Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Peanut

Call me a sucker for the dark side of youth, but today's story is filled with the sadness and complexity that I just can't get enough of. Hope you enjoy it too!

The author, Kenneth Goorabian is from Garden Grove, CA, which he describes as "just a stone's throw from the Magic Kingdom and his three granddaughters." He has written a collection of short horror stories, Devils’ Bluff, and is currently working on a picture book called Frankie’s World, a supernatural novel called Withershins, and various screenplays. 

Peanut
By Kenneth Goorabian

Peanut knew she was as close to being a teenager as she would probably ever be. Whenever she could stomach looking at herself in the mirror she'd still laugh and make strange faces, pretending the hairless, waif-thin being with the sunken pale blue eyes staring back at her was an alien from some distant planet, marooned on Earth by no fault of her own. But lately the game was wearing thin. It just made her cry, and as much as she'd fight it, the tears always came after; a river of tears that soaked the front of her gown and made her eyes all puffy and swollen, which made her look even worse.

With a uniform gun-metal gray sky as a backdrop, she sat at a desk by the window writing furiously in her journal. In her mind death was always no more than two steps behind and she refused to let it catch her before she finished her thoughts. Perhaps death was just waiting for her hand to slow down, she thought. Maybe this would be the last sentence, or even the last word to crawl from the tip of her pencil. In that case she was determined to make every word count. To die while writing some meaningless drivel would be the highest form of insult, wouldn’t it?

Death was not far from her thoughts as she scribbled a tiny, dark circle on the next page; nothing more, just a simple dot in a sea of white. It was her latest theory of what death was. Like a period at the end of a story. "THE END". If you questioned her she couldn't explain why; it just was.

Peanut stopped writing for a moment and tugged the dark knit cap down tighter over her smooth head. She only rarely took it off. It was a present from her mother. The softness of the cashmere felt good against her skin and it made her feel sort of pretty, although she wasn't sure if that was even possible given her circumstances.

One by one, as if by magic, the lights that rose from the snow covered parking lot like unwavering, leafless trees blinked on. Placing her fragile, almost translucent hand against the window, she closed her eyes and tried to imagine what the delicate, white snowflakes that seemed to battle one another to gently kiss the cool glass might feel like against her skin. Reluctant to break contact, she finally drew back her hand, held her breath, and counted as the perfect outline left behind by the warmth of her touch slowly faded into nothing. Nothing lasts, she thought. The tears came again. She didn't even try to stop them.

She stifled a yawn. It wasn't even dinner time and she was all ready getting tired. She knew the treatments were to blame. It was all she could do to get out of bed these days, and eating was nearly mission impossible. But eat she would, even if it ended up decorating the toilet bowl a half hour later looking to all appearances like something the cat yacked up. Anything was better than being drip fed with a bag of fluid. Anything.

The sound of the dinner carts clattering down the hallway searched her out. Gripping the edge of the desk, she gingerly stood up on legs as unsteady as a new born colt. Satisfied that the trembling sticks would accept her meager weight, she paused until the wavering room decided to cooperate. Smiling, she took a deep breath and shuffled to the bed, counting her steps as she went.

Peanut lay back on the bed, closed her eyes, and drifted off wondering if she would ever kiss a boy or drive a car. Or better yet, kiss a boy in a car. She decided these questions were better left for another day.

4 comments:

  1. Evocative piece. Beautifully written. By the end of the excerpt, the reader really wants to know if Peanut will ever kiss a boy or drive a car, too.

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  2. This reads more like the first chapter of a novel than a short story. That's wishful thinking, of course. A wonderful story!

    I added the author's name to my "Must Buy Books" List.

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  3. Glad you enjoyed it! According to the author, this isn't his usual writing style, so hopefully he sends more work soon. I'm intrigued :)

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