L.K. Madigan (lkmadigan) wrote,
L.K. Madigan

First Writing Exercise of the Year

I didn't want to start 2007 without writing.

But I couldn't settle down to a longer work, so I decided to do one of jbknowles's Monday Morning Writing Prompts. I pulled this one off her website:
Start with the line, "You don’t know me" and see what happens.

"You don’t know me."

She’s standing in line at Starbucks, wearing Nordstrom clothes and pointy black heels. Her hair is artfully streaked and her eyeliner is perfect. She’s thin – of course – and she orders a tall Americano – of course. There are no calories in an Americano, and she doesn’t add any cream. Wouldn’t want to gain a pound, would you, shallow yuppie?

You don’t see everything.

You don’t see the two little girls at home, the oldest one not yet three years old, who struggles to walk with braces on her legs. You don’t see the sweetest husband in the world caring for the girls, then spending long hours at his restaurant. She’s thin, yes. She can hardly eat, from stress.

"You don’t know me."

You see Boring Businessman in his three-piece suit. He’s got tassels on his shoes, for God’s sake! He’s average height, average weight, with salt and pepper hair. He’s wearing a little flag pin in his lapel. You’re so sick of those pins. Doesn’t he realize it’s like saying, “America is the best! We can do whatever we want!”

You don’t see everything.

You don’t see the retired veteran who flew helicopters in Vietnam, who saved lives while bullets flew around him. You don’t see the flowers he buys the receptionist, the money he gives to charity, or the love he lavishes on his family. He wears a flag pin, yes. He loves his country.

"You don’t know me."

You see the life of the party, a woman who hugs people and laughs a lot and tells stories using her hands. She’s petite and freckled, which just adds to her cuteness. She lives in a mansion! Well, that’s what it would look like, to 90% of the world. She’s surrounded by warmth and flowers and artwork. It’s not fair that some people have so much.

You don’t see everything.

You don’t see the little girl raised by alcoholic parents, who learned how to stay out of the way when the yelling started. She had a step-sister for a few months, but her mother couldn’t stand to have the other girl around, so she sent her away. College was never mentioned in her family, so the girl went to work at eighteen. She worked full-time for the next forty-four years, even while raising her own family. She has parties and flowers and artwork now, yes. She should have all of that, and more.

You don't know me.

And I don't know you.

Tags: writing life
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