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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.


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.


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