well, you do if it's sweaty."

Janna crossed her arms. "You owe Sam a dollar, too. He has tenderer ears than I do."

"Fifty cents."

"Each.  What even is an a-wipe?  That doesn't even make any sense."

"Toilet paper!" Sam gave a cleansing sniffle and looked expectantly at Ruth.  "I mean, that's what you wipe your… bum with, right?"

"Exactly!"

Janna cackled with glee.  "That guy was toilet paper!"  She leaned conspiratorially toward Sam, but failed to lower her voice because she was cracking up.  "And he wasn't wiping pee."

Finally her laughter spread to Sam.  "He was a poop-wipe!" Sam was still straddling his bike, and even with the training wheels, he nearly knocked it over in his mirth.

Janna sang with gusto, "Poop wipe, poop wipe, over the ocean blue."

After thinking for a beat, Sam added, "You're half crazy, covered in Number Two."  By now both kids had dismounted and melted into giggling puddles on the grass.
Ruth took a nonchalant swig from her coffee bottle and moved closer to me.  "Do you think she'll remember I owe her 50 cents?"

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Violet Wilson

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