Saturday, October 12, 2013

You feel like a hundred times yourself

Milan and Olga

I've been wanting to try some writing exercises, so my new hobby is finding old photographs and trying to write a story based off them. Here's my first attempt.

Milan came back too tall for his mother. Twenty-two years old, but those last six inches -- grown while he was away at school becoming an accountant, "a man, ma, with real prospects" -- made him seem a good decade older than the boy she had reluctantly let leave. He had grown a mustache, just like his piece of shit father had worn when she met him outside the 5-and-Dime. And Milan wore a suit, which his father had never once done, not even at his own funeral. He had insisted he be buried in the outfit he wore every day, white t-shirt, Dickies Bib overalls. "But will the neighbors think?" she had asked. "They'll say that Olga didn't even keep enough for a burial. They'll say we're immigrants."

"We are immigrants," he said then turned on his heels, pushed through to the yard. The screen door's slap told her it was done.

Milan hadn't come for the funeral. Too many classes, he had said. But he sent a card and a dying bouquet of peonies. No one asked about him at the funeral. His father's get-up was story enough. But two years later, here her boy stood. This time, the peonies were still alive.

"So," Olga said. "Tell me about the girl."