Saturday, December 08, 2007

First Meeting 9


I’d just pulled open the door when a voice behind me said, “Natalie?”

I froze. When I turned, my stomach felt like it had been compressed to the size of a gumball. [Usually when you meet an old flame you feel really fat, so maybe this is a good thing.] “Seth,” I said slowly.

I’d dated Seth for four years in high school and then slept with him, sporadically, in college. He looked exactly the same as the last time I’d seen him, senior year. Where most men my age had started to go soft around the chin, under the eyes and at the belly, Seth looked like he’d been frozen at eighteen; neatly clipped brown hair, striped rugby shirt and all; and just now thawed. [I'd go with dashes rather than semicolons there.] [Actually, I might drop the hair and rugby shirt entirely. The point is that he hasn't gone soft around the eyes, chin and belly. Neat hair and striped shirt are poor evidence. Six-pack abs and chiseled jaw are better specifics, though frozen at 18 may be enough to make the point.]

“I didn’t realize you still lived here,” I said. Which was a lie. Dad had told me bits and snatches of things about him over the years, his real estate job, his marriage, his McMansion on the fringes of town [, how utterly perfect his life had been since he dumped me]. And Seth had sent me an announcement of his wedding–an announcement, not an invitation–which I’d assumed was an attempt to prove to me that he’d moved on. [Or to get you to quit hanging around outside his McMansion.] I’d sent him a desk lamp I’d bought on sale at Wal[-]Mart for twenty bucks.

“It’s great to see you! Wow, what’s it been? Ten years?”

“More than that.”

["Listen, I keep meaning to send you a thank-you note for the desk lamp. One of these days."]

I looked down the street, and wondered how rude it would be of me to say I had to run, when I’d so obviously been about to enter an ice cream shop.

So how’s Stacey?” I said, then inwardly winced. How are you? What’ve you been up to? were what a normal person would’ve said. [Should that be "what a person normally would've said"?]

--Elizabeth Joy Arnold


Notes

Is it the size of her stomach she feels, or the pressure? If the latter it should be: I felt like my stomach was in a corset that could be tightened infinitely. Remind me to use that in the next bad analogy exercise. "Was being" compressed is better than "had been" if you want to show pressure.

9 comments:

Dave F. said...

This is interesting - - complete awkwardness at meeting long forgotten classmates.

McKoala said...

EE was on funny fire when he wrote these comments.

The awkwardness is nice, but I'm hoping something evil has happened to Stacy so Natalie can cringe even more.

pacatrue said...

I liked this as well. One thing to watch is over doing the internal thoughts. Let the reader realize that the Stacy question is a bit pointed, for instance. It's actually the pacing that's most at risk if every external action also has a couple internal ones.

Again, I enjoyed the read.

BuffySquirrel said...

I like the way she freezes in front of the ice-cream parlour :D.

This read well to me, altho' I got a bit distracted wondering what a McMansion is. What is it?

Sarah said...

I like this.

But $20 for a Wal-Mart lamp? Sounds like she got ripped off.

Some of the sentences are a bit awkward for me and slow me down. Especially the one with extra question marks in the middle of the sentence. Probably just me, though.

Dave F. said...

Gray's Anatomy began a trend of "McLabeling" characters or adding "Mc" to other terms:

1. McDreamy: the first of this trend is a nickname given to Derek Shepherd by Cristina Yang
2. McMarried: said by George O'Malley after Meredith Grey finds out that McDreamy is married
3. McSteamy: Mark Sloan is given this nickname by the female interns. Before picking the name, the female interns were thinking about using McSexy and McYummy. This idea may have come from the episode "Into You Like a Train" when a nurse, Tyler, tells Meredith "McSteamy" came looking for her. He was mistaken for McDreamy.
4. McHot: Addison Shepherd is given this nickname by Alex Karev
5. McYeah: George agrees with Alex when he calls Addison McHot
6. McDog: the dog shared by McDreamy and Meredith
7. McLife: according to Meredith, after getting her McDreamy and McDog, Addison now has Meredith's "McLife"
8. McVet: given to veterinarian Finn Dandridge
9. McVomit: something George says he is holding back as female interns discuss other McNicknames
10. McGuilty: Cristina calls Derek this for having sex with Meredith and then asking her what their encounter meant.
11. McBaby: Cristina says this to Meredith while she's getting examined, because of her suspected pregnancy symptoms.
12: McFricking Cone of Silence
13: McDreamy was doing the McNasty with McHottie? That McBastard!

talpianna said...

Main Entry: McMansion
Part of Speech: n
Definition: See starter castle

Main Entry: starter castle
Part of Speech: n
Definition: an excessively large home built on relatively small acreage; also called McMansion

BuffySquirrel said...

Thanks, talpianna.

talpianna said...

I've heard "McMansion" quite a lot, but this is the first time I've seen "starter castle."