A Tale of a Winters Afternoon—Based on a True Story
I picked up my phone, fiddling with the PETA sticker on the back before turning it over and composing a text message to select family and friends. “I’m here alone all day studying for exams… so if anyone else is bored and wants to call or skype today… it will be very welcome…”
I read back on what I sent . Wow. Way to seem desperate for human attention. I turned back to my computer and opened a new word document, titling it “English 150 Final.” I weakly went through the motions of adding the typical MLA heading and page numbers, then proceeded to begin to type the lyrics of a song stuck in my head, deleting and re writing them once or twice, until my phone buzzed with a new text message. “From Daddy-O,” the screen read. Well, at least my own father cared enough to talk to me, I thought as I clicked “read.”
“Your mother and sister are out at the mall. Adam and Wendy are at his company party. Kelly and I are running errands. Sounds like somebody needs a Jamba Juice.” I frowned at his response, since he had just rattled off everyone I had appealed to.
“Everybody hates me. And getting a jamba juice would make me go outside and walk to campus in the ice and snow. :( Bad day.”
“I don’t hate you.”
“OK. Most people hate me.”
“Why do people hate you, praytell?”
“Because nobody wants to talk to me or play with me. :( ”
“Because I’m all alooooooone!”
I stopped texting and stared at the assignment sheet sitting in front of me. ‘Write two original, double-spaced pages of anything…’ I read the line over and over again. ‘Write two pages on anything? What does that even mean?? ’ I thought, frustrated. I picked up my phone once more and dialed my father’s number.
“Dad, I need your help.”
“What, because you’re all alone?”
“I didn’t call you to whine. I need your help on something. I have to write a paper for my English final on ‘anything,’ and I have no idea what to write about.”
“Well, how am I supposed to know?”
“I don’t know! What would you write about?”
“Write about being a single female at a University and the dating woes you face.”
“I don’t wanna write about that, Dad. Something else.”
“Write about when you slipped on the ice last semester and broke your arm.”
“I dunno… It has to have this whole “distinct purpose and audience” thing.”
We both pondered in silence for a moment, until he spoke up again, posing a new scenario.
“You could… write about writing this paper.”
“Dad, that’s…. uh, wait. That could actually work.”
“I know, right?”
“No, seriously. I think I’m going to do it.”
“Really? Wow. Send me a copy when you finish. I kind of want to read this now.”
“Will do, Father. Will do. Now I must get to work.”
I hung up the phone, pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose, leaned towards my computer screen with newfound motivation, and began to type.