Short Story Sunday 179: The Writing Portfolio

It was the second day of school for my cousins. One was in her sophomore year of high school and the other had just begun eighth grade. Neither were happy to be going back to school, but when they came home on that first day, they were all smiles. I think they were glad to be back into some sort of routine and it was nice to see all their friends again.

So on that second day, it occured me that we were indeed back into the swing of things. And when I say that, I mean homework.

The three of us were the only ones home and we sat in the living room talking. I asked how their days went. The older of the two said her day was fine, the younger described every minute of her day without missing one detail.

Then I asked about their homework. Being in upper middle school and high school, I assumed they had homework. Even if it was the second day of school.

They both nodded, the older explaining she had no idea what she had to do.

I took out her planner and read out loud what she wrote.

“English,” I said, “bring in writing portfolio.”

“Yeah, what’s that?” she asked.

I blinked at her. How did she not know what a writing portfolio was? Still, I explained it to her that it was like having samples of your writing. It was a folder of her previous work, I assumed essays she had written from her English class last year.

“I don’t have that.” she shrugged.

I didn’t know whether to agree or not. I was sure she had copies saved on the computer, but her teacher didn’t really expect the kids to keep an actual hard copy portfolio from the previous year?

“Well, what did your teacher say?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know…?”

“She might have explained it, but I don’t remember… Or maybe I wasn’t paying attention.”

This didn’t surprise me. I sighed and said, “Well, I guess you can just ask your teacher tomorrow.”

“But it was due today.”

I stared at her. I glanced at my other cousin, who sat in the armchair beside me. She was smirking, clearly enjoying that her sister was going to get a bad grade on the second day of school.

“Wait, it was due today, but you didn’t think to worry about this last night?” I asked.

“Well,” she continued, “my teacher must have said something about it yesterday and I just wasn’t paying attention. I only know about it now because kids were handing in thick folders with papers inside to her today.”

I sighed. “Okay then you’re just going to have to reprint everything you wrote last year and put it all together.”

“I don’t have that.”

“You have your laptop.”

“But I didn’t save anything.”

I cringed at this. How do you not save your homework? How can you write pages upon pages of essays and not bother to save any of it or at least print out an extra copy?

“I mean, the more stuff I save onto the computer the slower the computer will be.” she explained with a smile. A proud smile as though she had thought outside the box and solved the “slow computer” problem. The answer has clearly been right in front of us the whole time… So, stop saving your work onto the computer, everyone!

I had no idea what to say to her.

“Then go to your English teacher from last year and ask him if he has any copies.” I said. I knew that was a long shot, but it was the only thing I could think of to say.

“He already gave it to me.” she replied.

“Then what are we even talking about here…?”

“I think that’s how the other kids had their folders. Our teachers last year gave them to us at the end of the year.”

“Then where’s yours?”

“I asked Daddy to make a fire at the beginning of the summer and I burned all my schoolwork.”

At this, my other cousin burst out laughing. I was completely dumbfounded.

Thankfully, my mom walked through the front door. I stood up and said, “Tag. You’re it.”

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Short Story Sunday 162: We’re Getting A Kitty [Dear Diary]

Short Story Sunday: "We're Getting a Kitty" [Dear Diary story] | Flash Non-Fiction

            Hunter was our ragdoll cat who chose us when a house on the other side of my neighborhood released all their cats to the wild after getting a puppy. I was 12-years-old at the time, my aunt had just unexpectedly passed away two days after my birthday, and two weeks after that we ended up putting our dog, a 13-years-old English Springer Spaniel, to sleep.

I found Hunter in my yard a few weeks prior. Not bothering with the whole “stray animal caution” thing, I walked right up to him and pet him, picked him up, and played with him. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he seemed to love the attention.

We played together every day in my yard around the same time. He grew more comfortable with me and even came into the house a couple of times. I brought him in one night during a thunderstorm because I didn’t want him out there alone. He left the following morning, but we continued to feed him and he would visit us every day.

On the day we said goodbye to our dog, Casey, Hunter arrived and watched as my parents loaded Casey into the car. They pulled out of the driveway while my sisters and I, in tears, went back into the house. Hunter followed us inside and he never left after that.

We were all devastated as age and illness took over Hunter’s body and we had to put him down in November 2015.

I didn’t want to replace Hunter and I didn’t want to get another cat too soon after Hunter passed away. I also didn’t want to make Chip, our current little Chihuahua mix, jealous. Yet, I did miss having a cat around and wanted to get another one.

In August 2016, we finally adopted one from a shelter.

We were worried that Chip would be angry if we brought a cat home, but we hoped for the best. Hunter was living with us for a couple of years because Chip was brought to us at the tender age of three months old. Chip grew up with a cat as an older brother and learned a lot from him. Seriously, I sometimes think she’s a cat herself.

So yes, we were worried Chip would be jealous, angry, or even a little bit sad upon us bringing home a cat. Chip was always the baby of the family.

We wanted an older cat because they need love too, but also because we wanted one to be mostly house broken. Then again, we wanted a cat on the younger side because we didn’t want it to be territorial and believe it was in charge of Chip.

There weren’t too many cats at the shelter when we got there, but there was a ten-month-old gray tabby. He was curled up in a ball in the back corner of his cage. When we opened the door to let him sniff us and pet him, he completely snubbed us. He turned his back and laid back down as though he didn’t see us. It took some coaxing with toys, but he finally allowed us to pet him and even pick him up for a moment.

We ended up getting him. His name was Wayne, but we changed it to Chase. Of course, when I chose that name I didn’t think it would ring so true with his personality.

A few days before going to the shelter, we kept asking Chip, “Do you want a kitty? We’re getting a kitty! Kitty’s coming!”

We called Hunter “Kitty” a lot and Chip knew the word better than “come.” We thought that maybe if we gave her the idea that a new cat was coming into the family, she wouldn’t be so surprised when we brought the cat home.

We were shocked when we brought Chase home. He immediately put him into the bathroom so not to overwhelm him with the whole house and the dog right away. Chip could smell him and definitely knew there was a “kitty” around and she was extremely excited.

We were all relieved to see how excited Chip was that we had a cat. She kept trying to poke her head under the bathroom door and kept crying wanting to see him.

The workers at the shelter told us to introduce Chase and Chip slowly to each other. They suggested keeping Chip on her leash and being in a small room, such as the bathroom, to let them sniff each other and get to know one another.

Of course, we didn’t end up doing that.

We had enough confidence that Chip would be fine with the way she was reacting. Chase was shy (at first), but we kept him in the bathroom so he could get used to his surroundings and smells. We gave him Chip’s blanket and we gave Chip Chase’s blanket from the shelter so they could sniff each other before meeting.

After a little bit, we finally gave into Chip’s wishes and allowed her to see Chase for the first time.

My heart broke a little when Chip first saw Chase. She loved him, nothing bad happened, but she was definitely confused.

To us, there are many “kitties” in the world. There are many kinds of cats. Chip has only seen and known one cat in her entire life, Hunter. So every time we said “kitty,” who would she think of?

When we opened the bathroom door and let her in, Chip darted in excitedly. She stopped short and peered at Chase, who was sitting in the bathtub, with her ears flat and her head cocked to the side, one thing was clear.

She was obviously thinking, “You’re not Hunter!”

After nine months of not having Hunter around, and I have no idea if Chip had any idea of what happened to him. For all she knew, he was on vacation somewhere. When we told her we were getting a kitty, she must have assumed we were bringing Hunter home.

Chip got over the initial shock and it took them a little while to get used to each other. Chase was extremely shy and is a bit of a scaredy-cat and Chip just doesn’t want him coming near her bones (which he enjoys playing with because I think he knows it bothers her).

We were very lucky to find a cat like Chase and we’re blessed to have a wonderful dog like Chip. They’re both brats, but I love them to death and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans they’ll get into together.

Words: 1,100

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Short Story Sunday 153: Welcome Baby (Dear Diary)

sss-153

            Lisa wasn’t due to have her baby until March 7, 2016. It was a leap year and she prayed and prayed that the baby would stay in her belly until after February 29. She wanted her son to have a birthday every year as opposed to every four years.

So, around 12:45 in the morning on March 1, the telephone rang. I didn’t have a phone in my bedroom, but I could hear it ringing from my office across the hall. I laid in bed with my eyes open, suddenly wide awake, but too afraid to move. Whenever the phone rang in the middle of the night something bad had happened. My uncle has Lifeline so my mind immediately wandered to him.

Then I heard the caller ID’s robotic female voice announce my sister’s name.

“Kris?” I whispered hoping she was awake.

She grunted.

“Why is Lisa calling?”

“I don’t know…”

“Is this it?”

“Maybe,”

We both remained in bed for a few minutes. I don’t know what was going on in Kris’s head, but I was trying to process everything. Why else would our older sister be calling in the middle of the night if the baby wasn’t on his way?

After a few moments, and realizing that the phone had stopped ringing, Kris and I both leaped out of our beds. We ran downstairs where Mom was standing the kitchen talking to Lisa. Dad stood in the hallway outside of the bathroom staring at Mom waiting.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Lisa’s in labor.” Dad said.

Kris and I smiled at each other and I remember jumping a little, but it was only about one o’clock in the morning. We were all still pretty tired and out of it.

Mom hung up the phone and grinned from ear to ear. “They’re on their way to the hospital!”

We all cheered and stood around in the kitchen for a couple minutes not knowing what to do next.

“Well, I’m going back to bed.” Dad turned around and left the kitchen.

“That’s it?” I asked.

“We’ll visit them in the morning. There’s not much we can do.” Mom had said, which made perfect. We all needed our sleep for a big day ahead.

Luckily, it just happened to work out, that I had the day off from work that day. Dad still had to go to work, but Kris and Mom called out and we all went to the hospital together.

I don’t like hospitals. I felt on edge as we drove there, telling myself that we would be in the maternity ward. It wouldn’t be that bad.

I started tearing up in the car and Mom stared at me through the rear-view mirror.

“Are you okay?” she had asked.

“I’m an aunt!” I exclaimed through blurry eyes. Mom and Kris started laughing at me because I cry at a lot of things, good or bad.

We made it to the hospital and entered Lisa’s room and I immediately burst into tears again. I didn’t like seeing her hooked up to a machine with wires and needles coming out of her, even though I knew there was nothing wrong with her or the baby. This is one of the reasons as to why I don’t like hospitals and get nervous.

We spent most of the day waiting around. Kris and I decided to go home around 1:30 in the afternoon. Mom said they’d call if anything was to happen. So, of course, as soon as we got home, we both got a text message from our brother-in-law stating that Lisa was going to start pushing soon.

I looked up at Kris. “So… Does this mean we go back?”

“We should probably be there when the baby comes, right?” She responded with a question.

“I want to be one of the first people to see our nephew, yes.” I replied.

“Alright, let’s head back out then.”

Kris and I hopped back into the car and we were on our way. She drove while I the GPS on my phone. We have never driven to the hospital on our own before and have never been to that part of the town, so we had no idea where we were going. Neither one of us paid much attention when Mom drove us back and forth earlier that day.

Kris was pretty calm behind the wheel as I freaked out in the passenger seat.

“Holy crap, we’re aunts. Kris, we have a baby. We have a nephew. There’s a baby coming. Lisa’s a mom! A mom, Kristen!”

“I know!” Kris exclaimed excitedly. “Now tell me where to turn next so we can actually be there when the kid comes.”

As I directed her from the GPS, Mom kept texting me.

“Are you guys coming?”

“Lisa is beginning to push.”

“The baby is coming!”

“Hurry!!”

With each new text message, I freaked out more and more causing Kris to freak out.

“We’re going to miss it!” I shouted.

“We’ll be fine, we’ll be fine!” Kris pulled into the parking lot. Except there were no spots. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me…” she muttered.

After three floors down in the parking garage, I pointed to a spot right by the stairs. “There! Go there!”

She pulled in and we both jumped out of the car racing through the parking garage. We were both giggling like mad as we were both nervous and too excited at the same time for our own good.

We raced up the spiral stairs in the garage. I nearly knocked into a man who had to be at least two feet taller than me as I shouted, “Auntie’s coming!”

Kris burst out laughing as I almost took out the fully grown man and we dashed through the lobby of the hospital. We ran into the elevator. As it rose to the third floor, Kris and I leaned against the wall trying to catch our breaths.

An older woman was in the elevator with us and gave us a strange look.

“Our older sister is having a baby.” Kris explained.

The woman smiled. “First one?”

“Yeah, we’re aunts now!” I grinned.

“How could you tell?” Kris said sarcastically.

The woman chuckled. “Congratulations.”

We said our thanks to her and ran out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened. We jogged down the hall only to run into Mom.

“Do we have a baby?” I asked.

“We have a baby!” Mom exclaimed.

We group hugged each other and jumped up and down in the middle of the hall.

“We don’t know anything as we’re not allowed in yet. But a nurse came out and told us that he’s here and everyone is doing great.” Mom had explained.

We waited in a small waiting room with Lisa’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law. We waited for about another half hour and our friend came in the meantime. We all sat and chatted with one another as though nothing was going on. We were just trying to pass the time.

Finally, Nick, my brother-in-law, came into the room. He explained what had happened to all of us. Everyone was doing well. The baby was born at 4:49 in the afternoon, and he was 12 inches, 6 ounces.

The grandparents went in first. My poor father wasn’t able to leave work, but he visited them later that night before visiting hours ended.

I remained in the waiting room with Lisa’s sister-in-law, Kris, and our friend. The four of us chatted about random things trying to pass the time some more. We knew it wasn’t going to be too much longer since the grandparents were having their turn. The nurses just didn’t want too many people to go in right at once right away.

Before too long, however, the nurse came in giving us permission to go into Lisa’s room. There, I held my nephew for the first time of many. I fell in love with him immediately as I looked down at him through my blurry, happy tears.

Words: 1,343

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Short Story Sunday 145: Wedding Adventures (Dear Diary)

Short Story Sunday

When you’re at the tender age of being somewhere in your twenties, it’s weird to think that your friends are getting married, buying houses, having children… You know, stuff that adults do.

When Kris told me that her childhood best friend was engaged, I was surprised because I thought they were too young. She was 25 or so when she got engaged, so no. That’s not too young at all. That’s a good age to get engaged, especially when you’ve been with your significant other for a few years.

Kris was in the bridal party as a bridesmaid. She was able to get a plus-one and chose to bring me along on account my parents were invited on their own since they were the parents of a bridal party member.

The church was about an hour or so away from our house. Kris had gone up the night before which left Mom, Dad, and me to our own devices to get ourselves there.

Kris’s friend and her fiancé had met at college. They attended a Catholic school together and the school had a church. That’s where they were getting married. You would think it’d be easy to find a church when it’s among a huge campus, but that’s just the thing. It’s in the middle of the huge campus.

The ceremony started at three in the afternoon. I assumed we would leave our house around 1:30 to be there by 2:30. We’d be on time with plenty of it left to spare and we’d be able to get a good seat at the church.

1:30 came and went as my parents still tried to get themselves ready to go. It was around two o’clock when we finally left our house. I had been texting Kristen back and forth.

“Are you guys here yet?” she had asked.

I replied, “We just left.”

Apparently, just about everyone was already at the church.

“Don’t worry, the GPS says it’ll take about 45 minutes to get there.” Mom had explained to me as soon as we got into the car.

But what about traffic? I didn’t say anything though. I couldn’t complain about not leaving earlier since we couldn’t go back in time and leave earlier. Plus, I had no major part in the wedding, so it wasn’t going to affect the ceremony if we weren’t there.

Sure enough, we hit traffic. It was a Saturday afternoon so you wouldn’t think there would be many people out on the road, but accidents do happen. Once we got past that, about a half hour or so, we were smooth sailing.

It was about 2:50 when we arrived at the campus. There were many entrances to the college campus as there are so many different buildings plus the church. We passed by a big sign that said the church’s name.

“There it is!” I pointed out the window, but Dad kept driving.

“The GPS says we have another quarter mile.” Mom said.

“Mom, the GPS is taking us to the college, not the church. The church was right back there.” I explained.

“Where am I going?” Dad asked.

“But this is what the GPS says.” Mom said.

“I saw the limo back there. That’s where the church is. We missed the turn.” I said exasperated. Sure, listen to the GPS over a human being.

“Hello? Where am I going?” Dad asked again.

“Turn here.” Mom pointed to the next right. Dad turned in and Mom smiled. “See? Look at all the cars parked here!”

“Look at everyone in football attire out on that field…” Dad stated driving slowly by the parked cars.

“It’s a college and a Saturday. I’m sure there are other events going on… Such as a football game,” I sighed.

Mom stared at the GPS with furrowed brows. “Oh.”

“So where do I park?” Dad asked.

“Where the church is,” Mom replied.

“Where’s the church?”

“I don’t know…”

“It was way back there!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, there’s a guy. Roll down your window and ask him.” Mom poked Dad on the arm which resulted in him growling at her, but he rolled down his window anyway.

The man took out his headphones and looked at us with confusion as soon as Dad asked where the church was.

“Um, go back the way you came and it should be your last left. There’s a huge sign, you can’t miss it.”

I smirked in the back seat as Dad said thank you and rolled up his window. Mom chuckled and looked over her shoulder at me.

“But the GPS said…”

“It’s just about three o’clock now. Can we please stop talking about the GPS? Turn it off.” Dad muttered.

I muttered an “I told you so” but we remained silent until Dad pulled into the church.

“There’s the limo!” Mom pointed out the window as though we were sight-seeing Christmas lights.

“I told you that.” I said.

“Oh, there’s the church!” Mom unbuckled her seatbelt and was just about to open the car door, but stopped herself. I burst out laughing.

“What are you doing? I need to park first!” Dad shouted.

Mom laughed. “Sorry, I got excited.”

Dad pulled into a parking spot, though he wasn’t sure if he was able to park there or not. We all shrugged our shoulders not caring. It was 2:58 and we needed to get into that church.

We walked along the sidewalk trying to find the entrance to the church when Dad pushed Mom and me forward. “There she is! She’s getting out of the limo now!”

The bride was stepping out of the limo and the three of us broke into a run as our time was running out. I decided to wear heels to this wedding. I never wear heels. I’m sure watching me attempt to run was certainly a sight to see to any people passing by.

We stopped short right outside the entrance as the bride disappeared inside, her bridal party following behind her. Kris walked right by us without speaking a word. She shook her head with a disgusted face and that was it.

“What, we made it, didn’t we?” Dad called to her with an attitude.

We followed them inside, gave Kris and the bride a quick hug, and then entered to find our seats.

We attend church regularly every Sunday, but we have a small church with a small parish. For a college, one would think the church wouldn’t be too fancy, but I was wrong. The church was much bigger and beautiful that I originally pictured it.

“Holy shit,” I whispered and then flinched. I looked up at the ceiling. “Sorry…”

“Really?” Dad raised an eyebrow. I shrugged.

“Oh, look!” Mom pointed to some friends of Kris’s from school. They were in the back and the other seats were mostly filled, so we figured we’d sit with them.

We said hello and gave them hugs before sitting down. Mom walked into the pew, sat down, and then immediately stood back up to walk out of the pew. She pushed me aside, as I was coming into the pew next to her making me back out into the aisle.

“What are you doing?” Dad grunted.

“I want to sit on the end so I can take pictures.” Mom said.

“Oh, Jesus Christ…” Dad groaned.

“Really?” I mocked him laughing.

“Shut up,” he gave me a gentle push into the pew.

We waited another five minutes or so and then the ceremony started.

For the most part, the rest of the day went smoothly. Well, other than the fact that we left the church immediately after the ceremony and went to the reception hall when most people stayed back at the church for another hour or so. We had to wait around in the lobby of the resort for a while before they could let us in.

Kris had texted me wondering where we went. We had completely ditched her and she had to get a ride to the resort from the bride’s father.

Overall, the wedding was a good time. But it just goes to show that you really can’t take us anywhere.

Words: 1,363

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