November May tosses the two large black garbage bags containing everything she owns into the corner of her new room. In sixteen years this is the largest she’s ever had, and the two storied five bedroom house is the largest she’s ever lived in. She brushes her sticky raven black hair from her forehead, blue streaks tangled and matted. Her face is red from exertion, her large, pale blue eyes strained and twitching from stress and lack of sleep and burn from the thick mascara and eye liner mixed with sweat on skin rubbed raw.
“Well, Novi?” Her mom asks from the doorway, one hand on her skinny hip, a suitcase hanging from the other. “What’s eating you? We got out, didn’t we?”
“Nothing,” she lies. She can see fresh red sores in the crook of her mother’s arm.
“Show Ron the respect he deserves. He found the place.”
“And who does this one belong to?”
“No one. It’s been empty for six months already. What the bank doesn’t know won’t hurt them.”
She frowns, words forced through clinched jaw and crooked teeth. “But I lost everything!”
“We all did. Deal with it.” She’s continues down the hall.
“Crack head,” she whispers after her, her teeth biting the ring in her lower lip.
She dumps everything onto the floor then rips the bags into long strips and stuffs them into the blinds to blot out as much light as possible. She collapses in the corner and takes out her iPod, grateful she had it with her. At least some things of value were salvaged before the police arrived. Her thumb spins in circles until the drums and heavy guitars of Metallica fills her mind. She retrieves a sketchpad from the pile and a pencil and pulls her hood over her head, bringing her knees to her chest. She draws a question mark on the exposed skin poking through her jeans.
“You okay?” a deep voice sounds from the doorway.
She sees his bare torso, work boots and dirty jeans out of the corner of her eye and retreats further into her oversized sweatshirt, looking down to hide her face. She can feel his eyes lingering as they often do.
“Bitch.” He disappears.
She recites a part of her favorite Tennyson poem in her mind – On either side, the river lie, long fields of barely and of rye, that clothe the wold and meet the sky, and through the field that road runs by, to many towered Camelot…
Her hand moves in concert to her thoughts, graphite gliding gently across textured paper. She draws a river and a castle and trees. There is a path and a horse, his features both strong and delicate. There is a knight kneeling next to the river, his hand outstretched, reaching toward a boat nestled among the reeds holding a young woman in an oversized sweatshirt and jeans with holes in knees.
(written for the Stanford Continuing Studies – Certificate in Creative Writing Program)