She read his paper.

I kicked the sand and looked at the sky. It was blue with orange clouds striped across it. The sun was a fiery ball that played half behind the hill, and the other half shooting brilliant orange rays across the hills and clouds.

I sat under an apple tree. They were small like apricots and had a sour juicy taste. That was all it would be though. Never sweet like many of its counter parts. Some people wonder if the tree was deformed. But it is out of the yard and so no one bothers with it one way or the other. But sometimes someone will come over and eat one of its fruits. There’s another tree in the back yard with lot’s of big sweet fruit and everyone comes to that tree and grabs themselves one several times a day and eats them relishing the bites.

1 hour ago: I had just printed out my paper. And then sat at the kitchen table. I looked it over and smiled, stroking the smooth black print under my fingertips. My grandma walked up and asked me what I had. “It’s a short story I just finished. I’m going to send it in to a writing contest.”

“Bring it here.” I carried the paper to her. She took it and walked into the livingroom and sat in a padded chair that frayed on the arms. She held her glasses over her eyes, squinting as she read. Her brows tightened as her lips moved. I followed her lips reading my story.

I stood hunched with my hands on my knees. I watched for approval or disapproval on her face, but there was nothing but concentration.

She stopped reading and repeated a sentence with her lips and again, wrinkling her nose. I tightened my face and wondered. But then she shook her head, shaking the sentence from her mind and continued. She read 15 minutes total until she read the final sentence and lay the paper on her lap. My legs had gone rigid by then. And I kicked them, shaking them out, until they no longer ached.

She put down her glasses and looked up to me. Her eyes were round globes that needed to be pushed a hairlash back into their sockets. “Thank you for showing this to me. You have a good start of a story. And I hope you continue to practice.” she said.

“Thank you.” I said. The warmth of success shined on me. I felt like jumping, maybe leaving my skin behind.

“But.” she said drawing the word out. I stopped my internal joy and my eyes rolled back to her.

“You have a long ways to go and when I say long I mean a long ways to go.” she said. My heart dropped way down somewhere, not sure if I could find it if I tried. I tried to maintain my eye-contact, but my eyes kept dropping down instead and I’d bring them back up to her and they’d drop again.

“Okay.” I said. My back hunched as I took the paper. I pinched it between my fingers. The paper had become covered in a slick green poison. I set it on the table. Then I snapped away from it, so its poison couldn’t get on me.

“I look forward to seeing other work in the future.” I nod okay. “And I wish you the best.” She smiles at me, her face turned up and her teeth showing. As though all the grandma love could drown out what she had just said and kisses on elbows make cuts heal and the pain go away.

“Yes I will. Thank you.” She grabs a book from on a small coffee table next to her chair, and cracks it open to a page with a thin ribbon hanging from it and her eyes move back and forth over the page, reading.

I step out the back door.

Now:
I pick one of the small apples off the tree. I sit down looking at it. It is malformed, humped at one side and scrawny at the other. The scrawny side has a black hole in it as though some bug came in and sucked at it. Sucking all the symmetry and beauty out of it. I took a big bite of the undersized thing. A drop of juice rolled on my lip. Its sourness hits me and I want to spit it out. Its juice seems to be a misadvertisement as the liquid had a drying affect. I swallow and the liquid burns my throat. It rolls down in my stomach, the sourness seems to disturb my insides and I am having trouble keeping my stomach still.
I chuck the rest of the apple over the hill. Watch it bounce down the hill till it rests behind a rock. There it will shrivel and rot. I doubt any ants will go to it when there are better apples just a little ways further.

I stare at the last bits of light before the last ray get’s swallowed by the hill. The sky is still light, but then it will begin again its time of slow darkening. I walk back home as I know my mom doesn’t want me out after dark. And I walk into my bedroom and sit at my computer desk.

I think I ought to delete it, get it over with and never look back. My heart thuds in my eardrums. I realize at the chair I have nothing that anyone wants and I wipe away some tears and new ones come down.

But instead a wicked sour idea comes to me. I open up a new file and start typing. And I think, I may end up writing something that people want to devour on the page or something malformed and ugly that leaves people uncomfortable. I’ll write anyway. Because not everyone can be beautiful. This world is full of ugly, and so what if I’m no different.

 

 

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I wrote this to figure out how I handle others rejection.   Have you ever felt rejected for something and how did you deal with it?

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