Robin

I’m not sure that I’m ever going to do anything with this, but I’ve had this character floating around my mind for over a year now, so I finally decided to write a little introduction to her life.

At the age of twenty-four, the thing Robin loved most in the world was her house.

It was tiny, painted blue with white framework on the doors and windows. There were flowers in the three windows that faced the street, and a garden leading from the front door right down to the small white gate. There was even a lone tree in the yard, one that had grown enough to give a little shade during the long, hot summer days.

The house was on a small residential street in Studio City in Los Angeles, which was another thing that Robin loved about it. She loved being so near a happening area and yet snug in her own little space, the picture of suburbia. She had a Mr. Horns to her left in a small yellow house, with a rather large yellow Labrador named Puck, while the house to her right was empty, a big “FOR RENT” sign the only inhabitant of the fading lawn.

Robin had acquired this house in a strange set of circumstances. It had, belonged to her great-aunt Lucinda, an eccentric woman who had lived in a nursing home for the last twenty years of her life. The family was under the impression that she’d sold it years ago, but, as she wrote in her will, she’d left it empty, freshly painted and clean, ready for her great-niece, who had only just been born, to grow up and receive it. When Robin turned twenty, Lucinda passed away and the house was discovered in the will.

Robin couldn’t believe her luck. As a university student, she longed to leave the dorms behind her and live in a space all her own. She had no desire to return to the poisonous environment that was her parents’ house. She’d suffered enough hardship over the years, and having finally escaped by earning a full scholarship, she had no intention of ever going back.

Halfway through her Junior year, she moved out of the school dorms and into her new home. It had needed much airing out after twenty years of standing empty, and furniture, too. She’d scoured both the flea markets and the Internet for cheap, secondhand stuff, and she  sanded, repainted and lacquered some of the wooden pieces she’d found. In fact, she’d spent her entire winter break on making her new home as perfect as could be. This was another reason why she loved it so.

Another reason was that she was hardly ever in it. The commute to school on two buses, the time she spent in classes and in the library studying, as well as her job at one of the administrative offices kept her so busy that she would normally arrive back at her house at ten and leave the next morning at around seven. Out of those nine hours, some six were spent sleeping, and one was spent in a morning haze of coffee, toast, shower and make-up.

The two hours she had to herself every night before she fell exhausted into bed were her treasures. She didn’t allow herself to study, review material or read anything that had something to do with her major – which was history – or her minor – which was philosophy. She spent the time reading comics online, watching films or taking a long, hot bath.

It was a perfect life, really, and she often felt ridiculously lucky.

But everything changed when her brother got out of prison a week before graduation.

Three Ladies at Peet’s

Three ladies sat outside Peet’s Coffee in Santa Monica. There were many little tables outside the coffee-shop: one was inhabited by a trendy man in his early twenties, wearing a brown hat and reading a design book; one other table was occupied by a balding man with glasses perched precariously on his nose who was proofreading a paper as he sipped his coffee and occasionally looked up at the people going by; the third table was surrounded by three ladies.

The three ladies were of varying ages. Two were in their early fifties and looked like sisters – both had similar features and they had that sort of friendly and easy manner with each other that comes from a good sisterly relationship. The third was obviously a family member as well – the daughter of the one and the niece of the other. These ladies were surrounded by lots of baggage – a purse, a backpack, four pounds of Peet’s coffee blends, another shoulder bag, and, of course, three large cups of coffee, a cinnamon roll and a small box of chocolates.

The conversation between the ladies was fast and carefree: gossip about family members and family events, chit-chat about the merits of good coffee, small talk about travel plans. Somehow, in all the chatter, the subject of ostrich meat, an option that had been on a menu of a restaurant where the ladies had been the night before, came up. There was some discussion over the general aversion to the very idea of ostrich meat, and then with a casual remark from one of the ladies about how it tasted like roast beef, the table exploded. The ladies all burst out laughing as one of them spit out her coffee, overcome with laughter, and the other two followed suit while trying to control themselves and the flow of coffee spilling over their baggage.

Eventually, the three got themselves under control, though still giggling, and got up to leave. As they were walking down the sidewalk, the young hip man called out with a smile that he enjoyed their laughter and liked to see that they were having fun. He wasn’t mocking – he was sincere. He had enjoyed the sight of three ladies laughing at a table in the Los Angeles sunlight. Only the young lady had noticed that the other man, the quiet one with the glasses, had smiled to himself as well as the three had been laughing hysterically.

The youngest lady walked away from the whole encounter feeling that the world was a good place if people could enjoy the enjoyment of others.

Lucy’s Diary, May 5th

May 5th, 2008

Dearest Diary,

After many hours of pointless, useless and otherwise simply obnoxious paperwork, I am free to dwell on my own thoughts once more. The flight landed, and I have never been more reluctant to get off a plane as I was this morning. There was a man a few seats in front of me who looked at me rather oddly as I sat there in my seat, making no move to get up and off the plane. But then, I suppose it is rather odd, in the hustle and bustle for the door, that a girl should stay stationary in her seat.

Having finally convinced myself to get up and leave the plane, though, I was plagued by the usual airport routine: passport check, luggage retrieval etc. I was most anxious to get some fresh air, and I almost forgot that I needed to look for my pick-up ride when I entered the arrivals hall.

Of course, they hadn’t forgotten about me – much to my chagrin, I might add. There was a man with a hat and a sign waiting for “Miss Lucy Blake” and I had no choice but to approach him and follow him to the town car, of which he was the driver.

While I wish I could have written in the car, it was much too bumpy and couldn’t be managed. Moreover, having gotten no sleep on the flight, I fell into an uneasy one on the ride over to Pratt and Smith. It was a long ride, because as I’ve said before, P&S is in the middle of many square miles of fields upon fields.

We finally arrived, and I was met at the gates by the woman who I’m supposed to consider as “the mother of all the young girls in this glorious home away from home!” Her words – not mine.

She escorted me to the offices, where I got many a dirty look for joining with them so very late in the semester. True, their semester lasts until the end of August, but my lateness is apparently enough to give me a black mark before I’ve even started. That relation of mine who sent me here [you see, my dear, that I am still too angry to even write her name] will be feeling more of my wrath with her in my phone call to home this week, you can be sure of it, Diary.

It is evening now, and I’m settled in my new room. It’s rather cozy and nice right now, but that is only because my three roommates are currently at the study hall doing their homework. I was assured by Miss Flynn, the self proclaimed Mommy of us all who is actually the supervisor of the girls’ living quarters, that the other girls will be along shortly and will escort me to dinner, which begins at promptly seven-thirty every evening.

I freely admit to you that I am dreading the introduction of these girls. They will be my staunchest companions in the coming months, if only because we are forced to live within the same very small room and share our bedtimes and awakenings. Wish me luck; I believe I hear the sound of giggling in the hall!

Much love,

Hastily,

Lucy

Dear Diary

I’ve been looking up more writing exercises, and I found one in a list, which is now saved on my computer because it has some other really good and interesting exercises in it. The one that I found, and that I am now posting a beginning of, is this: “Keep a diary of a fictional character.” So, I present to you a not very original character, Lucy:

Dear Diary,

While I know that keeping diaries is quite out of style in this day and age, I have decided to begin one anyway. Oh, you might be surprised at my saying it is out of style – after all, how many teen-novels are there these days that focus on journal writing? The Princess Diaries are perhaps the most known of these, though they are not the only books to adopt this style by far. So, once again, how can I say that diaries are out of style? Well, for one, almost no one writes or keeps diaries for themselves anymore, and so in that perspective, you are unique. You’re not to be revealed to the eyes of the internet-surfing hordes. No, you are to remain, quiet and peaceful, in the confines of this book.

But I digress. The reason for my starting a journal, a diary, an imaginary pen-friend, is perhaps one that could be mocked at, and yet I shall confide it in you, my diary, for you are to become the ultimate confidante on all matters concerning my life. The reason, therefore, is that I am utterly, without a doubt, and presumably for the foreseeable future, friendless.

Why, you ask, is such a charming young woman, writing with such a fine and elegant pen, friendless? Well, Diary dear, I shall tell you the reason for this mortifying fact. I have been sentenced, but that relation of mine which I despise and abhor but have no choice but be commanded by as she is my legal guardian – I have been sentenced, I say, to study at a boarding school. Not any boarding school – the most prestigious of modern girls’ preparatory schools, that which is named “Pratt and Smith School for Young Ladies.”

Yes, Diary. I have been sentenced, in short, to live like a girl from the Victorian age, only without the glorious dresses and the height of sophistication being the making of tea with the correct amount of sugar. Oh no, I will actually be forced to study and study and study some more in order to get accepted in two years to such schools as Yale, Harvard or Princeton.

This brings me back to my being utterly friendless. I am still only on the airplane to Vermont, where this school resides in the middle of what can reasonably be considered “nowhere,” but I have had to leave every single one of my incredible girlfriends behind me. I know for a fact that we’re only allowed one hour of phone calls to home a week at P&S, and that will certainly not be enough time for me to talk to Sarah, Jenny AND Linda. If I’m lucky, there will be modern things such as internet at P&S, but who knows?

And so, Diary dearest, you are my only companion and soul mate as of now, and I hope that I shall be able to entertain you with my miseries and trials at this most hated of places. I now leave you fondly to put away my tray-table and buckle my seat belt, as we’re beginning our ascent.

With much love and fondness for your pages already,

I am yours sincerely,

Lucy