Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NaNoWriMo, Day 17

I've been terrible about posting here, I know.

Truthfully, I've been pretty bad about writing recently. Today's word count goal is 28,334, and I'm at a measley 23,275. Ouch! Plus, the likelihood of getting any writing done tomorrow is slim and none; I'm on a business trip and tomorrow is insanely busy. I'd hoped to do some catching up today, but I've only managed not to fall too much further behind. Not quite the same thing.

Anyway, the excerpt I'll post today is from Anh's teenage years. I want to visit her during her teen years, when she's in college, and after she's married. So far most of my writing has taken place after her marriage, so I need to go back and fill in some of the blanks (the order of the story can come later, as can the transitions). I won a writing class that's taking place in conjunction with NaNoWriMo, and it was pointed out to me that I needed to fill in Anh's relationship with her parents more fully. This will be one of several scenes that will hopefully accomplish that.


Anh, age 15

“Linh, really. Think about it. Do you not think it’s strange that we’re the only people we know who have to check in with our mommy every day after school?” Her mocking tone told Linh just how sick Anh was of this practice. It had been a rule as long as either of them could remember, but Anh was in high school now, and really? Who in high school had to check in with their parents after school?

“I hadn’t really thought about it, to be honest. It’s just the way it’s always been.”

“OK, I know that, but we were 5 and 8 once too. We’re not little kids anymore. When do we get to grow up? When do we get to not be the freaks in our class?”

“You know, in case you hadn’t noticed, there aren’t a lot of Asians in our part of town. It’s not like I feel like a total freak, but it’s not like I feel like everyone else, either.”

Anh knew exactly what Linh meant. Her friends regularly griped about their blond hair, but Anh would have given anything to have blond hair and blue eyes – the all-American girl look. When she looked at her own long, dark straight hair, yellowish-tan complexion, and almond eyes, she didn’t see classic Asian beauty; she only saw that she didn’t look like the girls around her.

By the time she and Linh walked through the front door, Anh was a bundle of teenage discontent. “Hello, girls!” Mom greeted them with a smile, just as she did every afternoon. “How was your day? What did you learn today?”

Anh managed to keep from rolling her eyes as she went through the afternoon recitation of the day’s events and what she learned in school, but only barely. Linh delightedly launched into a long story of her teacher praising her work in front of the class. Anh tried to drift quietly away, but her mother pinned her there with a look, so she stayed.

“Do you have somewhere you would rather be, daughter?” she asked Anh in Vietnamese. “You seem quite anxious to leave the conversation. Do you not want to hear about your sister’s day?”

“Of course I want to hear about Linh’s day,” Anh replied demurely, trying to keep the sarcastic edge from her voice. Linh shot her a look anyway. Fortunately, Mom didn’t notice. She settled in like a caged rat waiting for release.

Ten minutes later, she politely asked for permission to study with friends. Again, Linh gave her a funny look; Anh had already told her she didn’t have any homework that day. No way would Linh tell on her to Mom, though.

“Sure, Anh. I think that’s a wonderful idea. I want to make sure you keep your grades up this year. I’ve been really proud of you and how you’ve been doing.” Anh felt a little guilty at her ploy to leave the house, even if it was just to hang out with friends, listen to music, and read teen magazines. She wasn’t planning on this speech from Mom. It was like Mom knew. Was it true she had eyes in the back of her head?

Shaking her head slightly to clear her thoughts, Anh put on her best smile and said, “Thanks, Mom. I’ll be home by dinner time.”

Mom returned her smile and patted her on the cheek. “Have fun too, Anh. Enjoy your time with your friends.”

“I will Mom, thanks.” And with unfamiliar emotions swirling (who was that and what did she do with my mom?), Anh walked out the door.

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