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Friday, February 22, 2013

Far Away Eyes: Chapter 3

Today's submission is from Barbara from Far Away Eyes:

“Momma, do you remember what it was like to be fifteen?” I say in my most controlled voice, when I would rather be screaming at her. She is not going to let me go to the Baylor’s party, I know it.

“Hey beautiful girls,” Daddy says as he comes through the kitchen door from the back porch. Momma turns her stare on him, and I give him what I hope is my sweetest smile.

“Is there a problem?” Daddy asks.

[“Sandra thinks she should go to that party at the Baylor’s. We’ve discussed this over and over and I still feel the same. I don’t trust the Baylor boy, and I think Sandra is too young to run with that crowd,” Momma says.

“Now, Anne, it’s not the Baylor boy we want to place our trust in, is it? The question is whether or not we trust Sandra. I do. Don’t you?” Daddy asks and smiles first at Momma and then at me.

“Stanley, you know that’s not the point. Even a good girl like Sandra can easily be talked into doing things that go against everything she has been taught, under certain circumstances.”

Daddy looks at her and sighs. “Anne, you cannot control everything. This is one of those things that…,” Daddy stops mid-sentence. ]1

I look over at Momma and see her normal [‘do not mess with me’]2 look replaced with one of complete contempt.

“Sandra, Dee is tied up in the barn. Can you take her up to the low pasture and turn her out for me?” Daddy asks.

“Yes, Daddy. I’ll grab a sweatshirt, and go right out,” I say.

Momma is busy staring Daddy down. She’s good at that. [When she does, her look is pure mean.]3 I suppose at one time you would have called her pretty. Rich brown hair, which I did not get and those piercing green eyes that I did. Even after three babies she’s still slender. She can fit into my jeans, but hers are two sizes bigger. Heaven forbid, someone should think she has a waist or hips under all that denim. We do wear the same size shirt, but here it’s necessary to add to many layers everyone looks like a lumberjack. She and Daddy are so different. He’s so kind. I can’t imagine what keeps them together. She supports every decision he makes, but she doesn’t lift a finger to help out on the ranch. The kitchen and the kids are her responsibility, at least that’s what Daddy says.

Upstairs I grab a sweatshirt and pull it over my head as I come out of my room. I can hear them talking through the vent from the kitchen.

“She and Daniel Abernathy spend days out in the hay fields when we’re mowing. You never have a problem with that. Don’t you think they could have their clothes off and back on again before either one of us could walk out there to see why the tractor stopped?” Daddy asks.

“It’s not Daniel I’m worried about,” Momma replies.

“Maybe not, but he will be at this party too. Don’t you think he would take the Baylor boy apart before he would let him lay a hand on Sandra?” Daddy asks.

“You have a point. That poor kid is so crazy in love with her, I almost feel sorry for him,” Momma says.

This has a great teenage voice. I was a bit jarred by the present tense to start out with, but once I got into the rhythm of the piece, I didn't notice it. Otherwise:

  1. I wonder if her parents would spell out their discussion like that. I would think they would do more shorthand with each other.
  2. Full quotes: "do not mess with me"
  3. That is such a great line.
Do I sense a love triangle brewing? 

What do you think?  


mshatch said...

I liked it too, especially the inner dialogue which I thought worked well.

Patchi said...

I like the voice too. The dialogue Liz marked sounds a bit stiff, but other than hat this piece worked for m.

farawayeyes said...

Thanks for the input and suggestions. I work hard for that 'teenage' voice. I DO want her parents to sound stiff and formal, I'm trying to define their relationship distant, stiff and formal with their daughter and particularly each other.

Huntress said...

The most I see to crit is the dialogue tags. Maybe cut a few? Otherwise, man alive, this sucked me in big time.

Present tense always throws me also but that is a personal problem and not a criticism. Reading the Hunger Games trilogy helped :)