Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Entry #118

Squaring Up
by Aerin Rose


“I need boxers,” I say to my mother hopefully. Mostly Sean gets everything new, and I get passed-down jeans with ripped pockets and shirts with armpit stains. I draw the line at underwear.

“We’ll see if anything’s on sale after I look at ties.” She heads off.

That was easy. Mom must be in a sentimental mood. UNLV’s been courting Sean with a full basketball scholarship since he won the championship last year. There’s just the formality of the interview, which is why we’re at the mall after practice, buying suits we can’t afford.

On the thinly carpeted floors in the hallway of the men’s dressing room, I stretch out my legs, turn up the volume on the iPod I worked all summer to buy. Ten minutes later, I peer under the cheap particleboard partitions to see if Sean’s done. My brother’s sitting, still in his own clothes, staring at a piece of paper.

“Sean? What’s up?” He doesn’t stop me when I open the door, reach down to grab the note.

The words stay low, stuck in his throat. “I’m off the team. Coach said it’s lucky I’m not expelled.” I tower over him. I’d kept his secret, but now. He’s in deep.

“Tell Mom I’m going to look at boxers.” I drop the paper.

I trip out of the dressing room, walk down the hall, through the men’s department, onto the escalator, up, high, higher.


(Aerin is a mom, a theologian, and a Facebook addict. Come join the 2009 Writing Challenge!)

34 comments:

J.C. Montgomery said...

This story hits home in many ways as my son plays basketball and I live in NV. LOL

I love how you've grabbed my attention from the get go, keeping it with a well flowing story, and the ending. Just open ended enough to let my imagination fill in the blanks. (and want more...hehe)

Well done.

laughingwolf said...

nicely done, aerin :D

JR's Thumbprints said...

I like how you set this up around a dressing room and end it with the narrator's discovery.

Precie said...

Nicely done! I was totally hooked.

Dottie said...

Aerin, I'm glad you entered the contest. I think it's so tricky to develop three characters in such a short space, but you've done it so well and still created a fully developed story. Nice work.

McKoala said...

Doesn't this just capture the torture of siblinghood? Really nice.

September said...

This was good. I felt like I was watching a scene in a movie - good job. You captured emotions well.

Lena said...

it is amazing how just in 250 words you showed one entire scene, expressed emotions and feelings and kept the readers glued to your story.
Beautiful!

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

You have brought out the emotions of the protagonist so well!Good one :)

Watters Edge said...

Lot's of detail and "clarity" in so short a space. Really hooked into the younger brothers' character.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I enjoyed this from start to finish..great characterization.

Scott said...

I can totally feel this. The family can't afford to buy anything, and yet here is the mother buying a suit that is basically no longer needed. Ouch.

Margaret said...

Great characters, so well emphasized in so little words. I can just visualize the two brothers and their Mother. Well done...

strugglingwriter said...

Very well written. I like this a lot. I really like the narrator.

This was a very good scene. I wonder what the brother did?

Paul (entry 26)

BernardL said...

You had me right from the start and craving more at the end. :)

Aine said...

Yes-- just where are those boxers?... Oh, the tension. I don't blame him for dashing out of there!

JaneyV said...

Do you know what I love most about your writing? (besides, like, everything?) it's the interaction between siblings. You write family dialogue so beautifully. With heart and realism.

This piece has everything; strong narrative, excellent dialogue, tension, dashed expectations. All in 250 or less? Girl you are goooood!

bluesugarpoet said...

Ditto on how well you've captured the dynamics between siblings. Great story!

jana

Aniket Thakkar said...

Nicely done Aerin... I kinda like wearing my bro's old shirts... Maybe coz I admired him on everything he did... still do!! Thanks for an excellent read!

Karen said...

I love the ending -- going up, up, up, I'm sure!

Lauri said...

Sad, but very nice. Love the pace and the truthfulness.

Catvibe said...

Relationships between brothers are often difficult and riddled with tension. Nice job of portraying this, although I'm dying to know Sean's wrong doing now. :-)

BrownPhantom said...

Yes, brothers are very much like that. I am going to send a cheque to my younger brother right now for always having to use my passed-down clothes & school-books :).

pjd said...

Hey Aerin, I only want to say "right back at ya." Use your own words from your comment on my piece. This has strength, tragedy, hope, despair. Very good.

Senorita said...

@ aerin... nicely done...

Terry said...

Aerin, you made me smile with your first paragraph, and then the story just kept getting better. I can tell you've been at this writing thing for awhile! I wish you would develop this story. I'm sure it would be a great read. Well done.

Sarah Hina said...

Riveting work, Aerin. The pain of the narrator's resentment, and the troubled relationship between the boys, felt very authentic. This was understated, but infinitely complex in the emotions at play. I felt a hollow pang of true life when it was done. Poignant last sentence, too.

Wonderful work, as always. I always look forward to your entries! :)

Vesper said...

I loved your piece, Aerin. The characters felt very real to me. Well done!

SzélsőFa said...

Great job, Aerin.
Your true characters hook the reader. How painful yet promising this situation can be...

Tina said...

Just like what everyone said, this is a very good piece. The interaction between the siblings feel very real. :D

Linda Courtland said...

I love the feeling of ascension you've created at the end. I can feel it. Well done!

Ÿ∂ Μ Î ŋÎ said...

Nicely done, Aerin. It was a good read :)

Terry said...

You have some really great things going on in this story. Congratulations on placing so well amongst so many talented writers.

jason evans said...

Congratulations on the honorable mention!

Great job with pacing, entertainment value, technical skill, storytelling, and voice! And welcome to the Forties Club!!

Thanks for being a wonderful part of the contest.