Friday, February 28, 2014

Beach Writers: February Starter Sentence

My local beach writers group inspires us to write every month by proposing a starter sentence and we finish the thought. It's interesting to see how many different directions one idea can take us.  If you'd like to read my fellow writer's musings, click here

”Flight 142 for Cleveland is now boarding…” 

Holy hell. When the stewardess said those words, the Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza I’d nibbled at 30 minutes earlier turned into a ball of cement in my stomach.  What in the world was I thinking going back to Cleveland?

To a homecoming event, no less? 

I’d been bullied by my classmates from preschool through 7th grade, when I’d moved from Cleveland to Charleston South Carolina to live with—and eventually be adopted by--my Aunt Sue.

Life deals out tragedies and I’d had more than my share when my mother, father and baby brother died in a fire in our trailer home.  I hadn’t been home because I’d snuck out and walked to the 7 to 11 to get a Snickers bar (my comfort food of choice after a particularly nasty taunting in gym class that day) and had taken the long route home to avoid passing Rocko Cavenaugh’s house.  While I was gone momma fired up the deep fryer to make my favorite home made fries but had fallen asleep while the oil heated up.  Daddy had been to the Home Depot and drove up as the trailer went up in flames.  He died trying to save momma and Robbie.  I’d never been back to visit the spot, as I’d been whisked off to a foster home that night where I was incarcerated one long painful week until Aunt Sue came and got me. 

The silver lining, if you can ever have a silver lining in a situation like that, was that Aunt Sue took good care of me, loved me to pieces, paid for my braces, and most importantly taught me the ways to dress and use make up which improved my self-confidence.  A true Ugly-Duckling story that had me doing some print modeling as a teenager.  Only nobody back in Cleveland ever knew, because I’d changed my name when I was adopted, and certainly nobody would ever equate the glamorous woman on the cover of Charleston Today with the scrawny, stringy-haired brunette who wore glasses with lenses as thick as the Bell jars Aunt Sue used for canning sweet pickles.

Actually, it was my psychologist who’d suggested I might benefit from “closure” seeing the spot where I’d played as a child and facing some of my childhood “ghosts.”  Her bad choice of words, not mine. 

I now considered myself beautiful and confident and wildly successful.  And I wanted the people from the Garfield Heights High School class of 1983 to know it.
But when I heard the boarding announcement, all that confidence flew out the window.

“Last call for flight 142 for Cleveland.”

Time to go. It was now...or never.