Michelle is Libby’s best friend. In some pieces she’s Libby’s cousin, in this most recent carnation she is Libby’s best friend. They go to the same church. She’s Libby’s confidante, but they are as different as can be. Or at least that’s what I think so far. Maybe they’re more alike then I think. Don’t you hate having to get all subtextual and analytical on your first draft? It means that I still have questions to ask and answer. Note to self: Start interviewing Michelle. Also, I don’t have a picture of Michelle yet because I haven’t gotten a feel for how I want her to look. Once I nail that down, I’ll let you know.
This was inspired by a homework assignment I was given for my YA class this week. I am to write a scene that shows the characteristics that will undergo change by the end of the story. In trying to show Libby’s characteristics that I know will change I also managed to show how Michelle must change as well. Here’s a piece.
“When you do that,” I mimicked her actions, puffing my cheeks with air each time I opened and closed my lips. “You look like a fish.”
She picked up a few papers and smacked me across the arm. “Thanks, genius cakes. I’m glad you know what a fish looks like.” The laughter was sucked from me. I tried to smile but looked down at my hands. “I was trying to say, nicely, that maybe this isn’t a bad thing.”
Looking up, I could see that she was settling in for a lesson by the way she sat up straight and waited until I gave her eye contact. My eyes wandered onto the news clippings under her knees, resulting in a strong throat clearing.
Get it over with. I looked up at her. “How is this not a bad thing? Did you hear the part where Daddy basically said that this is my fault because I don’t have enough faith?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Don’t tell me you agree with him?” I glared at her. The sounds of singing turned into muffled voices that grew loud and quiet like an argument though they were really just passionate prayers.
She broke eye contact first. “It doesn’t matter if I did or not. It doesn’t matter if its true or not. What matters is that this is your senior year of high school. This is our last time to do and be whomever we want without major consequences.”
“Um, going blind is a pretty major consequence.”
“Exactly. So, you’re already being punished, why not go all the way with it? Live a little for the rest of us. Take down your hair and let it blow in the wind.” She reached over and snatched from my hair the chopsticks that held my bun firmly into place from. The thinning black hair fell down to my shoulders. “God knows you have enough of it.”
“Michelle!” My eyes went from her to the picture of Jesus, brown skinned with dark hair and eyes, staring down on us from where the picture was framed on the desk.
“Sorry, Black Jesus,” she said and bowed her head.