A couple things first. I absolutely cannot believe that it's been 8 years since 9/11. That's so crazy. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened. I won't bore you guys with the story though. I remember I used to think, 'How can everyone always remember the exact date that [insert some significant event here] happened?' when I was in history class. But, now, it's so apparent.
Also, as of today, I have 100 days of college left (including weekends). Crazy!
Shall we get down to it? I think so.
I'm sure you remember that it's [Non]Fiction Friday and so, as promised, here is the second half of last week's story:
What's in a Name?
“Hey kid, d’ya wanna get me a refill?”
I walk over to the man sitting at a table for four all by himself. As I fill his cup, I look him over. He is like every other Los Angeles businessman that walks in here: suit, earpiece, newspaper and an obnoxious tone.
When I set his cup down, he flips a quarter off of his thumb and says, “there ya go kid, buy yourself something nice.”
I must have missed the memo that nice things were being sold for a quarter these days.
“It’s not the 1920s anymore, asshole,” I say under my breath as I turn from the table.
I walk back behind the counter and start wiping it off as I glare at the suited man. I bet he has a name like Brock or Mitch or Chad—or one of those other names common among jerks with fast cars and mistresses too young for them.
As I continue to sway back and forth, completely engulfed in the movement of wiping down the counter, I think of how long I’ve been here. It has been a year—not that long to some people. In fact, two girls were in here just yesterday going on and on about how fast the year has gone.
“I can’t believe it’s been a year,” the blonde one said in a tone that sounded more like a whine than disbelief. She looked like a girl I knew in eighth grade named Lesley; sounded a lot like her too. Though, the way she flipped her hair and popped her gum assured me that she was more of a Megan.
“Yeah, I know, it’s gone by so quick,” the brown-haired one said after a pause. She looked like she was given a girls’ name at birth but always went by the shortened, unisex version because she had always been a tomboy and Alexis was just too girly.
I think if I were the brown-haired one I wouldn’t want to be friends with the blonde—she seemed annoying.
It’s funny to think that they came to L.A. around the same time I did—I wonder if their mothers supported them.
Back in Bleecher, I knew so many girls like them: cute and whiney and always with common names or unisex names…or common unisex names. They probably came out here to be “discovered.” They probably sit at random outside cafés, flip their hair, and toss their heads back slowly when they laugh. Every move they make is for some invisible producer that is watching them from afar, or some talent scout sent out with a camera to capture the perfect picture of the next big thing. Every cutesy giggle or playful touch is overdone as if they’re at a photo shoot and someone is telling them to “Make love to the camera.”
I think the year seemed long to me because I spent everyday dwelling on how my mom might be feeling. I’ve used so much energy thinking about her, that in the past year I haven’t done anything to help my writing—the reason I came out here in the first place.
I can only imagine how great the winner’s reception was. When I let myself think about it, I picture tons of round tables with nice nameplates, all kinds of pastries, people in fancy clothes and a nice wooden podium for the winners to stand behind. When I let myself think about it, I smile. I don’t think about it much though, because after the smile comes the feeling of guilt for abandoning my mother.
It depresses me to think that I’m already a one-hit-wonder in this city. I doubt I’ll ever write something worthy of an award ever again. I figure, eventually, I’ll go home to see what’s become of my mother—I think I have to if I ever want to write with a clear mind again.
How ironic that I left to gain freedom, yet I’m more under her control than I ever was.
“Hey, Babe, can I get a slice of pie?”
Ah, here’s another Hollywood executive wanting to stuff his face. I want so badly to tell him not to call me Babe; to tell them all that I’m not Kid, Hun or Sweetie either. I want to stand up and tell them who I am, where I’m going. I want to, but instead I ask, “Cherry or apple?”
He looks like a Darren. He probably has a wife who calls him “Dar”, a son he calls Junior and a dog, named Bruno. I bet he’s not as happy as he seems though—is anyone ever?
I wonder if I came into any one of these customers’ places of employment, what they would think my name was at first glance. Probably something ordinary and unexciting like Ashley or Jessica. I don’t blame them; I look pretty mundane and everyday. There’s nothing that stands out about me. I’m positive the one thing that set me away from my peers was my writing and I don’t have that anymore, so I’m pretty much just like every other empty shell lying on a towel on the sunny California beaches.
Maybe, if I go home, people will have been looking for me. Maybe they’ve been waiting a whole year for me to walk up to my mother’s door. Maybe there’s a great homecoming party planned just for me. It is a big maybe, and I don’t know if I could stand to leave the nothingness of my life in L.A. just to return to even more nothing. I’m sure my mom will be there waiting for me, if she didn’t die when she found out I took off. I’m sure she’s been waiting to see her only child reappear; her face contorted between disbelief, anger and excitement, her heart full of the love and concern of a parent.
It has been such a long time. So long, since I’ve been home, since I’ve felt comfort, since I’ve heard my name.
Could a mother forget her child’s name? God, I hope not.
Welp, there you have it. Hope you enjoyed it at least somewhat. I'll try to write a general update of things this weekend. Until then, lovers and friends.
Title Song: 'Knocks You Down' - Keri Hilson (Feat. Ne-Yo & Kanye West)