Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Story Post!

So...I've decided to do something a bit daring. My blog is boring, and what with nothing much going on in my life right now, I figured I'd do something bold and different. From time to time, as many of you know, I dabble in creative writing.  This is a piece I wrote a year or two back, while still in grad school.  It was a piece of random inspiration from the song "Photograph" by Def Leppard (yes, laugh all you want). The writing prompt I used was to begin with the line "it was the one thing he coveted the most." It is a Harry Potter fanfic (yes, go laugh some more). I don't own the Harry Potter universe, etc etc. Being American, there may be some cultural incongruities and whatnot; I've done only minimal amounts of editing since I wrote it.  It's also been a while since I've read the Potter series, so there may be some inconsistencies. Feel free to comment, but please be kind. Enjoy (or not).

It was the one thing he coveted the most.  A photograph, dog-eared and yellow with age, which he kept in the drawer of his nightstand.  In the picture a young girl, roughly ten years of age, ran from the camera, but her face and upper body was turned toward it.  Despite the sun exposure one could  still see the girl’s long hair is a vivid red, and her mouth was turned upward and open in a laugh frozen in time.  He still admired, after all these years, the way her hair fanned out to the side, chopped off by the edge of the photo.  The color of her eyes was indiscernible, but he knew they were green.
The photo had been taken nearly thirty years prior.  He and Lily had met on the playground, their usual hangout.  It was a holiday weekend, but neither of their families had any plans to go anywhere.  The playground had been completely empty, which pleased Severus; he liked to imagine himself in a world where only he and Lily existed.  It was bright and sunny, and comfortably warm.  The pair usually avoided the play structures, opting instead to talk and play on the fringes of the playground amidst the trees, but the absence of any other children made them less inhibited.  They sat in the caboose of a wooden train, and Severus told her more about the magical world.
“Guess what I have,” Lily smiled mischievously, her hands reaching into her satchel.  Severus leaned forward eagerly, excited by the gleam in her eyes.  With a dramatic wave of her arm, she pulled out a disposable camera.  Severus’ smile dimmed a little, but Lily was undeterred.  She coaxed him off the train and out into the open.  “I want to start a scrapbook, and I need you in it!”
“It’s a Muggle camera,” he replied somewhat sourly, squinting in the sun.  He had a hard time keeping still; cameras (Muggle-made or not) made him uneasy.
“So?” Lily retorted.  “Don’t just stand there, do something!”
His patience was wearing thin.  “Like what?”  He felt unexpectedly weary; the sun’s heat was bearing down directly on him and his dark, baggy clothing.  But it was too late, for Lily quickly raised her arms and took a picture of him in mid-sentence.
She flashed him another cheeky smile.  “Candid camera!”  In a burst of annoyance, Severus made an attempt to grab the camera from her, but she darted away laughing, and continued to turn and take pictures behind her as the pursuit turned into a game.  He chased her through the playground, over and under bridges, down slides, and through tunnels.  Finally, he cornered her near the monkey bars and managed to take the camera from her.  “Wait,” she reached for it, “I have an idea.”  She wrapped an arm around his shoulder and leaned against him, with her face towards the camera as they both held it.  He felt his stomach leap at the closeness of her body, and blinked at the flash.  She withdrew quickly, but let go of the camera and ran off.  On impulse, Severus raised the camera to take a picture just as she began to turn around…
Two days later they met again at the playground.  Severus noticed that she had a paper bag which he immediately recognized as the kind the pharmacy put developed photos into.  Lily steered him toward a picnic table and they sat down.  “I got doubles,” she explained, “but most of these didn’t come out.”  She pulled out a stack of glossy photos.  Looking through them, Severus noticed that most were of him, but extremely blurry.  He rushed through his stack, eager to see only one picture.  He was met with disappointment; the left side of his face had been chopped off by the edge of the photo, and Lily’s face was completely washed out so all one could see were her eyes, and the faint outlines of her mouth and nose.
“I’m still going to put it in my scrapbook,” Lily shrugged.  “It’s the only one with both of us in it.”
Severus flipped to the next, which was the one he had taken of Lily running.  It had turned out surprisingly clear, and he found it striking.  “We should have used a wizard camera,” Severus replied sourly.  Lily did not respond to this comment, replying instead that he could keep one set of the photos if he wanted.  Severus looked them over again, and decided only to keep the one of the two of them and the one he himself had taken.  He hid them in the pocket of his oversized shirt; the last thing he wanted was his father to see them and start asking questions.
Those days seemed a lifetime ago.  Severus ultimately lost the shot of both him and Lily.  The picture, in light of everything that had transpired since, had taken on an almost eerie quality.  But he still had the picture of Lily, frozen in time.  Perhaps it was the wizard in him, but the stillness of the Muggle photograph was profound and unsettling.  It seemed to underscore the fact that Lily was dead, and irrevocably gone.  As he ruminated over it, he tried not to think about what had become of her set of the pictures.  Had she thrown them away? Torn out those particular pages of her scrapbook?  Was his photo, like him, without a partner?  His work was cut out for him, and the photo served as a daily reminder.  He held it dearly; it was the only part of her he possessed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So...apparently I cannot get Blogger to fully function on Chrome, but it works on Mozilla? I need to rethink my new found dedication to Chrome, methinks.

In other news, today is my third day in Michigan. My parents flew in to NC last Thursday for my graduation ceremony, which was held on Friday (pictures forthcoming). Everything went really well, until Saturday when I started to come down with a cold.  I was sick as a dog on Sunday, basically lying in bed all day while my mom continued to pack around me (which didn't make me feel any better). I hate not having any privacy when I feel and look like shit; privacy in my apartment was completely impossible due to the fact that most of the packing boxes were in my bedroom, and with my apartment's layout you have to walk through my bedroom to get to the only bathroom (my parents were staying with me). So I laid there, totally awake and feeling awful, until I got stir-crazy and decided to go out for one last frozen yogurt run with my awesome friend Kim. Monday, my parent and I sat around waiting to hear from the moving company...who failed to call or even SHOW UP, despite the fact that my mom had arranged for them to move us on Monday (the date was printed on the contract she had). On top of it all, my mom couldn't even reach anyone at any of the three numbers or so that she had; this company apparently isn't even OPEN on Mondays! At about noon, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would probably have to explore our other options. We ended up renting a small U-Haul truck, asked a few friends over to help move my stuff into it, and got out on the road at about 2:45. The moving company did end up calling my mom back, nonchalantly asking when we wanted them to arrive THE NEXT DAY, to which my mom told them we had already left (and also gave them a piece of her mind). The drive back was long, but not too difficult. It was surprisingly mild in Michigan, with temperatures in the mid 40s (today we're back in the 30s, but it's sunny outside).

Since returning I have done...very little. Job applications are moving at a crawl, unpacking is being done in spurts, and as yet I have not seen any of my MI friends (I will be seeing a few of them shortly, however). I have a hard time believing that Christmas is almost here. There is no snow on the ground, and there probably will be very little come Christmas day. In good news, I'm SLEEPING!! No Ambien for the last three nights, and I've had wonderful sleep. I don't miss my apartment as I thought I might (although it's still early to tell). I do miss my Gville friends, and my close proximity to everything, though. I hope to see them all in March, hopefully, as our panel got accepted into the Society for Applied Anthropology's conference in Baltimore! Yay! I'm trying to hope that I might have a job by then, but I'm trying to not stress too much about that yet.

That's about it for now. Happy holidays, everyone! :-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On the Eve of My Birthday

...I am working on a cover letter. This is my first job application since finishing my thesis a few weeks ago. My first.  I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo screwed. The letter is a steaming pile so far, due mostly to the fact that I hate talking about myself. Correction: I hate selling myself. If my resume/CV can't convince you that I'm at least worth an interview, then shit. On top of it, I feel like I'm walking on ice with every sentence I type; I want to at least get my ideas out but my inner critic cringes with each word. My adviser is also a brilliant writer, which gives me confidence in his editing abilities, but makes it harder to give him something I know totally sucks.  If only you could be self-deprecating in a cover letter, cuz I would rock that shit.

In other news, tomorrow I face another birthday and a new year of life. I'm hoping it will be better than the last, and at the moment it seems to be looking up, aside from the job situation. My thesis is done, I'm weaning myself off the Ambien, I'll be seeing my family in a few weeks, etc. I'm a little sad to leave Greenville and all the friends I've made, though. I'll miss my crappy apartment, and the little nooks and crannies I've made my home here. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to a new chapter of life (unemployment).  As much as the economy might suck right now, I'm done being a student. Hopefully I can have a relaxing holiday season and not stress about all the unknowns too much.  Knowing my luck, I'll move back home only to get a job in Greenville and move back here all over again. My life tends to be funny like that.