I’ve been meaning to start a regular series for awhile, and I’d like to try out something I’ve always wanted to do. We’ve all seen those pictures frames at Target and Kohl’s–the ones with stock photos of family and friends. Or even random pictures from magazines. I’ve always wondered about the secrets behind these families and scenes. Who are they, and what are they thinking? What’s the story behind the picture?
A few Fridays per month, I will select at random a Shutterstock photo featuring tweens, and that will be my inspiration to write a random scene from their life–a quick piece of flash fiction, or as I like to call it, “mini” fiction.
Here’s today’s first installment. Whether you’re a middle grader or one who loves reading middle grade fiction, I hope you enjoy. ;)
It was only an hour into Keyla’s sleepover and already two terrible things had happened. One: Keyla decided she was going to be a vegetarian that day and we would all have tofu burgers for dinner instead of CrazyCrust Pizza (which I’d been looking forward to since breakfast). Two: Keyla and Mallory’s fingers were moving as fast as hummingbird wings on their iPhone keyboards. I know they say they’re not texting about me…but why do they keep laughing so hard? I casually glanced over my shoulder and did two things. One: Armpit sniff test. Two: Look away so I don’t cry.
Suddenly everything about me feels wrong. My black fingernails, so painstakingly painted using the back of Mom’s June 2012 Redbook, feel too fierce. Spring is finally here, and with that the shell I’ve been carrying all winter is exposed. My dark, bulky clothes, dark fingernails, and dull hair suddenly feel wrong. Like a wolf running through a flowerbed. They say that people who think a lot never truly feel happy, but just for once I’d like to feel like my friends are on my side. Instead of worrying they’re sending a group MMS to everyone in school making fun of my shorts.
A bee flies near us.
“Eeeek!” Kayla screeches as she slams her phone down on the picnic table and runs away with Mallory, never glancing back at me to make sure I haven’t been stung to death.
I casually pick up Keyla’s phone and catch it before it goes idle. My heart pounding, I click the green Messages icon. Sure enough, there’s a group MMS at the top with all of our other friends. I look up guiltily, but Kayla and Mallory have sprinted to the side of the building.
Should I read the text? Can I even handle what’s written there, if I did want to look?
The screen goes idle before I decide anything, and then suddenly I’m on the wrong side of the password. I couldn’t get into Keyla’s phone even if I wanted to. Keyla shrieks again, and I kick off my flip-flops and follow the sounds. The spring grass is wet and cool under my foot. I run back to my non-digital life—the one with green grass and laughs that can never entirely be figured out in a string of text messages.
A life that keeps me guessing.