Ch 5 something: Natalie’s plan

“Doo doo doo….” Natalie hummed as she put her face up to the bathroom mirror and dragged black eyeshadow across her lid. “Doo….Doo—” she rubbed it underneath her bottom lashes—“Duh duh duh” went the last coating of shadow before it was time for liner and four or five coats of mascara. Why try and hide dark circles when you can just make them part of your makeup?

She moved back and looked at herself. Gram was right. She was looking too thin. She leaned forward and hiked up her bra straps, to try and look a little female again, before pulling on a black tank-top and some camouflage cargo pants that she found in the bottom of her closet. She wore them in eighth grade when she was going through a “phase,” and apparently they still fit her.  

Lastly, hair. She side-parted her short, fluffy light brown hair and hair-sprayed the hell out of it. “Doo doo doo!” went the final pat of the hand. Bye bye bald patches.

In her bedroom, she gathered up her books and notebooks into her backpack. She went over to her pet mouse’s cage and double-checked the lock. It was late morning, so Mr. Squeaks had long gone to bed. She peeked in his little plastic house to make sure he was breathing, checked the water in his bottle, and gave the lock one last pull.

On her way to the front door near the living room, she asked her mother, who was watching television, “Have you talked to Gram yet? Is she okay?”

Gram had just started using oxygen and it was a difficult adjustment for her. She had loved being the mother hen to the whole family. Although she never stopped smiling and offering cookies, it was clear from the look in her eyes that she was scared and more than a little bewildered.

Natalie always stopped by her place on her way to school, but today she wanted to kick herself because she was running too late. She hadn’t fallen asleep until an hour before her alarm was set to go off, which she slept through. And she shouldn’t have taken so much time getting ready.

Her mother waved her off. “Gram is fine. Have a good day at school!” and took her cup of coffee to the kitchen without looking at her.

Natalie prayed in her heart that her mom was telling the truth as she drove to her community college.

The previous class was still in the classroom when she got to school. The hallway looked more like it belonged to an old high school than a college. Natalie idly paced around, holding her book flat against her body as she glanced at the bulletin boards, where there were posted flyers for sports games at the local university playing field and evening job networking groups.

Same stuff as always, much of it out of date—but wait, there was something new. An advertisement for a local apartment. The address was familiar to her—it was an old tenement building not far from her school. Or, more importantly, not far from Gram.

She hadn’t thought about moving out before, but the idea suddenly struck her that it might not be a bad idea. Independence couldn’t be a bad thing, right? She rubbed her eyes, which were getting blurry again. She didn’t know what was going on with her, but she was scared that one day her mother would find her having some sort of “episode,” as she called them.

If she were to live in that building, she would be close enough to school and Gram and not have to worry about driving. She could bring Mr. Squeaks with her, and it wouldn’t be too lonely then. Maybe she could arrange for someone to check on her or something. It wasn’t exactly a luxury high-rise, but maybe that meant the rent would be cheaper. She could always buy an additional lock for the door. And she wouldn’t be that far from her parents.

The classroom door finally opened and the noise volume rose to the max as the students burst out. Natalie pressed herself up against the wall as they pushed past her. She looked to her side at the ad, thought, “What the hell?” and tore off the landlord’s contact information.

25 thoughts on “Ch 5 something: Natalie’s plan

      1. Once I wrote this big, long blog post and it occurred to me that it was wordy, so just for fun I wrote it out again, using only the first sentence in each paragraph–something I heard about a long, long time ago in a high school English class.
        Anyway, much to my chagrin, it didn’t really make sense, not quite, but it was shorter and much snappier!
        Anyway, it almost always makes sense to clean out unnecessary words, of course, but in my opinion, what you wrote about Natalie putting her face painted a nice picture for me. So to speak.
        Delayed comment because I am only just now working my way through the chapters to find out what in the actual ____ is going on here. Very entertaining!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, I’m glad it’s entertaining in some small way even though it doesn’t make sense. I always forget that people can’t hear my thoughts! I have this OCD thing where I think people hear them, so when I write “They sat in a house,” I assume you know what type of chair, what color, what style of architecture for the house, curtain pattern, etc.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s something that always bothers me a little when I am writing. That idea that I don’t really have full control over the picture that is forming in the reader’s head. At any rate, your ongoing story here is working great in that respect–anyway, seems that way to me.
            My latest “sep-scene” post is terrible. I may re-write it just to make myself feel better.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. The first thought that blew thru my muddled noggin was this was the same apartment that Michail the no point in working dude was going for. After that was a lot of inspired imagination about two people on the edge becoming neighbors across the hall. I like how you showed Natalie as a compassionate person who seems to have neglected herself a little. All of your characters leave me wanting to learn more about their story. Mr. Squeaks is an escape artist and Natalie can’t bear the thought of losing him was another thought that passed thru my story filter. Great stuff Hetty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy to hear you picked up on that. My favorite thing is writing about characters. There’s a certain guy around here who hates the “headtime” as he calls it (😉) but I can’t help loving it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think head time is important to a good story. You are describing their actions as they go through their internal dialog which tells the story in a way that helps us see through the character’s eyes. Some people actually don’t have internal dialog and I can’t imagine what that is like since my head elves are a raucous bunch and always into mischief.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Your head elves are engaged! That’s a good thing. There is nothing worse than calling on them to do their thing and they are all asleep and no one is answering the internal intercom.

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