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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Girl on the Mend (Welcome to Confession Session Chapter 8)

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None of us said anything after that tablet with those 5 confessions was revealed. I was shell-shocked about Emma’s problems which had taken quite a toll on her right now.

I broke the silence first and looked up at Emma. “Em, did you tell campus security about this guy?” I asked.

Emma nodded and sniffled loudly. “I gave them every bit of information from his license plate to his appearance,” she said. “I’m still scared that he could still try to come after me.”

I walked over to my microwave fridge unit and pulled out a cold pitcher of purified water. I grabbed a glass off one of the shelves with our silverware and filled it, before handing it off to Emma. She smiled faintly as she accepted the glass and took a sip.

As I put the pitcher back, I dove back into the confessions on the screen of her tablet. “Did you file a restraining order yet? He can’t break the rules of that or else he could be arrested.”

Emma set her glass down and replaced her tablet within its protective sleeve. She took a seat in the chair I had offered to her earlier and her shoulders sank as she sighed. “I need to do that. Only, I need to tell this to my parents first. I haven’t exactly told them about the failing grade on my midterm so I’m not sure what to tell them first.”

I shut the fridge door and walked over to her. “You need to tell them about the abuse first,” I said. “It’s more important now than one exam that can be made up with extra work.”

“Yeah I guess,” she said. She looked past me and stared out the window. “So how were you paired with Devon? I think she was in another building altogether when I got my list of residents over the summer.”

I looked over at Devon’s crumpled bedspread, her neat desk with papers in trays and pens in cups, and the school sweatshirt draped on the back of her desk chair. “Yeah she actually had a roommate that didn’t show up for the school year,” I said. “She was originally going to become Rachelle Prescott’s second roommate but that didn’t sit well with Rachelle.”

“Why not?”

“She got mad at Devon for a dancing activity we did in Orientation,” I said. “We had to get in a circle and every time there was a chorus change, someone would get in the middle and do a solo dance. Dev came to study dance and she already has a lot of training so when she got in the middle, she did this neat mash-up of ballet and hip hop, I think. Someone told the director of the Dance program and he talked about working with her privately. She was excused from the beginner classes because it was apparent that she didn’t need the remedial work.”

“And this Rachelle was mad because?”

“She thought Devon was just trying to show off and prove that she was a much better dancer than everyone else,” I replied. “It didn’t help that everyone couldn’t stop talking about her mad dancing skills all day. So when the building director found out that she was roommate-less and that I was having issues with mine, he paired us together. It’s safe to say that it worked out so much better.”

Emma ran a hand through her red-brown strands before picking up the glass to take another drink from it. As she put the glass back down, she looked at me.

“I wanted to apologize for being a brat yesterday,” she said. “I shouldn’t have said the things I said and my attitude was really unnecessary. I’m sure it didn’t help when Jesse snubbed you too right after I did, right?”

“Hang on, how do you-”

“There are windows by that office door, Kay,” she said. “I did look out them and you looked pretty steamed after he brushed you off. Were you guys dating by any chance?”

I shook my head no and gave her an amused look. “Em, Jesse is very…passionate and I hate when he has a moment. I’d probably scuttle under the bed if he and I were dating since he does have…needs.”

“Oh. I just wondered since you two are almost always hanging out together,” she said. “Sorry about the misunderstanding. I’m guessing he’s still mad at you?”

“Yes indeed.”

Emma rose from her chair and thanked me for the water. She began walking toward the door and she paused for a few seconds. “Thank you for listening to me Kay,” she said. “I can’t express how sorry I am for being the worst RA ever and I hope that you can some how reconcile with Jesse. Hate to see a bridge burned in one semester over an event.”

“So do I,” I said as I opened the door for her. “Good luck telling your parents.”

“Thanks, we’ll need it,” she said as she left.

Swallowing One’s Pride is Harder Than it Seems (Welcome to Confession Session Chapter 7)

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“Mac…Mac…MAC!” a voice said to me.

“Eh?” I mumbled. I pried my eyes open to see Dany standing over me.

“I hate to wake you but I need to get you back to campus,” Dany said. “Apparently my roommate was supposed to be back from a party last night and she had car troubles. Service guy took forever to get out there and I need to pick her up pronto.”

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and threw back the blanket that Dany had given me last night for her couch. I got up and splashed cold water on my face before accepting a spare toothbrush from Dany.

“What did she do about sleeping last night?” I asked as I added toothpaste to the brush.

Dany leaned against the door frame and made a face. “I think she slept in the car with the doors locked. Good thing no one tried to rob her or take her at gun point. She was not far from one of the sketchiest places in town.”

I winced at the thought of her roommate’s ordeal as I brushed my teeth quickly. Yeah, that had to suck, big time.

***

“I owe you a homecooked breakfast next time we can hang,” Dany said as she drove me back. “I didn’t mean to rush you out on an empty stomach. You gonna be okay with cafeteria grub?”

“Yeah or there’s always a granola bar from my room,” I replied. “Yeah your roommate’s more important so don’t apologize. Heck, the poor girl might want to just crawl into her bed when she gets back. Gotta be really uncomfortable sleeping in a car.”

“Especially if you’re as jumpy as she is,” Dany added. “Well here we are.”

I unclipped my seat belt and jumped out, thanking Dany before she sped off to save her roommate from Sketchville. I walked back to my dorm building and removed my ID card from my pants pocket. Only, I didn’t need it as the door was wildly flung open and a girl dashed through it with rage in her eyes. Hang on, wasn’t that the chick that Jesse had brought into the building?

Whatever, I thought as I walked through the door. I pressed the UP button for the elevator and waited patiently for the car to come down. The doors opened and I stepped into the empty elevator car, pressing 4 on the wall before the doors closed. I watched the digital screen flash the numbers as the car ascended. 1…2…3…4. The doors opened and I stepped out onto my floor. I headed toward my room and a door opened as I walked past. A boy stuck his head out and he looked at me.

“You don’t happen to know what happened to a girl with brown hair wearing a tank top, do you?” he asked.

“Was she also wearing sweats and flip flops?” I asked.

“Ye…yeah.”

“She left in a huff when I came in. I don’t know where she went though,” I replied. “And she looked angry by the way.”

The boy ran a hand through his hair and thanked me before closing the door. Who the heck was that girl? Did she get into a row with Jesse? Or did she happen to be another campus floozy who got one guy but not this other one?

“Yep this is a great start to a Friday morning,” I muttered as I continued toward my room. I punched the code into my door and swiped my ID card, granting me access into my room. I closed the door behind me and saw that Devon had left a note on my desk.

Hope you’re okay – Dany told me that you were with her.

Have a nice weekend!

I smiled faintly at her kindness and decided that I would rather crawl back to bed for now instead of braving the scowls from the cafeteria staff. Especially the head server who hated it when kids came in for breakfast with 1 minute to go before breakfast service was over. I had thrown back the covers of my bed when I heard a knock at my door.

Maybe it was someone looking for Devon, I thought as I opened the door. Instead, it was Emma standing outside my door. Her eyes were red from crying and she wrung her hands anxiously.

“Em, what’s up?” I asked her.

She looked past me and asked if she could come in. I held the door open for her and she stepped in. I offered her a chair but she refused it, insisting that she was fine with standing.

“What is it?” I asked her.

She looked at me and took a deep breath before producing a tablet from her tote bag on her shoulder. She turned the device on and pulled up a document on the screen before flipping it around to show me.

  1. Sometimes I wish I had never take the job for RA. People really don’t take me seriously and I’m starting to doubt myself.
  2. I just got a D on my Communications in Debate Topics midterm because I suck at understanding the class material.
  3. I’m too stubborn, like my gran.
  4. My boyfriend slapped me a few days ago. This wasn’t the first time he’s hit me. I was slapped for dumping him and trying to leave him for good. I’m scared that he could come after me.
  5. I wish I could have been there for you.

Then I Was Knocked Down (Welcome to Confession Session Chapter 6)

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This isn’t rocket science, I thought as I walked up to the door. It had been several weeks and by now, things should have cooled off. I didn’t expect Emma to wholeheartedly forgive me right there but I guess I needed to take the first step. I raised my fist to the door of the administration office in my dorm building and knocked.

“It’s open,” Emma said on the other side.

I gripped the door knob in my hand and pulled the door open. Emma was seated at the desk with her laptop open and her pager beside it. She looked up from her computer with a tepid look and asked me what I wanted. Yeah, she still had a grudge against me. Sheesh.

“I wanted to apologize for my spiel about resident advisors at that Comedy Wednesday thing,” I said. “It came out as part of a rant because Jesse pushed me on stage and was just smirking at me. I got mad at him first then, it kind of snowballed out of control.”

Emma went back to typing on her computer and didn’t meet my gaze. Silence settled in and all I could hear was the tip, tip, tip, tip of the laptop keys as she typed something. She finally replied, “Is that all you came here for?”

I was stunned at her response. Really? She was going to take this like a little girl who didn’t get what she wanted? I closed my eyes and breathed deeply through my nose, trying to compose myself before I said anything stupid.

“I understand you’re upset Em,” I said. “I think the reason why I said those things was because at the back of my mind, I was mad at you for not being around all the time. During Orientation, you weren’t around to help me deal with my original roommate. She accused me of stealing something from her when in reality, she lost it in the mess of her stuff she had in the closet. I must have asked a bunch of different RAs before one of them told me to tell the Resident Director about the problem. He told me to work things out and ask you for help. I must have knocked on your door several times every week only to have no response. Things became so bad in my room that I had to get another roommate.”

Emma closed her laptop and stood up from the desk. She walked towards me and said, “Well I’m sorry that I’m not here to fix your life every time it falls apart. You do realize that I have a life too and its busy. Speaking of busy, I have a paper due tomorrow that I’m working on and if you don’t have anything else to say or ask for, I’d like it if you would leave.” She placed her hand on the door and I turned to leave, fuming silently about her rude behavior. Screw you Emma.

I decided to head outside and clear my head. As I stepped through the doors, I nearly ran into Jesse who had a girl with him. I stepped to the side and let them pass. The girl glanced over at me and loudly asked, “Hey isn’t that the-”

“Yeah I guess it is,” Jesse said as he guided the girl to the staircase. “Just pretend that she isn’t there. So how about you? What’s new with you?”

“Go to Hell Jesse,” I muttered as I stared at their retreating forms. I angrily walked out through the doors and put as much distance as I could between me and my building. I could care less about whoever he was sleeping with and frankly, I was surprised that any girl even wanted him after the embarrassment he suffered from my performance.

“Hey! Hey! Maroney Baloney, hello?!” a voice yelled from behind me.

I whirled around to see it was Dany and she ran towards me. She took one look at my face and began guiding me to her car.

“You look like someone who could use a good cup of black tea and some chili mac and cheese,” she said.

***

“Here you go,” she said as she placed the hot mug in my hands. “The chili mac’s gonna be done in a few minutes.”

“Is this one of your experiment recipes?” I asked.

“Nope its a staple I’ve been making since I was 10,” she said proudly. “Yeah I always thought that mac and cheese was missing something so I took my Dad’s chili from the night before and bam, you’ve got chili mac.”

I shook my head at Dany and muttered that she was nuts. She made a face at me and replied that I was the crazy one for not trying the dish sooner.

She walked over to the stove and stirred around the contents. “So it looks like the world got to you,” she began. “What happened?”

I groaned as I ran a hand through my dark hair. “I tried apologizing to Emma and she threw me out of her office.”

Dany spooned some chili mac into a bowl for me and handed it to me. “Sounds like she’s not the type to forgive easily.”

“Oh it gets better,” I muttered. “Jesse walked past me with some girl and he told her to ignore me. Stupid prat’s probably going to try to get lucky tonight.”

Dany brought her bowl of chili mac over and cracked open a cold beer for herself. She took a swig of it and set the bottle down before digging in. I pushed a mouthful of the stuff into my mouth and it didn’t taste terrible. For a Dany creation, it was edible and pretty good.

Dany chewed a mouthful of the chili mac and swallowed with a thoughtful look on her face. “Sorry to hear that Kay,” she said. “Well Emma sounds like she’s being too proud to accept an apology when its offered and Jesse’s just being a kid.” She set her bowl down and wiped her mouth with a napkin.

“Since the two people you’re at odds with live in your building, how about you take a break from them and spend the night here?” she offered.

“Really? Are you sure that it isn’t going to conflict with your work schedule?” I asked.

“Nah I won’t be needed on set until midnight,” she said. She winced at the thought of it and rose to grab more chili mac. “How about you and classes? When’s your first one?”

I checked my schedule on my phone and replied, “Dany, its Friday. I don’t have classes that day.”

“Good! Maybe you can get some extra sleep then,” Dany prompted as she sat back down. She pointed to my bowl and asked what I thought.

“Different but a good different,” I replied. “Can we watch something? I need a good movie to get my mind off things.”

Dany gestured to her DVD rack by the TV. “Pick one! Any one! It’s your call tonight.”

It’s a Start (Welcome to Confession Session Chapter 5)

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Here it comes, I thought as my professor entered the room, exams in hand.

She picked up a whiteboard marker and began writing the range of scores that the class earned. Someone had gotten a 100 (probably Yesenia who was a Math major) and the lowest score was a 30. Ouch. My professor put down the marker and began passing back exams silently. It was after she passed back Yesenia’s exam that she came to mine and handed it to me with a smile.

Well a smile was hopeful, I thought as I flipped to the back page of my exam. Written in red marker was the number 89/100. Yeah it wasn’t the A my mom wanted for me but it was a step in the right direction. Especially since my lowest grade had been a D, thanks to a confusing section on checking given limits to see if they existed. This was something worth celebrating for.

***

“Great! Don’t you feel better about the B than the D?” Mom asked.

I sat up straighter against my pillows and adjusted my phone to my other ear. “Yup, it does feel nice to have a passing grade than the other end of the spectrum.”

Mom coughed in the background, probably from a cold, and continued, “Keep up the effort. By the way, how’s Jesse doing?”

I winced once the dreaded question came out. What could I say about him now? It was already over a month since we last spoke and running into him was rare.

“I don’t know Mom,” I began, “he’s been pretty busy with class and projects so we haven’t caught up in a while.”

“Understandable,” she said. “Well I hope that the two of you can hang out sometime before the holiday break. Anything else you want to talk about?”

“Nope, that’s it. Just wanted to share the news about the great grade,” I said.

***

“Anyone want to say anything to Wilson about his story?” Professor Sykes asked during our third workshop.

Rachelle shot her hand up and glanced over at Wilson. Professor Sykes nodded at her and she put her hand down before giving her critique.

“I thought it was so scary,” she said. “I mean, it was like a Stephen King book or something with all the twists and turns and bloody stuff.”

Wilson nodded from across the table and thanked her for her comment. Professor Sykes looked around and tried to hide his surprised look when Chance raised his hand. I guess it was because Chance rarely talked during workshop classes and simply turned in his marked up copy of the author’s story every week without question.

“Why did you want to write a horror story?” Chance asked him.

Wilson shrugged his shoulders. “Just kinda wanted to give it a try. I normally write stuff in the 20th century like 50s sock hop or the 1960s hippie movement. Thought it was worth trying to do something different.”

“I’m glad you tried something different,” Professor Sykes said. “And for next class, we’re workshopping Amber’s and Chance’s stories. Make sure you read them and make comments. Amber, Chance, do you have copies for everyone to read?”

Amber picked up her stack and handed everyone a copy. Chance dug his story out of his bag and had everyone take one and pass the rest down. Once they were all distributed, Professor Sykes dismissed everyone, resulting in a mad dash for the door.

I packed up and left for the library to get started on reading these stories.

***

“She slapped the woman across the face and screamed at her, “You abandoned me! Why should I let you in now?” The woman staggered back and fell to her knees, begging the girl to forgive her. Forgive her for leaving her at the orphanage years ago. Forgive her for never trying to find her daughter. Forgive her for being gone.” I read out loud in the private study room. I checked my watch which read 11:15 AM. I had plenty of time before my 2:45 class to get both of these stories read and marked up.

I heard a knock at the door and I jerked my head up.  A face peered in through the window next to the door and I saw it was Chance from Creative Writing. I stood up and opened the door.

“Hi,” I said. “What’s up?”

Chance shrugged and replied not much. He fished around his pocket for something and pulled out a piece of paper. He handed the paper to me and asked me to read it later.

“Have you started reading the stories yet?” he asked as he leaned against the door frame.

“Just about finished with Amber’s,” I replied. “Why how about you?”

“I haven’t started yet,” he said. “Yeah I have to get going now but good luck with reading.” He gave me a little wave before straightening up and leaving the library.

What was that about? I thought as I closed the door to my study room. Whatever, he was probably asking everyone if they had read the stories yet. Maybe he was fishing for compliments or critiques prior to the workshop. But then again, there was that piece of paper he gave me.

I sat back down and finished Amber’s story about a girl meeting her birth mother after she turned 20. I scribbled a few comments on her page about the content and pace before pulling out Chance’s story.

It Just…Sort of Happened

by Chance Wen

Sam

Duuuudde! Partay at Dana’s house with booze and hot tub tonight! U in?  Sent 9:08 PM

Tyler

Sure – dont really want to do this boring assignment.  Sent 9:19 PM

“Dude check that girl out!” Sam slurred. He pointed to the blonde in the short skirt and tank top who was bending down to grab a beer from the cooler. As she stayed bent over, Sam cackled about her lack of undies to his buddies, one of them who groaned as he coughed up $10 from their bet. He guzzled down the rest of his beer and threw the can on the floor before going to find his friend Tyler.

Tyler was on the couch, beer bottle in hand and a dazed look on his face. Yeah he wasn’t as smashed as Sam but pretty damn close.  Sam elbowed his buddy as he sank down onto the couch and asked him about the girls at the party.

“See anyone you wanna get with tonight?” Sam oozed. “Found a blonde in the kitchen without undies man! Think I got any chance with her?”

“Maybe man,” Tyler said. He looked down at his bottle and some how found it unsettling. He glanced toward the door and gripped the arm of the couch to help him stand up. His legs wobbled and he nearly fell sideways onto someone else. Yeah he was pretty drunk and driving was out of the question.

“Say Sam the man,” Tyler said, “I’m gonna call it a night. See ya round.”

The cold air punched him in the face as he left the party and began heading home to his apartment. He couldn’t see straight and the wind was strong tonight. He felt borderline nauseous and wished that he hadn’t taken that extra beer before leaving. Sure he could have stayed and maybe gotten laid but hell, who wanted to sleep with some bimbo that he couldn’t remember the next day? Tyler saw a bright light ahead and heard a loud roar accompany it. It was a motorcycle with a girl on it and it slowed down beside him.

“Hey you, you alright? You look dazed?” the girl asked him.

Tyler tried to form the words to tell her that he was fine and almost home but instead he sank to the ground as his stomach reacted to the alcohol he consumed earlier. His head felt light and his vision was becoming worse, with the girl spinning before his eyes. Words became a mess of sounds in his ears and his brain stopped functioning.

Then it was over. The pain, the spinning, the static in his ears. Tyler pried his eyes open and blinked as he looked around at the stark white hospital setting he was in. The girl probably called for help and here he was in the hospital.  He sat up and the doctor bustled in with the report: It was alcohol poisoning and he had been lucky to survive. Drink lots of fluids and lay off the alcohol for a few weeks.

“Who was, who was the girl who brought me in?” he asked.

***

I settled back into my chair and stretched my legs. Chance, where have you been? I thought as I picked up my pen to write some comments on his story. I scribbled several positive comments about his descriptions of Tyler’s reaction to the alcohol and the encounters he had with the mystery girl named Abby. The only thing I wished he had done differently was have him get Abby’s name sooner. Other than that, he did a fantastic job.

My computer dinged that I had a new message from my professor in my next class. I clicked on it and the message read that class was cancelled, thanks to his car breaking down. Guess that meant I was free as a bird.

I began packing up my things until I remembered the piece of paper from Chance that he handed to me earlier. I unfolded it and smoothed it out before reading his scrawling script:

  1. Mckayla Tang’s got guts. She let herself go during that comedy night and wasn’t afraid to tell the truth.
  2. I have no idea why Rachelle thinks that every story has to be about Gossip Girl. Lamest series ever and it doesn’t make much sense.
  3. I’m only playing soccer because I’m on scholarship for it. Kind of starting to lose interest in it.
  4. I have gone to sorority parties but it gets boring watching the girls use booze to get a guy to like them. I’ve seen too many girls wear clothes that blatantly show that they aren’t wearing underwear. Kind of gross seeing after a while.
  5. Feels kind of good to get some of these things off my chest. Wonder if Mckayla felt the same way when she told an RA to do stuff instead of make excuses and said her guy friend was a joke.

I folded up the paper and put it away in my bag. For a guy who didn’t talk much during class, he was full of surprises. I picked up my bag and stood up to leave the room. Another group was waiting outside the door for my room and I held the door open for them as I left.

For a rough few weeks of scrutiny and burned bridges, these last two days were a godsend.

Someone’s Got Your Back (Welcome to Confession Session Chapter 4)

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Homework and projects seemed like a blessing after dealing with 2 weeks of silence from Jesse and Emma and various students taking notice of me, thanks to Shane’s amateur clip of me on Facebook. The only project I was looking the least forward to was the week of workshops for our final stories. Rachelle and some other girl’s story were first to read and critique. Professor Sykes told everyone to try to find one good thing or more that the author did well, note something they could improve on, and write a summary of your findings once you came to the end.

“She screamed bloody murder because there was the gun, the very gun that she saw Mememori pull out on that unsuspecting girl weeks ago,” I mused as I read through the other girl’s story. My eyes darted back and forth with fierce speed and intensity. Surprisingly, this wasn’t so bad after all – not like I was some horror buff but it had good pacing and was very good to imagine. Once I reached the end, I fished out a pen from my bag and began writing notes on my copy of my classmate’s story.

Good pacing! Quick read and easy to follow.

Could work on character development a bit – why should we care about your main character surviving this serial killer?

Glad this is different and suspenseful.

I flipped back the pages of my classmate’s story and put it away. Then I remembered that stupid Rachelle wrote a story too for this week’s workshop, so I pulled it out of my folder and braced myself for a $5 teen romance novel.

***

You need to distinguish your characters and speakers more clearly – had trouble figuring out who was saying what.

Nice names – they stay with you.

Why should we care about these characters? What makes them human or likable?

Watch your sentences – they start becoming run-ons.

As I was wrapping up my final comment on Rachelle’s blah high school prep drama, a shadow hovered over my paper. I lifted my head up as two hands covered my eyes.

“Guess who Maroney?” a voice said.

“Hah very funny Dany, you know that’s not my last name!” I said.

Dany lifted her hands away from my eyes and smiled. “I know but you share the same first name as Mademoiselle Not Impressed!”

I shook my head at her and she took a seat at the library table I was sitting at. She leaned her elbows on the table and asked me if I had eaten yet.

“Nope.”

“Good! How does curry rice sound?” she asked me. “And we can talk about how your life is going in school and how I’m doing with the big, scary real world.”

I put away my stuff and slung my bag over my shoulder. “You read my mind Dany.”

***

“Uh yeah, the uh beef curry rice with a milk tea to drink,” Dany said to the waiter.

“I’ll have the katsu curry rice with milk tea to drink, please,” I added. “Oh and I would like extra spicy for the curry please.”

The waiter scribbled down our order before taking our menus and making a low bow before leaving.

Dany folded her hands on the table in front of her and prompted me to tell her about my studies.

“Not much is going on,” I muttered. “Same old same old with projects and lots of homework.”

“Your comedy spiel isn’t considered anything going on? she prompted.

I winced unhappily at the mention of it. “Ugh, you saw the video?”

She nodded and ran a hand through her short hair. “I liked it! What’s wrong and why the ‘ugh’?”

My lips pursed to the side and Dany cracked up. “Warning! Mckayla Tang is not impressed!”

I smiled faintly and replied, “The two people that Shane caught in his film were mentioned in my talk and they were less than thrilled that I called them out on some of their flaws. But I blame Jesse for making me get up on stage in the first place.”

“Here are your drinks and your food should be out shortly,” the waiter announced as he plunked down two glasses of milk tea.

“Thanks man!” Dany said as she picked up her glass and took a sip. She wiped away the milk tea mustache and looked me dead in the eye.

“Kay, I like what you did and if those guys have problems with it, then they should have straightened up and changed those problems,” she stated. “Sometimes people don’t wanna hear the truth but you know what? It’s good to have someone say something instead of letting it just slide. They’ll thank you later once they take their egos out of the equation.”

“Thanks Dany,” I said. “So uh, how about you and film?”

Dany shrugged and talked about her latest set of projects she had been helping with. From filming to acting as a lighting manager, she had done a lot for only being out of university for a year. Our food arrived as she was discussing an idea for a documentary in Korea during the summer.

“A documentary? How are you going to handle the costs for traveling?” I asked.

She swallowed a mouthful of beef and rice and wiped her mouth. “I talked to a travel agency who wants to promote Korea more so they offered to fund our trip there in exchange for using the documentary as promotional material for their clients,” she replied.

“I’m really excited for you Dany,” I replied.

She shrugged modestly before continuing to dig into her meal. Eating extra spicy curry seemed to numb the pain of dealing with Jesse and losing a few brain cells from reading Rachelle’s story. Yeah, this wasn’t so bad after all.

***

“What are you going to do now?” Dany asked as she drove me back to my dorm building.

I sighed as I ran a hand through my hair. “Homework I guess. That and praying to God that I did better on that Calculus exam than the last one.”

No Rest for the Vocal (Welcome to Confession Session – Chapter 3)

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“Hey Mac, you might want to see this,” Devon said as she shook me awake.

I groggily pried my eyes open and stifled a yawn before throwing back the covers and joining Devon at her laptop. She pulled up her general feed wall from Facebook and scrolled down until she reached one of her friends who had posted a video. Underneath the video was the caption, Genius! Maybe I should rant for my next session!

Devon clicked ‘Play’ and a shaky recording of my performance from 3 days earlier began playing. At some points, the camera turned away from me and moved to the back toward Jesse and Emma. The camera zoomed in on Emma’s wide green-blue eyes and her flushed face before focusing on Jesse’s tight-lipped expression, complete with crossed arms and his hands gripping the sides until they were white. She let it play for a few more seconds before stopping it altogether.

“Who posted this?”

“Looks like Shane did,” Devon replied as she looked closely. “He did say something about filming the performances of his frat. Mac, do you want me to-”

“Nah its too late,” I sighed as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. “Everyone’s probably seen it or someone said something about it to their friends. I’ll just deal with the repercussions now.”

Devon threw me a sympathetic look before going back to check her e-mail. I pulled clothes from my dresser drawers and prepared to survive another day. The last 3 days were surprisingly quiet, with only a few people who even bothered to show up to the comedy night running into me. Jesse had been giving me the cold shoulder and Emma seemed to be even more scarce than usual. Fine with me.

***

“Hey gang!” Professor Sykes greeted us. He set his coffee mug down and prompted us to open our creative writing notebooks for the warm-up exercise. Usually it was something like, write down a word and have another person use that word in their write-up or start with this sentence, etc. I reached down into my tote for my notebook and a pen, when I felt the chair next to me nudge my bag. I glanced up to see it was Chance pulling the chair out to sit next to me. He played for our soccer team and often times was forced to bring absence slips to Sykes for him to sign. Come to think of it, I hadn’t heard him read any samples of his writing yet. Well whatever, he would have to say something when we start writing our final stories.

“Today’s warm-up is inspired by Mckayla’s performance at the comedy event on campus,” Professor Sykes began. He looked over at me with a smile and I forced myself to smile back, despite the fact that most of the kids in the first few rows were glaring me down with hatred. One of them was Rachelle, this snotty brat who wrote stories reminiscent of Gossip Girl and frankly, they lacked depth and meaning. She hated my roommate Devon after a small incident at Orientation and decided that I was hate-worthy too. Sure Rachelle, like that made perfect sense at all.

“I’d like everyone to write down 5 confessions either about yourself, maybe a friend, or even someone in this class,” Professor Sykes continued. “Try to keep profanity and pettiness out of them. I’d really like to have a some what civil morning. You will have 20 minutes, which starts…now.”

I looked down at the blank page in my notebook and creased my brows. Did I have to come up with more? And why did I have to be the star of the warm-up today?

Stop complaining and write something, I told myself as I uncapped my pen.

5 Confessions                                                                                                                                                  11/3/2012

  1. Steve Jobs is a genius and is owning Bill Gates and Microsoft. Apple Store Geniuses = brilliant idea!
  2. Authors of teen books need to realize that not everyone’s cup of tea is fantasy romances like Twilight or Gossip Girl. Not everyone is having a hot hook-up or cares about designer clothes.
  3. I hate Rachelle for being a dweeb.  I have no idea what I’m going to write for our final stories.
  4. Dr. Pepper no longer tastes like it used to. Coca Cola sucks for changing it. Wish that it was the same as the first time it was made.
  5. Devon Wachs should be on So You Think You Can Dance.

There. Now they weren’t anything brilliant but I tried. And I sort of censored myself to avoid getting burned by anyone else.

“Time’s up!” Professor Sykes announced. “Anyone feel like sharing?”

Rachelle shot her hand up and I suppressed my grimace. She always volunteered to go first. “I wrote that I hate the writers of Gossip Girl for making Chuck and Blair be an item, Reality TV sucks, I need to stop sleeping with wet hair because it dries weird, Sequels are not necessary in movies, and…I really hate Mckayla for making us do this assignment.”

Professor Sykes shook his head at her and reminded her that we were supposed to try to keep the pettiness out of these confessions. He turned to me and prompted me to read mine.

“Uh yeah,” I mused. “1. Steve Jobs owned Bill Gates. The whole Apple Store Geniuses thing was brilliant. 2. Authors of teen books need to write about something else other than sparkly vampires and designer-obsessed prep school chicks. 3. I have no idea what to write about for our final stories. 4. I wish that Dr. Pepper didn’t change formulas because it tastes weird. And 5. My roommate needs to go on So You Think You Can Dance.”

Professor Sykes gave me a wan smile and I could tell that he seemed disappointed. I shrugged my shoulders and looked back down at my notebook. My eyes wandered over to Chance’s notebook and I noticed that he hadn’t written anything. The only thing on his page was doodles and scribbles in the margins. Guess he wasn’t inspired by this prompt.

We listened to a few more responses before discussing things to avoid in creative writing. I bent my head down and buried myself in the lecture while others bore their eyes into me. Sorry people, sorry I had to ruin your first class of the day.

Deal With It or Leave It (Welcome to Confession Session)

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“I get it! RAs have lives too,” I continued as I moved away from the microphone stand. “But seriously, you should balance your schedule better so you can be a better leader for everyone. Making yourself scarce doesn’t make situations go away.”

“You tell it girl!”

“So true!”

Adrenaline pulsed through my body as I stood up there, with all eyes on me. It wasn’t really comedy that was coming from my mouth, but then again, it was Jesse’s fault for making me go up and talk.

I heard a pager go off in the audience and a few people turned around to see Emma leaving abruptly with her head lowered. She muttered an apology about the distraction and something about needing to answer a call. It was a perfect excuse. I glanced over at the host who was politely tapping her watch, meaning I needed to wrap things up for the next person. I turned back toward the audience.

“I know this wasn’t comedy per se but Jesse said do something,” I said. “So I did. Thank you.”

I walked off the stage to rowdy cheers, yells, and applause as the host took over again and grabbed the mic. Part of me was grateful that Emma wasn’t here but I knew I still had Jesse’s wrath to deal with. As I neared the last row, Jesse stood up abruptly and nodded at the door with lips pressed into a taut line. I followed him through the doors of the student lounge and we walked back to our dorm.

I avoided meeting his eyes as we walked up to the crosswalk to the dormitory area of campus. He punched the button his with fist and crossed his arms over his chest as we waited. As we stood there, he glanced straight ahead and finally spoke.

“My material is 2009?” he asked. “That’s what you think?”

“Jess, don’t kid yourself,” I said. “You sounded like a horny 13 year old who wants action when he can’t have it. Everyone talks about sex and its overrated in my book. It’s a cheap trick.”

Jesse turned toward me and I could see his dark eyes flash out of the corner of my eye. “Oh I’m sorry it doesn’t suit you,” he retorted.

“It’s your own damn fault for making me get up and talk in the first place,” I grumbled. “What the Hell did you want me to do?”

Jesse threw up his hands in frustration and yelled, “I don’t know! How about doing those impressions you can do? Maybe imitate someone! It’s comedy night for–”

“Yeah well that’s all I could think about when I got up there,” I snapped as I began crossing the street. “So you know what? I’m sorry that your material was bad and I’m sorry that your ego was bruised by what I said. Maybe its time to get some new material!”

“Maybe its time you quit getting your borrowed boxers in a bunch!” he snarled from his spot across the street.

I whirled around and clenched my fists. “For the memo, I don’t borrow boxers or even wear them! And your insults are even worse than your material.”

Jesse opened his mouth to retaliate but I beat him to it. “I gave the truth Jesse and if you can’t handle it, well that’s your problem!”

I stormed off toward my building, leaving Jesse standing on the other side of the street. He could wait for the next stupid light for all I cared.

Blood pounded in my ears as I walked up four flights of stairs to my floor and turned left for my wing of the floor. I fumbled with the door as I punched in the wrong code and swiped my ID card to open it. The door keypad flashed red, meaning that my code was wrong. My roommate Devon swung the door open and let me in before I could try my code again.

“Thanks Dev,” I muttered.

“So what’s got you in a foul mood?” she asked as she closed the door.

“Jesse dragged me Comedy Wednesday,” I said as I reached for my Calculus book. My hand went to my desk lamp then I remembered the bulb was burned out. I pulled my desk drawers open and dug around for the box of spare bulbs, finding them in the middle shelf. Screw you Jesse, I didn’t need your light bulb.

“Was it his material?” Devon asked as she sat down on her bed.

“Partially that but then he pushed me on stage to do some kind of comedy act,” I said. I unscrewed the old bulb and began replacing it with the new one. As I tightened the new bulb into the lamp, I continued. “I ended up turning my time on stage into an angry confession rant.”

“About?”

“Jesse’s material and Emma’s lack of availability,” I replied. I replaced the lamp shade and clicked the light on.

Devon clapped slowly and I looked up at her. “Good work Mac,” she said. “Emma needed to hear it from one of us sooner or later. And as for Jesse, I think every girl gets turned off by his constant sex talk. I was wondering when a girl was going to shut him down about it.”

I shrugged my shoulders and settled into my desk chair as I cracked open my Calculus book. “Thanks Devon,” I murmured. “Now I gotta survive another exam with a better grade or else Mom’s going to scream.”