Today’s daily prompt: Literate for a Day
Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?
Sometimes you scare me.
You know all about the people who are important to me- you have their names, phone numbers, photos, and our conversations. You also know about things that are important to me- my appointments and how I spent my time, my to-read list, and my music. You know my secrets- the words I typed and deleted without sending and the embarrassing games I play. You know my flaws and insecurities- my horrible sense of direction and my selfies and filtering apps.
You are with me at all times. You are the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning.
I am afraid of how lost I will be without you.
You spoil me by doing things I should do by myself- scheduling my time for me, giving me reminders, making calculations, and researching and answering even my most banal questions. You make me feel connected to others without me actually having to go anywhere.
Sometimes I am afraid of what I have allowed you to do to me.
I allow you to distract me with your short-term entertainment or notifications that suddenly seem like the most important piece of information in the world. You persuade me that it is better to see through camera lens than my own eyes.
Sometimes I am scared of who I am with you.
My short story series, inspired by NaNoWriMo/NaBloPoMo and the daily prompt.
“Let’s take out the letters we worked on yesterday, class. Trade with the person sitting next to you and proofread each other’s letters.”
Last week, Ms. Tompkins had everybody move desks when they were learning about longitude and latitude in social studies, so now Connor switched papers with Samantha instead of Bradley. Connor liked it better this way- Bradley never did his homework but Ms. Tompkins always praised Samantha for her work. Since this letter was going to Father, he would rather have someone smart like Samantha take a look at it than Bradley.
Connor printed off his letter by himself this time, but Samantha’s letter was still on lined paper and pencil like everyone else. Her printing was very beautiful, though. Connor thought it looked just like Father’s signature when he wrote in cursive. It had fluid loops and connected together like a long silk thread.
Thank you for helping me clean the house yesterday when mom and dad were busy at work. I know you wanted to go play with your friends outside, but you stayed and helped me. You are the best little brother in the world.
I know you will be a wonderful astronaut when you are older. When that time comes, you will be able to see the entire world from your window. You will be with the stars like you have always dreamed of.
Samantha had already read through Connor’s paper and returned it back to him. Connor’s eyes lit up in horror when he looked down at his letter. Bloody circles tainted the page and underlines bled from the bottom of the black characters.
“Why did you draw all over it with a red pen?!”
“We’re supposed to proofread it. Why did you type it up anyways? Makes it harder to change stuff.”
“Because it looks better this way without your stupid red circles.”
“But if you fix the red circles you can make this letter even better. Isn’t that what you want? Not just to make it look better, but to actually make it better?”
Connor chewed on his lip. He didn’t want red markings all over his letter. He just wanted it to be clean and white with his sharp letters the way Father likes his papers to be. He didn’t like the way Samantha silently questioned him with her green eyes and clear voice. Was she saying his letter isn’t good enough? He worked so hard on it!
Connor felt a little angry. He was going to compliment Samantha on her beautiful handwriting and tell her that he really liked the wildflower poem she recited last week on Parents Day, but now he didn’t want to anymore. What annoyed him even more was that he couldn’t find any spelling mistakes in Samantha’s letter. All the periods and commas were where they were supposed to be and Connor couldn’t find anything to circle or underline. Out of desperation, he drew a big circle on her paper and shoved it back onto her desk.
“You’re supposed to write a letter for your dad or mom, not your brother so everything is wrong.”
Samantha’s green eyes blinked at his brown ones as she gently folded her paper in half.
“I’ll write another one then.”
Connor looked away from Samantha, feeling embarrassed for getting so angry when she gave him such a calm reaction. The truth was that Samantha’s letter to her brother was very nice. He especially liked the last sentence about being with the stars. It sounded like something from a book Ms. Tompkins would make the class read for novel study, not something a fourth grader would come up with by herself.
Connor felt a little bad for drawing that big red circle on Samantha’s letter when he didn’t need to. Would she still give it to him now? He hoped so. He hoped Stevie got to read his sister’s lovely words.
To be continued…