Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Minutes with a View

Normanday #22: One window, infinite views

Write for three minutes about…

…what you see when you look out the window…

Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day April 8 (put “Norman has a Winning Smile” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.

Here are the entries from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes about…

…a time you were afraid…


When I was young, we played a game called “Man in the Window!” Basically, my older brother or one of my cousins would point to the dark window and said “Man in the window!” and we would yell and run out of the room. This game only took place at night so you can see hazy shadows in the glass of the window. I was fairly young and thought the reflections I saw was actually someone staring in the window and someone, usually my older sister, would have to explain to me that there was no one there. So, one time, we were visiting my cousin at her house, which is backed by acres and acres of woods. So it was very dark behind their house. We had family in from out of town, so lots of cousins were there, plus my brother and sister. I was the youngest there — around 6 years old. I had been playing “Lite Bright” in my cousin’s room and finally decided to join the big kids in the basement. My brother is 4 years older than me and my sister is 8 years older than me and my cousins were around the same age. My aunts and uncles were all upstairs, laughing and sharing stories. It was a loud house. I was in the basement, playing with “Mouse Trap” (my favorite game to play when I am at my cousin's house) when someone pointed and said “Man in the Window!” We all screamed. Someone turned on and off the basement lights for effect. The problem is, I did see someone this time. Not just shadows or reflections. In fact, I saw 2 someones. And I saw the glow of cigarettes. I was terrified and could not be consoled. I ran, screaming and crying, upstairs. No one could tell me there was no one there. They tried to tell me that everyone was accounted for in the house. Maybe it was an aunt and uncle smoking outside, but no one claimed to be out there. Also, I remember that my brother said he saw someone too and they told him to stop scaring me.

For years, we would visit my cousin’s house. I never felt comfortable in their basement after that. I always felt like I was being watched by a presence. They finally moved. But to this very day, I wonder what happened that night. Was it my over-active imagination? Was there someone in the woods who came to see the house full of people? Was it one of my aunts or uncles who took up smoking and didn't want any one to know? All I know, is that the Man in the Window looked real that night, unlike any other night.

Tren Rewy Steb

I don’t know how old I was. I’d like to say I was too young to know any better, but that would be a lie and I’m already a thief. I stole a pack of gum—the kind that comes in thick cubes and is sweet and chewy. You can blow bubbles with it. I told my mom the high school girl across the street had given the gum to me. It was a believable lie. The girl across the street was nice. But she didn’t give me the gum. I stole it from the store. I’m hazy on the details. Was it at the checkout line with my mom standing nearby unloading the grocery cart onto the conveyer belt? Was I nervous at the time, or bold and decisive about the crime I was about to commit? I don’t remember.

I don’t even remember chewing the gum. Did guilt keep me from tearing open the colorful package? Did the wax paper covering the individually wrapped pieces burn my fingertips? Or did I chew a piece, choking on the juice of the ill-gotten gum?

Was it grape?

What I do remember was the overwhelming fear I felt when a local policeman visited my school. Looking back, it must have been some sort of career day. The entire class gathered on the sidewalk along the rainbow drive where we were dropped off and picked up every day. Instead of school buses, the policeman’s patrol car was parked there. While the other kids stood awed by the vehicle and its siren and flashing lights, I focused on the shining handcuffs dangling from the policeman’s belt. I was certain if the policeman saw me, he would know what I had done and take me to jail.

I suppose I must have been relieved when the policeman drove away without me in the caged back seat. I don’t remember. But I’ll never forget the miserable fear of getting caught and being punished. And I still feel guilty for stealing that gum.

It was definitely grape.

It looks like that last writer chose to use a pen name. It’s probably for the best since I’m not sure what the statute of limitations on gum theft is.

Only worms, moles, and prairie dogs are excused from this week’s writing prompt. I know the rest of you have at least one window. Get writing!


Kelly Hashway said...

Great entries. I'm looking forward to the window one. Of course the first scared entry could've fit that one too!

Norman the Half-Invisible Turtle said...

Good point, Kelly. Cranberly, we’ll let you have a pass this week along with the worms and prairie dogs.