Another day, another post. And what can I tell you today? I can tell you that what I said on Saturday about my next story post turned out to be a lie, and what I told you Sunday is actually bang on.
I’ve really gotten focused on working on my novel What If It All Means Something, which is where this blog gets its name (and the novel I named after a song). Now, I’m not too sure if this will be a full novel length story when I’m done. Sometimes with writing, it’s all a chance. You may start something wanting to write 100,000 words and end up with 50,000 only. Just the same as you may start wanting to write 100,000 words and end up with 180,000 (true story – and what a LONG story). So I guess will have to wait and see when this is all done what it will actually be.
Because I started writing this novel again and making some great advancements (I’ve actually now doubled what I had before) I decided that I’m going to share some of it with you. I’m just too excited that I’m actually getting back into this project. I stopped working on it last year and thought for sure I was never going to finish, but now I have my hopes up a little more. The future is looking good. And, to my other story I was originally going to post today: sorry, but What If It All Means Something is just a little better than you.
So, here’s my concept for how this is going to go. I’m not going to post chapters at a time…but rather small amounts (1000-2000 words, like a very short story). The reason is that right now I only have 15 pages written, so that’s like 1.5 chapters for me, typically. I need to go a little slow so that I can keep up my writing with my posting. And this will not be a structured posting of once a week. Most likely, I’ll end up posting pieces of this story twice a week, and it will just be random days. Like a surprise.
I think my blog already is like a surprise. You just never know what you’re going to get, and sometimes that’s wonderful. But when’s it me behind the surprises…that could get a little terrifying (not to mention awkward, uncomfortable or even shameful). That being said, I hope you enjoy the surprises and I hope you will enjoy this story.
It takes place in California, and for those of you who live there, know lots about it or are just interested, I just want to get a few questions out of the way to save you from Google searches or sifting through Wikipedia articles. I’ll spare you the questions (since you’re supposed to be asking them anyway) and get right to the answers. Yes, Santa Barbara is a real county in California. No, Gold Beach is not a real town. Yes, I made up the town of Gold Beach for the purposes of this novel because I’ve never been to California so it’s easier to work with something I’ve made up so that no one can tell me I’m wrong. But don’t worry I did a little research about California. You don’t have to worry about me writing in a snowfall on the beach in July. Now, I mention another American city at the beginning of this story, but I’m hoping to God that I don’t have to go through this same list of questions for Washington, DC. Even if you’re outside America (like me), I think it’s pretty common knowledge that I didn’t make up Washington for the purposes of my novel. If you were seriously going to ask that question, I have two words for you: White House.
Well, I think I’ve covered what I wanted to. I was thinking of giving you a little introduction to this story and some background into the characters, plot, setting, etc., but then I realized the first page of my story does just that so I don’t want to waste any one’s time writing down the same crap twice, thus making you read it twice. I figure if you want to read it twice, just re-read the story and save me the trouble of writing that introduction. It’s much easier to just write random crap like I’m writing now then something with any substance. That’s probably why it’s so easy for me ramble.
Damn, I’ve officially just rambled about rambling. So, enough of that. Here is the first part of What If It All Means Something. I hope you enjoy it.
What If It All Means Something – Part 1
I really didn’t think I liked writing, but I started this journal because I was in a bad place and it helped me get through some rough times. But that doesn’t atone for what I did. Reading my journal now, I realize I have to set some things right, not just for myself, but for my family and for Laura. I guess I owe them an explanation, and even more so, an apology. I messed up. A lot. I made some bad choices, and even worse mistakes, which almost ruined my life.
It’s hard to put a ‘starting’ point to all of this because a lot of it has been going on my whole life. It comes down to, then, a matter of what is really relevant to what I need to say. I guess I could start with my parent’s divorce a year and a half ago. She found out he was cheating on her on March 17th, the day before my seventeenth birthday. I’m not trying to get sympathy for myself, I just want to make it clear that the divorce was the reason we moved last summer.
Everything happened so fast. After the divorce, I gave up on Grade Eleven and barely passed the year – I think the teachers felt sorry for me. I didn’t get a summer because my mom decided it would be better if we moved far away from Washington, and from dad. So move we did.
I always wanted to go to California, and so I wasn’t feeling too bad about this move. My mom bought a house in a place called Gold Beach, Santa Barbara. I’d never heard of it before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I guess it’s good that I didn’t get my hopes up, because Gold Beach proved to be the shabbiest town in America.
It was only about forty minutes from the coast, and a beautiful beach, which was a definite plus – but probably the only one. The town itself had just under ten thousand people. I moved from Washington, DC, so it was definitely a drastic change. It also felt very old…there were no modern looking buildings, only one movie theatre – which happened to be over fifty years old with the smallest screens – and not much else for entertainment.
Even before the divorce I was very pessimistic and got into lots of fights with my mom, but in the months that followed our family’s tragedy, things only escalated. By the time we got to Gold Beach, the stresses of the divorce, almost failing school, leaving my friends behind and moving to this dump of a town had all boiled up inside me and I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to not get frustrated with Brett, my twelve year old brother, or Sherry, our nine year old sister, but I did take a lot of it out on mom. It got to the point where I felt like our relationship was beyond repair.
It’s at this point, then, that this story can really begin. My name is Darren and this is my story.
It’s August and we’re only now finished settling in to our little brown house. The weather is still beautiful so I’m hoping I might be able to enjoy my last few days before school starts, seeing as I wasted my summer cleaning our new house and moving all my families’ crap around. You’d think my siblings were invalids – they couldn’t do anything for themselves and it seemed I was always helping them with something and I never got any time to myself.
Mom’s been home even less lately. She’s working so much because she ‘can’t afford the bills’ so she ‘has to work all this overtime’ and will need me ‘to be a good brother and son and take on some extra rolls around the house’. Screw that. My life already sucks, so why should I have to suffer any more for her mistakes.
I haven’t had the chance to make any friends here, so I just know I’m going to end up at school on the first day looking like a frickin’ loser. No one’s going to want to talk to the ‘new kid’. And I’ve only gone to the beach twice all summer, and both times Brett and Sherry came with me. It’s really hard to try and check out all the hot girls when you’ve got these two, innocent children with you. Makes me look like the role model brother. I don’t want to be the role model brother. If they weren’t around, I’d wear my trunks a little lower and try to flirt my way into the sun-bathing glory of some beach goddess.
Obviously that didn’t happen. That’s why I’m stuck at home cleaning up these supper dishes. Why do I have to do all this? Brett’s more than old enough to wash some goddamn dishes. But if I mention this to mom, she just gets mad. I mean, Brett does help a little and he always cleans the table. He also picks up any crap lying about, because if there’s any crap lying about when mom gets home – even if it’s her crap – she’ll get mad and find a way to blame me. I can’t really be mad at the little man, though. He does help, he sticks up for me if mom’s being ridiculous, he’s my bro and we’re buds.
The last couple days have been pretty nice, too. Sherry’s know-it-all personality has been less annoying and mom being gone more means less time we have to be around each other pretending everything’s okay. I’m trying to forget all this crap anyway. What’s really on my mind is school. I’m kind of nervous about it. Back home in Washington, everyone liked me. I had my friends already. But here…I don’t know what to expect. It’s a small school too, only a few hundred students I guess. Will they all have their tight little groups and won’t want to hang with me?
I’m trying not to get worked up about it, but it’s frustrating. I don’t want to have to make new friends…how will I know which guys are cool? I don’t want to end up with some losers for friends. My thoughts explored all these possibilities, and more, as I finished the dishes. By then, Sherry and Brett were watching TV – mom wouldn’t care if they’re up a little later because it’s not a school night – so I went down to my room, which is in the basement.
It’s nice down here. Quiet. My world where no one bothers me. Brett and Sherry sleep across the hall from each other upstairs, by mom’s room. The TV is upstairs, too. The basement? That’s my place. It’s nice to just relax in my room, put on some music and forget about all this other crap going on. But tonight, I changed my usual routine.
Mom used to send me to counselors, thinking it would help me deal with the divorce. The only thing I really remember is one telling me that if I write down my frustrations, it will help me to not get so stressed about them. I never tried it, until tonight, and it’s kind of nice. I feel a little better, even though I didn’t write down too much dirt on mom, or dad for that matter. I did get to sneak in my excitement about school, too.
This anticipation for school made the next two days go by rather quickly. My mind was much too occupied on school to fret over any stresses, and so the days passed without any major incidents with mom – thank God, because sometimes she just annoys the hell out of me. But I don’t think even mom could annoy me this morning.
I actually got out of bed early for a change – though I doubt this will last long. I’m so glad there’s a bathroom in the basement that I can have for myself. The nice part, too, is its right across from my room. Since Brett and Sherry are rarely down here anyways, I don’t have to worry about covering up when I go from my room to the bathroom for a shower. It’s like a little piece of freedom.
I showered quick, making sure I have time to shave and throw a little gel in my hair. After, I stopped for a moment to look at my body in the mirror. I was glad to see my six pack and biceps in fine shape. I guess all that work around the house gave me back the definition I started to lose when I stopped working out (after the divorce).
I hurried through the rest of the morning and ate a quick cereal bar – which is rare for me to eat anything for breakfast. Mom was going to drive the kids to their first day. She offered me a ride, too, but I can just imagine how that conversation in the car would go. No thanks, I’d rather walk anyway.
“Have fun at school, babe.” Even as I tried to sneak out of the house without having to talk to her, somehow I just knew I wouldn’t be able to escape unnoticed.
“Mom,” I sighed, about to argue her calling me ‘babe’.
“I don’t care how old you are,” she interrupted me quickly. That’s my mother – the mind reader. “I’m your mother and that gives me the right to call you ‘babe’ if I want to.”
I could’ve gotten mad, like I usually do, but today was starting off too good and I started laughing instead. “I’d rather have a younger, hotter, non-related woman call me ‘babe’, mom.”
“Maybe you’ll meet one today,” she said with a smile on her face. Since the divorce, it’s been rare to see her smile. It’s nice that she still can. “A nice one, mind. I’ll see you later tonight. Make sure you come home right away. But don’t worry about picking up your sister, Brett’s going to take care of it.”
“Bye, mom,” I said as I started to leave. She stood in the doorway and told me she loved me as I went down the front steps, but I didn’t answer.
If I could’ve seen the smile that faded from her face as I walked away without response, I may have told her I loved her too. But I didn’t get to see that, and it would prove to be a long time before I finally got around to telling her.
I guess that now is as good a time as any to make a note of something. As mom had mentioned that morning, I did end up meeting a girl at school. Her name was Laura. And as I’m sitting here looking back on these days, there’s something I have to make clear. Right now, this story may seem like it’s about me, but I should probably rephrase something I said earlier. This is not my story. This is the story of Laura Ann Wilson, and how she saved my life.
Not The End
Thanks for reading.