Paige in the Aftermath

For everyone just joining the adventures of Paige, be sure to check out two other shorts involving her.  Paige: An Introduction, and Paige and the Craigslist Ad.  These are short scenes written with the intention of being compiled into a novel…eventually.

I hope you enjoy!

**********

Paige woke up to a sunlight filled room and birds chirping outside her window. She could feel warmth spreading from the spot in bed behind her. She stretched and rolled over, already smiling at Alex next to her. Alex wasn’t next to her. Paige’s half-asleep mind jolted awake.

The comforting warmth was from the sun, but that realization only chilled her. Alex was gone, and that thought frightened her. Yesterday they had broken up, and that memory killed her.

She slowly laid back down, her mind going numb. Frame by frame she remembered the events of yesterday. Each one added a weight to her already sinking heart. She closed her eyes and pulled the covers over her face. The bright morning sunshine was no longer welcome in her world.

However it was the birds incessant calls that finally motivated Paige to get up.  Their chipper sounds were unbearable to her gloomy mood.  She reluctantly crawled out of bed, lamenting her haven between the covers.  As Paige moved towards the door, she tripped over a pile of clothes.  She let out a frustrated growl.  Today was not going to be a good day.

She walked into the kitchen and turned the light on.  Her eyes were immediately drawn to the refrigerator.  Its usually empty door was now home to a piece of lined paper with writing on it.  Paige paused, not sure if she wanted to read what was on it.  Eventually her curiosity won over her fear.  She walked over and pulled the paper off the fridge.  Her hands shook as she read.

Paige-

I didn’t want to wake you up. I hope you see this. We need to talk. I’ll be with Brady most of today but I’ll be back around 5. Please be here to talk.

-Alex

She stared at the note for a minute before taping it back on the fridge. She knew she should feel nervous, anxious, sad, depressed.  But she didn’t. Instead she just felt numb.

Paige glanced at the clock on the microwave. 9:14am. There would be at least seven hours before she saw Alex again. She mindlessly opened the fridge door and gazed at the contents without really seeing them. Mechanically she took the milk out, then grabbed a box of cereal. Reaching into another cupboard she picked up a bowl. She opened the top drawer by the fridge and grabbed a spoon.

Paige was running on auto-pilot as she poured cereal into the bowl. It took her a minute of shaking the cereal box before she realized she had already poured its entire contents out. She frowned at the small pile of cereal in the half-filled bowl. “Really? Only half a bowl left?” Paige muttered in exasperation.  “Today is just awful.”  She sighed then grabbed the milk carton.

After ritually preparing the cereal she walked to the living room and set her bowl down by the couch.  Turning on the TV, Paige put on Pride and Prejudice. She settled onto the couch and grabbed her bowl of cereal.

“Nothing like forgetting about your love life while watching someone else’s,” she said to herself.  Paige observed herself and her surroundings, noting her sloppy state of dress and sad breakfast.  “Especially over a bowl of cereal,” she added sorrowfully.

As the movie started Paige took a bite of cereal.  Her face instantly soured, and she quickly spat the mouthful back in the bowl.   She sat there stupidly, staring at it.

The milk was bad.

A small tear gathered in the corner of her eye.  She couldn’t even enjoy her cereal.  The tear swelled.  It slowly started to fall down her cheek, followed by another.  There was nothing she could enjoy.

Before Paige knew what to do, all of her emotions spilled out into tears.  Everything she had been holding back fell like rain into her forgotten cereal.

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Violet of the Palouse

I wrote this piece a while ago, but I was motivated to touch it up and present it to you after reading a fantastic post over at A Word or More by Rebecca T. Dickinson.  I really recommend checking her blog out, and the specific post I’m referring to is When Location Should Matter.

This short piece was inspired by my current place of residence, an area in Eastern Washington State/Northern Idaho called the Palouse.  Here’s a great gallery of pictures from the area, if you’re interested.  As always, I’d love to hear feedback from you guys, what you liked or didn’t like about my writing, and advice for improvement.

**********

Streaks of flaming orange clouds stretched across the sky.  They struck like lightning before a crystal blue backdrop,  highlighting the rolling green hills.  The massacred rainbow across the horizon contradicted the serene peace it brought to Violet.

She sat atop one of the giant green hills, her face illuminated by the sunset.  Eyes closed, arms outstretched, she welcomed the land.  Gusts of wind embraced her in return.  The circling air carried the fresh scent of wheat and barley across the rising and descending fields.  Violet inhaled deeply.

In that moment she was completely at peace.  It was the only place she could truly escape to.  There was life everywhere, but it didn’t smother her.  It was a place of solitude without making her feel alone.  It was a special spot.  And yet, she never claimed it as her own.  Rather, it was the land that owned her.  The wind, the hills, and the striking skies refused to leave Violet alone.  She was at the mercy of nature, answering the calls of tempestuous sunsets, golden summer days, and white-out winter mornings.

Exhaling, Violet slowly lowered her arms.  She opened her eyes to the view.  The darkening green sea of mounds seemed to stretch out infinitely before her.   The rolling fields told her their stories in untamed waves.  Violet took it all in, memorizing the curves, slopes, and shadows.  She read the hills, willingly soaking up what the land offered her.

They told her of  peace and tranquility.  They spoke about existing wild and free.  They taught her how to just be.  The land existed, if for no other reason than to share its wisdom with the world.  It had called out to Violet, yearning to be heard.  But it was in silence that the land spoke to her.  And she listened, stopped in time as the world moved around her.

The fading light hailed her attention upwards.  She sat down and quietly watched as the bright colors seeped out of the clouds.  It started slowly, almost timidly.  But it soon picked up the pace, like a butterfly realizing how close it was to breaking free of its cocoon.  The clouds swiftly succumbed to dark greys, blues, and purples.  The world’s transition from day to night was almost at an end.  Just like Violet’s time there.

Cold air lashed through her sweatshirt as a whip of wind hit her.  She shivered, momentarily distracted from her reverie.  Violet grabbed the blanket beside her and wrapped herself within it.  She gingerly laid down on the rough earth.  Her thoughts softened as she stared up at the wild blue yonder.  Stars slowly started to emerge, twinkling in the inky sky.  They greeted her as an old friend.

Her eyes darted to the side, barely catching a shooting star.  A sad smile graced her face.  Violet closed her eyes and blew her wish into the lilting wind.  She pictured it flowing around the hills, swirling and blanketing the fields.  In the morning, her wish would be the frost glittering on the stalks.  Through spidery roots it would seep into the land.  It would enrich the soil, growing, spreading, living.  If she ever came to this hilltop again, the land would remember her and that wish.

Bittersweet blue eyes opened.  A sigh escaped pale lips.  The stars blinked in uneasiness to Violet, her thoughts having reached even the farthest corners of existence.  There was no hiding her leaving now.  She knew it was time.

Violet stood up, the wind no longer embracing her.  The air was still, silencing the night.  She quickly folded her blanket, disliking drawn out good-byes.  Violet turned in a full circle, trying her hardest to commit the starlit countryside to memory.  It was in vain.  Only a shadow of the landscape would remain with her, unless she returned.

“I wish that I will see you again, my friend,” Violet whispered, letting the words float like feathers to the ground.  She took one last, long look before walking away from the place that called her its own.

Paige and the Craigslist Ad

This is the second little short for my ongoing writings on Paige Macintosh.  You can read the first installment here.  I’m writing these out of chronological order, there will be gaps, but I hope you enjoy the mini-stories of Paige regardless.  I also hope you have as much fun reading this one as I did writing it!  As always, comments and insights are very welcome here.

**********

Paige’s phone vibrated on the pillow next to her. She looked up from her book, eyeing her phone with suspicion. A minute of silence followed before it vibrated again. Sighing, she grabbed her phone and checked her messages.

Lacey: Heyyy girl! You coming out or what?
Lacey: Imma take the silence as a no, slut. Your missin out!

“I told you I wasn’t going to go anyways,” Paige said to no one in particular.  She tossed her phone back on the bed without replying back.

It was the first Friday of the month, marking Lacey and her roommate’s monthly party. This month’s theme was CEO’s & Office Ho’s. Paige didn’t actually enjoy these parties, but she had considered attending this one just to get out of the apartment. However, after a close inspection of her closet she determined she didn’t own anything slutty or suity enough to wear.

So instead of being ground on by drunken suit-donning guys, she was at home in her pajamas, attempting to take her mind off of matters by reading. It was working well at first, but then Lacey texted her, and a heavy bass line kicked up in the apartment above. Of course there would be no peace for her on Friday.

Paige eventually gave up on reading and walked out into the living room.  A loud thud followed by yells filtered through the ceiling.  She glanced up, bemused.  Unable to decipher their words, she turned away and shook her head.

“Must be some party,” she said, walking over to her stack of DVD’s.  Paige sat down on the floor, trying to decide what she was in the mood to watch.  Moulin Rouge?  Too sad.  The Boondock Saints?  Too violent.  I Heart Huckabees?  Too existential.  She paused as she came across the last movie in the pile.  A smile spread across her face.  The Princess Bride?  Just right, as always.

Another wave of exclamations floated down to her from above.  “Ugh, I’m probably the only person not doing anything tonight. I need different friends,” she muttered as she turned on the PS3.  She put the DVD in, frowning as the console made a loud whirring noise in protest.  A steady round of clicking noises sounded.  “That’s definitely not good,” she said.  There was a final click before the PS3 shut itself off.  Paige blinked in disbelief.

“No, don’t do this to me!” Paige pleaded to the console.  She turned it back on, trying again.  Despite her efforts, the PS3 refused to cooperate.  “I just can’t win!” She cried.  Pouting, she put the DVD back and resigned herself to the couch.

She picked up her laptop and mindlessly started browsing the internet.  After an hour of Facebook and StumbleUpon Paige eventually found herself on Craigslist.  The cursor hovered over the usual ‘jobs’ category.  Before she clicked, something on the left caught her eye.  It was the first line under the Personals section.  Strictly Platonic.  Is that a fancy way of saying ‘looking for friends’?  

Paige shrugged and clicked the link anyways.  Her head tilted as she read the titles.

Just looking for some fun  m4w – 24
Hella bored, some1 hit me up!  m4mw  19
Looking for a gal pal to chill with!
new 2 town lets hang out, 420 friendly  21
Workout Buddy!  w4w –  26

She rolled her eyes.  “I can’t believe people actually respond to these!  Aren’t there any intelligent people who post here?”  She questioned.  Scanning the Ads, she finally found a decent title.

I’m just looking for someone nice to talk to.  m4w  – 23

“Hmm, he doesn’t seem so bad,” she remarked.  “Oh! There’s even a picture!  Maybe he’s cute,” Paige said excitedly.  She clicked the link and read the description.

Just looking for a girl to talk to and chill with, maybe watch some movies together or what not.  Hopefully it can lead to something more.  Hit me up if you like my pic.  Reply with your fav color so I know youre real.

She scrolled down, expecting a generic Facebook photo.  What she got, however, was a good dose of erect penis in her face.

Paige reeled back, her eyes wide.  He wasn’t even trying to hide anything, not that he needed to, she observed.  She quickly exited the browser, feeling dirty.  “Oh that was so not platonic!”  She exclaimed.  “It probably wasn’t even his!”

Slowly she started to smile, then laugh.  Paige sat there for several minutes, not even trying to suppress her giggles.

“I think I deserved that,” she said to herself, still cackling.

Paige: An Introduction

This piece is quite different from what I usually write.  It’s one of many short writings that I plan on eventually accumulating into a novel of sorts.  The story of Paige is loosely based on myself, even her name coming from what my parents almost named me.  So, I write about Paige when something significant or striking happens, or almost happens, to me.  This has been left unedited intentionally because I wish to preserve the short stories as they are until I finally compile them and can edit them as one.

Also, I realize the majority of people, aka, everyone who has subscribed so far, who read my blog, are pretty much the opposite of my intended target audience for this.  But on the off chance you like it, feel free to let me know. 🙂

**********

There is a rumor that your life flashes before your eyes when faced with death. For Paige Macintosh, however, that time came sooner. Although she was in no real danger of dying, life as she knew it was indeed ending. Paige was sitting on a ratty brown couch picked up while dumpster diving. Her soon to be ex-boyfriend was currently pacing a hole in the carpet in front of the couch. His ranting words were lost on the girl who was preoccupied by her own life story.

Age 4: She watches enviously as her brother gets to hold the puppy on the ride home. Age 9: The room is filled with laughter as her cousins make fun of her. Paige would never care for them again. Age 15: She’s sitting on the curb with her mom, watching the tow truck pull the car out of a ditch. Results of her first driving lesson. Age 18: The dorm room is impossibly small to be sharing with the wild room mate she just met. Age 21: Looking at the letter of dismissal from the college. Enter depression. Age 22: Paige’s boyfriend gives her a big hug after they finish moving boxes into their new apartment.

Now: She’s getting dumped. Again.

“I don’t know what more I can do Paige. How am I supposed to keep looking after you when you won’t let me and refuse to do it yourself? I thought things would change but apparently I was wrong,” Alex said, finally standing still and looking at her. The movie reel of her life ended. Everything culminated to this very point in time and she wasn’t even paying attention. She didn’t need to. Paige knew full well what was about to happen, why her mind replayed every significant memory. Realizing this, she faced Alex for the first time since he started talking. “Well? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“I’m not sure what to say,” her voice was quiet and timid. Alex looked at her incredulously. Paige averted her eyes. “What? What do you want to hear from me?”

“I don’t know…something! You sit there silently, as if this doesn’t even matter to you anymore.” He waited for her to reply. When she didn’t say anything he threw his arms up in defeat. “I give up. I’m done with this. Paige, you’ve become impossible to deal with. I’m leaving.” With that Alex grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.

“Wait! Alex…are you breaking up with me?” For the first time in three weeks she actually cared about what the outcome was.

“Yeah, I guess I am,” he said, before slamming the door behind him. Stunned silence followed.

All her hopes, dreams, and happy memories shattered like a wine glass in the wrong place on moving day. Paige could see her fragmented thoughts imbedding themselves into the carpet, where just minutes before her boyfriend had stood. Time didn’t stop, but Paige’s life was stuck on this singular frame. Minutes passed into hours as she sat unmoving. Her mind was numb, unwilling to process what just happened and what it meant for her. Instead, she sat there, going over all the now broken memories she shared with Alex. What were once beautiful scenes were reduced to shards, threatening to cut through her heart if she dared tried to put them back together. She didn’t dare.

Her life was sitting before her in ruins, and she didn’t have the will to put it back together. Was there even a point to try and fix things? She was estranged from her parents, didn’t have a job, and had dropped out of college. Not only that, but her boyfriend just walked out on her and the apartment they shared. How would she pay for it? If he came back and kicked her out then where would she live? Paige suddenly imagined herself selling all her possessions, moving to a big city and either becoming a crazy homeless person, or a prostitute.

The horror of her prospective future catapulted her mind back to the present. It was almost dark out, and had been at least an hour since Alex had stormed out of the apartment. He had to come back at some point, and when he did, Paige would be ready. She started rehearsing what she would say to win Alex back. Becoming a crack whore was not an option.

The Baker: A Character Study

This is a simple short story written about one of the main characters of a new novel concept I’m working on.  I’m pretty much just exploring the character and the world.  Most likely this will be the first of several short stories to help me further develop my ideas.  Also, I am very open to critiques/comments/suggestions about my writing.  I’d love to hear feedback.

**********

The brick oven was slowly spreading it’s warmth around the bakery. The sun had yet to rise and Walter was thankful he wouldn’t have to work in the frigid cold for long. He had always hated the cold, preferring the sweltering bakery when it was busy. But, he knew when he accepted the apprenticeship that the early mornings would not be kind.

Walter let his hands linger at the opening of the oven for a moment longer before finally turning around. His eyes roamed the small room, mapping out the rest of his day at the bakery. He was tasked with starting up the oven and making the first rounds of dough for baking. It would be another hour before Stephan, the master baker, arrived. Until then the bakery was his. At least, in his mind it was.

When his scarred hands stopped freezing he knew it was time to start the dough. He strode over to the stacked sacks of flour. A small grunt escaped as he hoisted one of the sacks over his shoulder. The resounding thud of burlap on wood almost surprised him as he shouldered the flour onto a table. It was the loudest thing he’d heard all morning.

He made quick work of gathering and measuring all the ingredients. Walter moved around the bakery with the efficiency of a hard learned baker. It had been three years since Stephan took him as an apprentice. He was 14 at the time, orphaned with no place to go. The aging baker had no sons of his own, and he took pity on Walter. An easy agreement was made between the two. Stephan would teach Walter an invaluable trade, while Walter would help around the bakery and tackle the tasks too laborious for the baker. Luckily, Walter picked up the trade quickly and easily. He even enjoyed the work, which was evident in the inimitable breads he baked.

At the moment, he was mixing one such batch. When the dough started to ball he split it into halves for kneading. He smoothly floured a table and grabbed the first batch of dough for the morning. A plume of flour shot into the air as dense, pliable dough hit the wood table. Dexterous fingers quickly went to work, kneading the mound.

Push. Fold. Smash. Quarter-turn.

The process was a simple, if arduous one.

Push. Fold. Smash. Quarter-turn.

There was a certain clarity of mind that came with the repetitive motions.

Push. Fold. Smash. Quarter-turn.

For Walter, it marked the only thoughtless and worry-free time he possessed.

Push. Fold. Smash. Quarter-turn. SMACK!

Every fourth quarter-turn he lifted the dough then briskly slammed it back onto the table. The satisfying sound immediately fell into a rhythm. A methodical melody filled the small bakery, serenading none but Walter.

Slowly but surely the dough transformed from a viscous mass into a smooth slab. When Walter was satisfied with the texture of the dough he set it aside to rise. Before starting on the second mass he grabbed a towel and wiped the sweat form his forehead. The physical exertion and the heat from the oven had rapidly warmed him up. He chanced a glance out the shutters, and saw the sky was beginning to lighten. He had to get working again if he was to have the dough in the oven by the time Stephan arrived. Ignoring the burning in his muscles, Walter grabbed the second piece of dough and vigorously began to knead.

By the time Stephan entered the shop, Walter had already scaled the risen dough and put it in the oven. Now he was working on specialty breads, and barely looked up when Stephan walked in. The master baker walked over to the brick oven to examine the bread inside. He shook his head with a smile.

“Perfectly scaled and shaped,“ he praised. “Maybe I should let you take over the shop tomorrow, eh?”

That caught Walter’s attention. He paused and looked up at Stephan. His dark, young eyes met Stephan’s wise blue ones. Walter determined the old man was joking, but he made sure to remember that remark.

“I dunno Master Stephan. Who would buy all my flat and burnt pastries?” Walter asked with a guilty smile. Bread and rolls he had mastered, but the art of pastries still eluded him.

Stephan chuckled as he made his way across the bakery. “When I have the resources to waste good pastries on you, I’ll let you practice,” he teased Walter. “Til then, you’re stuck on bread, my boy.”

“I know, I know,” Walter said with a sigh. He wasn’t entirely sure the old man just wanted to keep his precious secrets to himself. But he was determined to learn, no matter how long it took. If Walter was sure of anything in this world, it was that he was going to be a baker and take over Master Stephan’s bakery.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Do you remember?

Everyone has feelings of nostalgia from time to time.  It can be of memories either happy or sad.  This is a piece about a couple who are no longer together. It’s mostly fiction but drawn from some of my experiences.  I also wanted to play around with narrative styles.  This isn’t technically 2nd person since I still use the 1st person “I” predominantly, but it’s worth noting that I think it’s a very under-rated writing style.   I find the use of 2nd person very intimate and  when used well it can be a much better vehicle for transporting the reader into the scene.

**********

The warm kitchen lights were bright enough to light the tiny apartment. Chilly air crept through the opened window. I shivered, but refused to close the window because the room was still filled with cleaning chemicals, having just finished cleaning the place. I plopped down on the couch in victory- or defeat, I’m still not sure which. Conquering the dishes, piles of paper, books, and miscellaneous clutter took longer than we had counted on.

I was sitting on our broken blue couch, holding my camera that I thought I had lost. This time I vowed to keep everything clean. I couldn’t believe my camera had been in the apartment the entire two months.

You walked from the kitchen to the couch, a big smile on your face. “I told you it wasn’t gone forever! The apartment just ate it up,” you said to me. You wrapped your arms around me as we nestled into each other on the couch. Laying my head on your shoulder, I looked up at you and smiled. You always did know how to make me feel better.

I glanced back down at my hands. Browsing through the pictures on my camera, I finally came to the most recent one. I had taken it two months ago, right before I misplaced it in the black hole that was our apartment. That wouldn’t do. It was unacceptable to go over two months between pictures.

Spontaneously I reached out and snapped a quick photo of us. You were unprepared, and protested when the flash went off. “You need to warn me before you take a picture!” You said, pouting. I giggled and held the camera back up.

“Okay, ready?” I asked. You nodded and gave the camera your fake smile. I took another picture. We both looked at the results. Blurry. “Aww! That one would have been so good if my hand didn’t shake!” I was disappointed. I hit the back button on my camera to see the first picture. Surprisingly it wasn’t bad.

We were comfortably cuddling on the couch. You were looking down at me with nothing but love on your face. I wore a huge grin. We looked completely happy. We were completely happy. It was the perfect snapshot into our lives. In that moment it was just us. We didn’t have to worry about work, school, or even chores around the apartment. There was no distracting television or movie on. There wasn’t even music setting a mood, because we made the mood.

I suppose it was one of those rare moments where everything fit perfectly together. I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I wasn’t even trying to capture the moment. All I was doing was warming up my long forgotten camera. It’s funny how the world works that way. Everything comes together when you stop expecting it to.

If only it would have stayed that way.

There’s a dull ache when I look at this photo. Do you feel it too? Do you even remember this picture? But-I’m being too sentimental. It might be best for me to throw old photos out. My nostalgia weighs too greatly on my mind. But you never had that problem. And maybe that’s what hurts the most. The fact that you don’t think about me nearly as much as I think about you. You’ve moved on in ways that I can’t bring myself to. I don’t want to forget, to let go.

So I keep this photograph around. It reminds me that once upon a time, we were perfect together.

The Projectionist

I had the amazing pleasure of watching the movie Hugo this weekend. It was equal parts magic, innocence, and wonder.

**********

A final click sounded as the crank reel stopped. The thick canvas screen which had grabbed the audiences attention with wonder, now became blank. A satisfied murmur filled the stuffy room. Slowly people began to trickle out of the theater.

The projectionist packed the reel away, being careful not to scratch the delicate film. Wrinkled fingers gingerly closed the hard leather case. The elderly man pushed his glasses up on his nose as he looked about the dim theater. His gaze paused when he saw a small tuft of hair sticking up behind one of the seats. Somebody must have fallen asleep and no one woke him up. He gently set the case down on the floor. The faded red carpet muffled his oxford shoes as he walked down the aisle.

“Excuse me, but the picture show has ended,” he said, approaching the seated figure. His eyebrows raised slightly as a child’s head popped up from behind the seat. Two eyes peered inquisitively at him. He filed his way down the row just behind the child, getting a better look as he moved closer. She sat on her knees facing him, little arms crossed over the back of the seat. The dim light did nothing to hide her dirty clothes. Her dark hair was matted and messy.

The projectionists gaze softened. “Do you have anywhere else to go?” he asked. His deep voice expanded in the air, filling the theater with its presence.

The girl shook her head. “But I’m not looking for somewhere else to go,” she piped in a timid voice. “I want to stay here and keep watching.”

A smile spread on the projectionists face. “I feel the same, child. But alas, it has ended, and we find ourselves back in the real world. We can’t keep living in the picture shows, you know that, don’t you?” He took the time to deliberately choose his words.

The girl gazed up thoughtfully at the old man. “I know we can’t, but I still want to,” she said. She tilted her head slightly, thinking hard. “I wish we could jump in the screen when a moving picture is playin’, and be a part of it. Then people could watch us runnin’ around on there, havin’ fun. And if they wanted to, they could come too.”

An earthy laugh rumbled through the air. “If everyone jumped into the canvas, then who would be here to run this world?”

“Who cares if we’re all in there?” She replied, pointing at the screen behind her. A smile graced her grubby face.

“I see your point, young lady,” the projectionist said, returning her smile. “Perhaps you will have to dream up your own picture show. You can write about your adventures in Film Land. I know the maker of these shows would love to hear your stories.”

The child’s eyes briefly lit up. However, as the idea sank in she slowly dropped her gaze, slumping in her seat. “I don’t know how to write. I’d never be able to get my stories to him,” she murmured morosely.

The devastated child caused the projectionists heart to swell. She sat before him, so hopeless. “Look at me, child,” he said softly. “Have you any parents?”

She shook her head, avoiding his gaze.

“Do you have a home, or anyone to look after you?”

Again, her small head shook. She trembled, on the verge of tears.

The projectionist fell silent. He saw something of himself in the girl. There was a wonderment about her, and he knew he had to help her. “Well, that is about to change, I’ve decided. If you’d like, you can come home with me. I’ll feed you, clothe you, and give you a home,” he stated, giving his chin a rub. “In return, I expect you to put forth an effort to learn to read and write under my supervision. Does that sound like something you would want?” He asked, eyeing the girl closely.

Her head shot up to look at him. A look of confusion clouded her face. “But…why?” she asked, stunned. “No one is ever nice to orphans like me. Why would you take me in?”

A smile pulled on the corner of his mouth. “I see great potential in you. You have the creative spark, I know it,” his voice was filled with warmth. “You could have a very bright future, and one day, you might even be making picture shows of your own.”

“Do you really think I could?” she asked. Her confusion caved under the excitement of the thought.

“Everything you can dream you can do,” he replied with a twinkle in his eyes. “All the people who were here, left the theater with excitement. If you work hard at it, you could be the one reaching out to them with your dreams and stories.”

“But how do you know they’ll want to listen to my stories? I don’t think I could imagine greater ones than the picture show you just played.”

He let out a hearty laugh. “My dear child, don’t you know? I am the creator of that film!” He paused for a moment, enjoying the surprise on the little girl’s face. “I think I ought to be able to decide whether or not people will come to see your shows. Now that I think about it, I may need someone with your expertise on my next show!”

The projectionist continued speaking, but his words never made it to the girl. She was too busy imagining what her first picture show would be. Maybe, just maybe, she could make one as captivating as the projectionist had.

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