This week, we honor five very talented young writers, all from our summer camp workshops. These five young ladies were selected as the winner and finalists of our 2010 Rose Million Healey Award in Short Fiction, which was founded by Patrick Million to honor of his Aunt Rose Million Healey, the woman who most inspired him to pursue writing.
Today, we showcase the work of finalist Cali.
My Heart Is Not What’s Bleeding
I am laying, squashed and defeated and trickling tar blood, under a red cloud that has been killing me for years. Its vapor finally took my pink lungs by siege and bled like Magic Marker into my bloodstream and flooded my poor, dead heart.
You see, I think it all started when I moved here.
I came from the country where does nursed their fawns along the side of the stream in the springtime, and the clouds were as white as the snow that blanketed the flat land in the winter. It was the land that the great naturalists dreamed of—no civilization, no buildings, no society, no artificial life. Only a few settlements of families like mine dared to scatter themselves like pine nuts across the land. But I had long yearned for more than the loose homeschooling of my mother and the sight of a blurred, green landscape.
I had heard of a place called a city, where people lived by the hundreds of thousands, where the wolves I knew well were downsized and domesticated into little creatures called “dogs,” where there were structures devoted solely to the sale of nail polish, a commodity I knew only from the private drawers of my mother. The buildings reached into the gray sky and had dozens of tiny glass windows to peer out of, to see all the people.
I began to dream endlessly of the city. While most girls my age were planning their weddings, I drew geometric sketches of my future apartment and mentally arranged the design, from the kind of sink I would have to the zebra-printed rug I would place in the middle of my bedroom. Then I was suddenly eighteen, and my parents told me I was free to go anywhere I liked. They gave me information to access a trust fund I never knew I had.
I never knew about a lot of things.
But I happily walked to the nearest town, where I took a train to a station, and from there took another train to the city. Suddenly, I was there, and it was the city I dreamed of. The superstructures of metal and plaster were even taller than I had imagined, and there were hundreds of people passing me by, talking to each other, going into buildings, going into shops, carrying tiny fluffy dogs and briefcases and purses and acting natural.
I wandered around for hours, maybe days; I didn’t run out of energy at all, even when it seemed to get dark and the people went inside. There was so much to see! Then it began to rain and everyone ran inside or under an umbrella, which prompted me to think about where I would live, and I found a listing of apartments in a newspaper and looked through it in a place called a café until I found the one that sounded perfect. I walked to it and gave the man in charge the money for the apartment, and I was in my new home with a window the size of a wall that looked down onto the beautiful asphalt street and pavement with all the new people. I also had a balcony with a chair to sit in and watch the people below. It was like the city itself was inviting me to observe it.Read More »