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mocha #1: 'before you could sleep'

title: before you could sleep
author: hi_falootin
rating: G
words: 313
prompt: mocha #1 'I think I can'

summary: Dee was good at sledding, snowmen, hockey. But not at reading, really. Jason gets a story, anyway.

Remember this:

Dee, book open in her lap, legs splayed around it on the motel comforter.

"Come on," she'd say, "Let me read it to you."

You remember her like that: knobby knees, chest flat as yours, cheeks flushed with red from running outside in the snow. Dee was good at sledding, snowmen, hockey. But not at reading, really. You hated how she hesitated at certain words, like English wasn't her first language (and it was). At eight, you knew the words she didn't, easy ones you'd repeat quietly. DEE-ter-mination. Deb-REE. Like the Es in your name, dummy, you'd tell her. You were eight.

"You think you know everything, but you don't," she'd say. Turning back to the book, licking her finger to turn the page, "'But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars'...I bet you didn't know the little engine was a she."

"Just shut up and read it, Dee."

You liked it the closer she got to the end--I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. There was something comforting in the rhythm of her words, the music of her voice. You could care less about steam engines, really, but this one had the voice of your sister and so you could sympathize with it, understand its struggles. You and the steam engine, she seems to be saying, you're not so different.

In retrospect, Dee was a crap babysitter, only eleven, and impatient. But she was your favorite, the only one willing to read the books you loved, the only one who'd tell you, truthfully, that Dad wouldn't be back that night. That Dad might be gone for a while.

Curled in her lap, basking in the glow of a neon VACANCY sign you might ask, "Can you read it again?" and tuck your pillow against her side, close your eyes, sleep.

I asked my boyfriend "does this sound like a drunk person wrote it?" and he was like "no, totally no." So I posted it :D Pro tip: A drunk person might have wrote this.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 6th, 2008 08:09 am (UTC)
Tut tut! It's "a drunk person might have /written/ this"! :P

It's a sweet story-- I love stories with siblings in them, especially ones that are loving one moment and explosive the next. The second person was interesting as well, of course-- I don't read second person often, and I never write it. Perhaps I should have a go someday.

I love the steam engine story, I remember having it read to me when I was young. There's a note of sadness in this story as well, of course, when concerning their father. I'm sort of curious about what happened to him, whether he left by his own accord or was maybe even killed, etc. There's something very sad about two young children alone in a motel room.

The addition of the neon sign really helped me to picture this in my head. So, well done!
Sep. 6th, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
oh no, I gave myself away with that note! :D

Aw, I'm glad you thought it was sweet. I was sort of intrigued by the 'kids fending for themselves' theme from books like The Glass Castle (or VC Andrews's stuff, as questionable as some of that is). Kids in a motel room is also something I see a lot in Supernatural/Supernatural fandom and you're right, there's something intrinsically sad about it, so I thought that was an interesting setting. I wasn't sure for this story if I wanted the kids in a motel or a camper...

anyway! I'm glad it worked for you :) thank you so much!
Sep. 6th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
Also, I didn't know you'd read The Glass Castle...did I? That was a damn good book.
Sep. 6th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
Maybe? It's one of the books I actually kept when I moved :) That and St. Lucy's are kind of my go-to reads when I want to stir up some inspiration.
Sep. 6th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
I've always liked that you write in second person. Someone we read for Jean Thompson's CRWR class - Maile Meloy - does that too. If you haven't read her, you should check her out. Anyway, one of the challenges in this comm is to write in a way that you normally wouldn't...i.e., third person if you always write in first, and v.v. I think I'll try writing in second person at some point, because I've literally NEVER done that.

Anyway, I like this, although truth be told whenever I read pieces about siblings now I tend to think of Supernatural...that would be your fault. :)
Sep. 6th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
I don't really have a style I don't normally write in...do I? I guess I could try using proper punctuation/sentences, haha. Now I'm curious actually...is there a style I don't write it?

Anyway, I like this, although truth be told whenever I read pieces about siblings now I tend to think of Supernatural...that would be your fault.
AHAHAHA, I'M AWESOME. What's funny is when I write Supernatural fics I sort of base the sibling relationship on other things I've seen and read (I guess because I don't have any brothers/sisters?). I personally find it more interesting to write a brother and sister though.
Sep. 6th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
oh hey, for a cool sibling story, you should read "how this all started" by pete fromm. it's the first one in the book and I *think* you can get the whole thing free here if you only look at that one story:

He's actually written a novel based on these two (by the same title) that I really want to read. oh, the sister is manic-depressive. BUT IT'S AWESOME, TRUST ME. (/book rec)
Sep. 6th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
Doesn't sound like drunk writing to me, but what do I know? ;)

I like that it's in second person. So rarely do we read that done well (which you've done well!). I also like the last line. It really says a lot about the lives of the children.
Sep. 6th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
oh, I'm glad you the second-person...I tend to write in that a lot and I don't know why. Thanks for the feedback :D
Sep. 6th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
I really like the use of 2nd person - you don't generally see that, probably because it usuallly comes out really horrible - but you pulled it off well. Good job!
Jan. 5th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
The second person takes a bit of time to get used to. I was never able to wrap my head around how it's done. But yeah, siblings are awesome to write and to read about.
Jan. 5th, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
thank you! And I realized I just got like a million comments from you (AND I APPRECIATE ALL OF THEM!), so thank you so much for reading :D :D :D

Also, I must just have a thing for second person...it's like the POV I default to and I have to kind of pull myself back from that. Because it is a bit weird to read :)
Jan. 5th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. I'm on winter break and should be preparing stuff for school but I get carried away very easily :)
Jan. 5th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
haha, it's awesome! comments are like crack :D I'm still reading them...
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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