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depressionShe had been sad for so long that she merely assumed it was her personality. Lately, however, it seemed her depression engulfed her entire world. The pain was a raging ocean and she was drowning.

Her career was slowly collapsing around her. She didn’t care any longer whether she scored that beloved corner office. The one with two large windows in the place of dreary white walls.

Her marriage was empty and lifeless. She and her husband did not wear their rings anymore. Even though they live together, it was akin to one living with a ghost. She could feel the presence, but she was completely alone. He didn’t understand her pain. Happiness is a choice, he used to say. He didn’t understand why she simply refused to shake it. At first they fought daily. Eventually, she stopped fighting back. Then, she stopped talking. He stopped too.

She rarely spoke with her friends. At first she just thought everyone was just busy. Eventually, she realized she had nothing to say.

She caught her mother in a web of lies. Her mother couldn’t be trusted. False sympathy. False support. Her mother was still consumed with her own grief.

Her father passed away when she was a child. Her only brother died fighting in an unjust war.

She was keenly aware of her sickness, because she knew there was something inherently wrong waking up every morning in deep pitted misery because she actually woke up.

Nothing to gain. Nothing to lose. Nothing.

These were the thoughts that ran through her mind every moment of every day, for months.

She was a smart girl.
Before her sickness took complete control of her life, she made a killing as a Senior Manager at a prestigious law firm. She had been madly in love with her husband. She enjoyed lounging while eating gelato, reading paranormal fantasies on the beach, and kicking ass at work. Sure, depression had gripped her for as long as she could recall. But, she was only actively sad when humming on idle. In the good days, she was rarely ever idle.

She was still a smart girl.
She knew how people should behave when faced with certain dangerous situations.

That day. That afternoon. In the middle of a scorching heat stroke kind of day in mid-July, she punched Wachovia ATM into her iPhone’s map. Several places popped up, and she found the perfect walk up ATM. She parked her car 8 blocks away, and strutted down the sidewalk in her flashy red heels, her skinny Joe’s Jeans, and her most spectacular Gucci handbag. She tossed her long blond hair over her shoulders and pretended she was intently focused on something in her phone.

She smiled as she felt the the overwhelming presence creep up behind her. She felt a soft nudge in the center of her head.

“Do not turn around. Give me your cellphone.”

She handed it to the angel man behind her.

“Now, give me your purse.”

“No.”

He tried to pull it off her arm, while keeping the cold pressure on her scalp. She attempted to shove him off of her with a wimpy kick back, and smiled.

She. Finally. Smiled. She smiled as her left heel broke. She smiled as he shoved her to the ground. She smiled and held her breath.

She used as much feign force as she could muster and buried her purse into the concrete, underneath her aching body. She smiled because she felt fear, she felt pain. She felt. She smiled and he pulled the trigger.

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On a typical pre-spring Thursday afternoon, a local woman and her husband walked their dog, through their sleepy beach town neighborhood. It’s a common thing to see dogs around these parts. Usually, the dogs are on leashes or playing freely behind the safety of fences.

The woman noticed a small black pit-mix sitting on a dull gray porch. Her dog whimpered and pulled against the leash, and the little dog just stared back.

Nobody was on the porch with the little one, so she called out, “Where’s your mommy? Come here little one. Please let me see the tag on your shiny red collar.”

Still on the porch, the dog cowered and backed away from the couple, closer to the house. The woman, Amanda, thought it was afraid of her own mammoth of a dog. She looked down at her Ridgeback mix. He’s huge, she thought, but harmless.

Amanda smiled, collapsed to her knees and cooed to the pup, “Oh, honey. It’s ok.”

She then turned to her husband, “Will you please walk away from us? I think our dog is scaring this little black beauty.”

Her husband took a few steps back, while keeping an eye on his wife. Amanda continued to call for the pup, who looked at her with interest but kept its distance. This road was too busy for the little unattended, four-legged sweetie.

Suddenly, a young boy in an oversized baby-blue shirt ran toward Amanda’s husband, screaming, “Lucy! Come here! LUCY!”

Amanda’s husband called to the boy, “Is your dog black? Is this your dog?” He pointed toward Amanda and the dog on the porch.

“uh-huh. LU-CCCCC-YYYYYYY!!!!!!” He came to a sudden stop next to Amanda and pointed, “That’s Lucy.”

Lucy took one look at the boy and jumped off the left side of the porch and down the side of the deep red brick house. She cornered herself between the house and the wall of a neighbor’s fence. Trapped.

She cowered and trembled.

The boy advanced on Lucy and looked back at Amanda’s husband, “She belong to my friend. Not me. She run away before and she wouldn’t stay. She done run away agaian and I’m gonna help him get her back.”

The husband looked at Amanda and raised an eyebrow. Amanda took their Ridgeback from him, gripped his collar and removed the leash. “Here”, she said, and threw the leash to him. Her husband gave the leash to the kid and said, “You can’t have it, but you can use it to take Lucy back to your friend.” The kid took the black leash and approached Lucy, who was still cowered in the corner. She trembled and growled as the kid got closer.

The kid mumbled, “she don’t know me, but she’s my Friend’s dog.” He continued to beckon for Lucy.

Lucy continued to growl.

The husband backed away, and looked back at his wife, “There’s no way we will get her. She’s terrified and feels trapped.”

The kid also backed away and started back down the sidewalk again.

Amanda’s husband stopped the kid, “I think the dog lives here. She seems very comfortable with this porch and this yard.”

“Naw, she’s my friend’s dog.” and the kid took off down the street.

Lucy bound out of the corner, blazed past the couple, the porch, and down the other side of the house. Behind the house was a newly installed privacy fence. It seemed to go on forever. Lucy hugged it closely and then disappeared behind it. Amanda asked her husband to walk away with their dog again as she rounded the corner toward Lucy.

Lucy peaked at her from behind the fence. Amanda called the dog. Lucy only stared. Amanda eventually stood up, slumped her shoulders and walked away. As she turned the corner, she noticed Lucy cautiously trailing her.

Amanda looked at her husband as she approached the front lawn of the brick house and smiled as she sat down indian style in the lush green grass. Amanda ignored Lucy as she slowly approached her.

Lucy sniffed everything in a perimeter of the woman. Amanda smiled at Lucy and held out her hand. Lucy suddenly decided she wasn’t afraid anymore and she took off full speed across the grass to one edge of the yard before turning around and running full speed to the opposite end. She watched Amanda and it seemed as though she wanted to play. Amanda laughed as she watched Lucy do this several times. Lucy had tons of energy and had no notion of slowing down.

And. Then.

Amanda noticed Lucy was no girl.

She called out to her husband, “Ryan! Lucy is actually, probably… um… Luke!”, and behind him she noticed the boy was coming toward them again. This time, another boy accompanied him.

The kid nodded at Ryan, “You still got our dawg?” Ryan looked down and said, “Your dog is a male.”

“Nuh. He ain’t. That’s Lucy.”

Ryan stared at the boys and was more than likely contemplating how to explain the difference to one so young.
He said nothing.

Amanda wrung her hands, burrowed her brows and felt determined to keep these kids away from this timid dog. The sun was sinking and the breeze wasn’t making the evening any warmer. Amanda sighed and turned to Ryan, “This dog does not belong to them.” He agreed as she climbed the dull gray concrete steps of the house and rang the door bell. “I can’t leave this puppy out here like this. If we can’t find the owner, we are going to take this little man home with us.”

Ryan nodded at her and she noticed the “We Lost Lucy” kids had disappeared from sight.

The door opened and a woman looked at Amanda expectantly as she tucked her short hair behind her ears with one hand while holding her toddler back with another. She was wearing scrubs and had dark circles under her eyes.

“Is this your dog?” Amanda asks as she points to the small dog that was still busy running from one end of the yard to the other.

“Oh my, YES!”

She gasped and pushed her son back into the house, “Come on, Buddy!” The dog eagerly lept over the steps and launched into the house.

She thanked the couple and said her kids must have left the gate open when they got home from school. They exchanged a few more niceties before saying good-bye.

The couple and their dog walked home laughing at themselves. They should have knocked on the door some time ago. In any event, why were those kids trying to get Buddy, and why in the world was he so afraid of them?

I had to go for a walk in my ‘hood and describe the things I saw. I plan to suck a lot with this whole writing thing… but you know, to become good… you have to suck suck suck.

++++

Today was such an awesome day.  The sun was still bright when I got home from work, so I slipped on my converse sneakers and stepped outside. I saw my neighbors. I waved hello. They were busy cleaning up their yard preparing for warmer weather. They have been retired for many years, and spend their days gardening and golfing. It’s the first I’ve seen them in months. Ah, snow birds. I imagine their winter home is equally charming.

The  warmth radiating from the sun was no match for the sharp almost-spring chill in the air. The only cars I saw sat idle along the side of the road for as far as I could see. People were milling about, smoking cigarettes, talking on phones, taking out trash or talking to their neighbors. I smiled at a weary woman in bright pink scrubs. She was carrying a box of pizza into her house. A rubber band held her mousey brown hair tightly. A slender almost-man with a crew-cut  jogged by. I didn’t wave  because he was looking down at his heart rate monitor and seemed extremely focused in his bubble.

The neighborhood golf course was beginning to look more vibrant with scattered patches of healthy grass. 

It was difficult to hear the kids giggling and screaming as they raced up and down the road on their scooters, thanks to  rush hour in the air highway over our heads.

Weathered privacy fences guard a majority of the old bungalows on this road.
The salty air and coastal sun tend to make everything look so much older than it is. 

The road leads straight to the locals beach, but I was stopped by a bright orange sign that read, “road closed”. Ah, construction.

I turned around and walked home.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

I was extremely vocal about this as a child. However, as I grew older, I became more practical and all the traces of my dreams were kept securely locked away in my heart. This change in my mind produced a successful Accountant and an unfilfilled mind.

When I was young, I made up stories about my barbies and recorded these stories verbally to a tape recorded I had received for christmas.

When I was a teenager, I wrote short stories and submitted them to magazines such as Seventeen. I also shared stories with my teachers, and loved all the feedback I received. I also wrote poetry to relieve teen angst and kept everything in a beautifully illustrated journal. I still have it today, even though the binding is torn to shreds and the cover hangs on with strings.

I started a novel when I was 18. It was a fantasy novel which involved several extremely developed characters. I still have the many binders I used for character mapping, timeline mapping, and world creation. I even drew pictures of the characters so I would have a better visualization of what I wanted to create. It was amazing. I never finished the novel, for some reason. I tried to get back to it about a decade later, and realized my mind was not the same, and I could not hold interest in the project.

I moved on to a different kind of novel all together. Again, I started mapping characters, collecting research materials, and creating timelines. I got stuck during plot development and put the project aside.

Through the years, I have had ideas hand over fist of novels I want to write. I always make note of the ideas in a “writing” folder on my laptop.

This past year, I decided to start taking writing classes. I finished one for beginners. This Wednesday, I am starting another called Descriptive Writing. I am extremely excited about this class, because I believe my downfall in the process is one of the most important things in writing. The Details.

I plan to document the course here, so I can review my progress over time. I have no plans to become published. If it happens, awesome. If it doesn’t, well… I never expected it anyway. All I want to do is express myself creatively. I want to call myself a writer. I want to write.

Meg Tweets