Glimmer: Chapter One
This is a project I started on a blog several years ago. A friend of mine had recently read the first Twilight book and was she was furious. See, she’s a copy editor and she reads everything. Being a fan of romance novels and proper grammar, she was amazed that a book like Twilight could be published—successfully. We spent one lazy afternoon (this was back in college when all of our afternoons were lazy) going over the book’s plot in detail. When she was through, I had just one thought: I could do that.
Sarah Smith sat her last box onto the floor of her dorm room. She sighed, sadly, to herself as she took in her new surroundings. The room was small and dark; its concrete walls bare save for a small brown sign that read: Exit is Located at End of Hall.
“If only I could leave this awful place.” Sarah said to her reflection in the mirror tacked on to her closet door. It was only 45 minutes ago that Sarah’s mother left with a wave and a small grimace, and already Sarah was terribly homesick. Sarah lay down across her bed and sobbed, sadly, into her pillow. She had a life back in Wichita; she was a cheerleader and a member of her church choir. All of her friends, hell, everyone she’d ever known, was back there. It broke her heart to leave them but her mother had insisted that Sarah go away for college. “This ain’t the life I want for you,” Sarah’s mother said as she stood, barefoot and pregnant in their trailer’s kitchenette, “I want you to make something of yourself.” Sarah had cried then as she did now and she cried when she told her boyfriend, Guy Johnson, that she would be leaving to go to college in Wisconsin.
“College?” Guy scoffed. “Girls don’t go to college.”
“I know,” Sarah said. “It’s my mom, she thinks it would be good for me.”
“It would be good for you to stay here and have my kids, while I go to technical college,” Guy said, he placed his hand gently on her forearm. “That’s the five year plan we came up with, remember?”
“I do,” Sarah said. “But I can’t argue with her when she’s hormonal…. I won’t be that far away, you could come visit me.”
Guy thought this over for a second. “I don’t think that’s a good idea…I mean, you’ll be up there with all those college guys and I’ll be down here with all of your old friends, it would be too hard for us not to cheat.”
“I would never cheat on you!” Sarah cried.
“Neither would I, baby,” Guy said and stroked Sarah’s arm. “That’s why I think we should break up. Then we could screw other people without it being cheating.”
Sarah burst into tears even thinking of the memory. She sat up on her bed and looked back at her reflection in the mirror. Her brown eyes were almost completely hidden behind her long brown hair. As a child Sarah had always thought of herself as very plain and somewhat tall, but as she got older others were quick to let her know she’d grown into her looks. She looked like any other girl, but at the same time, prettier than average.
She sighed again and pulled herself out of bed. “There’s no use in being sad,” She told her reflection. Her reflection stared back dumbly. Guy had moved on already, he sent her a text message that morning saying that he wanted to bang Caroline Larsen and did Sarah remember where the good condoms were. Sarah looked away from her reflection then said:“It’s time I moved on too.”
Sarah knelt beside the cardboard box and removed its lid. Inside were her most valuable possessions: her hairbrush, her toothbrush and a teddy bear her father had given her when she was a little girl. She took them all out and set about arranging and rearranging them on her desk. She was deep in thought when she heard a small knock at her door.
“Hello?” A girl, who was pretty but not quite as pretty as Sarah (because she had a bad haircut), stuck her head in the room. “Are you Sarah?”
“I’m Tiffany, your roommate,” the girl said and flashed Sarah a friendly smile. “Mi dorm es su dorm.”
Sarah and the girl hugged, Sarah felt as if she had known Tiffany for her entire life and all the sadness she felt washed away instantly.
“I’m glad you’re finally here,” Tiffany began. “There’s jack shit to do in this town so things have been ass-scratchingly boring. It’ll be nice to have someone to talk to. Someone who can share all of her most intimate thoughts and feelings with me and with whom I can have a friendship that goes beyond the boundaries of human perception.”
“Like Batman and Robin?” Sarah suggested.
“Exactly,” Tiffany said. “I’ll be the Robin to your Batman.”
Sarah frowned, she was hoping to be the Robin in this relationship, she really wasn't protagonist material, to be honest. But after taking a good, long look at lawnmower accident Tiffany was passing off as a haircut, Sarah decided that it was their only rational option. “Okay,” She said “You can be my sidekick.”
Tiffany squealed with glee and gave Sarah another giant hug. “Oh Sarah, we’re going to have such a great time together.”
Sarah spent the next hour watching Tiffany unpack their bags and organize their room. After becoming intensely bored, Sarah fell asleep. She dreamt she was hovering above her dorm room. She watched for a moment as Tiffany polished the wooden molding along the floor, then she began to float out the window and away. Sarah was floating South and West, back home to her old life. But as she approached her trailer park she started floating faster. She flew over it without stopping, over the wooded area just on the other side of the highway and the abandoned Piggly Wiggly parking lot beyond that. She tried to turn back, but couldn't. She was flying toward something on the horizon, something that was glimmering in the late afternoon sun. It was just coming into focus when Sarah heard Tiffany’s voice calling her, sadly, but incessantly: Sarah, Sarah! Sarah sat up with a bolt and was surprised to see herself back in her dorm room. The dream was still tugging at the corners of her mind. She felt groggy and achy as if sh e actually had flown away. Tiffany stood above Sarah’s bed; she held a folded piece of paper.
“I found this in your luggage,” Tiffany said and handed Sarah the piece of paper. ” I didn't read it because I can’t read too good.”
Sarah unfolded the paper and glanced at the faint, looping writing. “It’s a note from my mother.” She said.
Tiffany smiled. “That’s great!”
“No, it’s not. I don’t care what that heifer has to say to me.” Sarah said, sadly, and crushed the paper into a ball. She threw into a corner across the room.
Tiffany frowned. “That’s sad.”
“It is,” Sarah said and began to tear up again. “My life is so sad.”
“We should do something to take your mind off of all this,” Tiffany said. “How about we drive down to the 7–11 and get a slushie? That’s your favorite food isn't it?”
“It is…how did you know?”
“I called some of your friends and asked them about you while you were sleeping,” Tiffany said. “They told me all of your likes and dislikes; and they gave me a full rundown on your personality, which you totally have. That way we don’t have to waste time by developing the character.”
“What do you mean, the character?” Sarah asked.
“Why, the character of our friendship, of course,” Tiffany giggled.
“Well, I still don’t know anything about you.”
Tiffany waved this away with a little movement of her hand. “What’s to know?”
“Great,” Sarah said. “Let’s go get those Slushies.”
Tiffany parked her Ford Pinto outside of the 7–11. As Sarah opened her door, she noticed a man leaning against the building. He was handsome in a nondescript way, just how Sarah liked her men; and his laid-back, doesn't-give-a-shit attitude just screamed: I’m a real bad boy. Sarah couldn't take her eyes off of him. Tiffany had to shake Sarah to get her to come inside.
Once they were in Sarah grabbed Tiffany’s arm, “Who was that?” She hissed.
Tiffany frowned, “Who?”
“That man standing outside by the dumpsters.”
“Oh him,” Tiffany said and clucked her tongue, disapprovingly. “That’s Levi Glimmers.”
“Well…” Sarah said and tried to hide the emotions she was feeling. “What’s his story.”
“He’s a loser Sarah,” Tiffany said. “He’s been going here for ten years and he still hasn't graduated. Worst of all, he acts ike he’s better than everyone else even though he’s an fugly dumbass.”
“I don’t think he’s fugly,” Sarah pouted. “He’s just a little…soft-looking. Besides, people don’t act all high and mighty for no reason. He’s probably vulnerable and lonely and waiting for the right girl to love him and show him that it’s okay to be vulnerable and lonely.”
Tiffany rolled her eyes and stuck her cup under the dispenser. “Aren't you going to get anything, Sarah?”She asked.
Sarah shook her head. She was so full of emotions, she felt as if she could burst. “I’m not hungry anymore.”
“Then neither am I,” Tiffany said and threw her half-full cup onto the ground. “Let’s go back to the room and braid one another’s hair for class tomorrow.”
Sarah watched the red contents of the cup creep across the tile. “Okay.” she whispered.
They passed Levi Glimmers again on the way to the car. For an instant, his powder blue eyes met Sarah’s. His eyes were so beautiful, they reminded Sarah of a cloudless summer sky back in Kansas; or a pool cool water in the early fall; or a frozen lake in late winter; or some other thing, sometime in spring. His eyes were so sharp, they felt as if they had pierced Sarah’s soul. She collapsed in the seat of the Ford Pinto, and she felt weak all over.