Friday, June 15, 2012

I Creeped Myself Out

I am excited to participate in Teachers Write virtual writing camp hosted by author Kate Messner. If you haven't heard about it, check it out! Join in! 

I am tardy with yesterday's assignment. Clearly I didn't do the work the first week to make a plan to squeeze writing time into my daily summer schedule. 

I've included my one minute list of phrases that describe where I live now as well as the beginning of a story that could be a book. There are many directions this one could go! I love how the final idea popped into my head - it took me by complete surprise. Me? Science fiction? Why not?!!

1 minute Quick Write:

Green grass, lots of trees, blue-blue skies, views of the North Georgia mountains from various spots in town, plenty of fast food restaurants, but also some good local restaurants including our favorite Mexican and pizza places, generally peaceful neighborhood with the occasional redneck escapades, pool with lots of families, lots of grocery stores nearby, racetracks - 2 of them within 10 minutes, nestled between 2 interstates for easy access to Atlanta and points beyond, decent local high schools.

What changes would make this place uninhabitable for me....

At first it was subtle, our class sizes were one or two kids smaller than previous years. Frankly, I thought class shrinkage was limited to the schools that had larger numbers of Hispanic students. In talking to my friends at other less-Hispanic schools, they were indeed losing students as well. In a county our size, losing 1 or 2 students per class was HUGE. Every year a few more teachers were let go. Every year a few more classrooms were used as storage rooms for the extra desks and chairs and tables.

We'd been under watering restrictions for so long no one remembered what it was like to run the hose outside. Hoses dry rotted on their racks beside spigots. Sprinklers collected cob webs in the garage. Some of the younger children had never been in a swimming pool. Hearty, drought-tolerant weeds overtook whole golf courses, never mind what our yards looked like.  

Since we didn't own a boat, we'd never been on the lake frequently. And since we rarely left our end of the county, we didn't frequent bridges to get a really good look at the water level. If we had we would have seen that the lake was nearly gone. We'd heard on the news that the lake was low, but they'd been squawking about it for literally years. 

In the beginning, the people who moved away were just peripheral 'friends'. You know, the kind who you enjoy seeing day to day, but never really get past the 'Good Morning' phase. Over the last month though I'd lost two close acquaintances to sudden moves. First there were three houses for sale on our street, then 5, and next thing you know we were the last ones on a street of 20 houses. It began to creep me out to see those dark windows watching us. 

Our favorite Mexican restaurant closed, followed shortly after by the best pizza place. Panic would well up in the back of my throat when I took time to think about what was happening, but I managed to squash it back down until the day my son showed me the place on his arm.

He was almost 10 years old by this time so I hadn't seen him naked in the bathtub for many years. He quietly called to me from the bathroom. I could tell by his sheepish tone of voice he was struggling. I approached the closed door and tapped lightly with just my fingertips. The boy before me was no longer a little boy, but an almost-teenager, wrapped tightly in his towel. His eyes flashed panic as he pulled his towel back to reveal the backside of his upper arm and what looked to be scales. Honest to goodness, reptilian scales. Growing with his skin. As a part of his own flesh. 

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