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  • Impressions – Chapter Two

     Word Warrior updated 5 months, 1 week ago 9 Members · 19 Posts
  • Word Warrior

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 10:05 am

    CHAPTER TWO

    “So. Tell me about yourself.”

    Pause.

    “Well. I’m always too loud in public, I struggle to cover my knees, I watch the occasional movie and I don’t always remember to daven. Also, I’m a terrible listener. If you start talking and I’m not hooked, like, right away, my attention will start to wander…but I’m great at covering it up”, I don’t say.

    Instead, I smile brightly.

    “Sure! I grew up in Chester Hills and went to Bnos Tzipora High School. I was Chessed head and GO head, and I was valedictorian in 8th and 12th grades. For sem, I decided to go to…”

    The shadchan is nodding, trying to hide the gleam in her eye. Boom. I’m in.

    ***

    I’m pulling into the driveway when my phone dings. Mom. Sigh.

    “Hi Mom! I’ll be right inside.” I say, and click off the ignition.

    “I know,” Mom responds, “I see your lights in the driveway.”

    “Then why-“ I roll my eyes.

    “Mrs. Hennisburg just called me- she has an idea.” Mom doesn’t often show her enthusiasm when it comes to shidduchim, but the fact that she’s calling me when she knows I’m in the driveway means something, right?

    “Yes, she mentioned she might have something”. I close the car door and come up the front steps, meeting Mom on the porch.

    “Hi!” I say into the phone. She cracks up.

    “Hi! Welcome home.” She’s about to hang up, but I turn away from her and say, “So! Who is my wonderful future husband? Does he have three arms? Does he have a face? Does he come past my elbows?”

    Mom is cracking up. “Stop!” she begs, and hangs up.

    “Don’t hang up on me!” I grin at her, and we enter the house together.

    Yishai is actually 5’11, and not just on paper. He’s polite, well-groomed, and makes Dad laugh twice (I think it was twice, I can’t always hear well from my hiding spot in the bathroom.). Mindy’s text tells me he’s got a brown Jeep outside- great car, not such a great color. I’m not sure what to make of that. Mom squeezes my hand as I make my grand entrance, and her smile tells me, ‘this could be something!’

    I’m excited. There’s nothing like a first date- the nervous energy, the sneaking glances, trying to figure out if OMG THIS IS MY BASHERT or UHHHH get me OUTTA here???? and then seeing if I’m actually right. I love meeting new people, I love getting dressed up, and I love free drinks. What’s not to like?

    Shalva thinks I’m nuts. She hates dating, hates having to make awkward conversation, hates the whole fake-ness of it. It’s not that I like being fake, I try to explain to her. It’s that it’s just fun to sit around and get to know a brand new person in a whole new way. Although to be fair, Shalva almost got engaged once and I never really made it past a third date, so I don’t know, maybe I’m not one to judge. But anyhow.

    Yishai and I get into his brown Jeep and I can’t help but wonder out loud about the color. He startles, then smiles. He’s probably used to girls who wait politely until they’re spoken to, and would never dare express interest in cars. He launches into an unnecessarily long tale of how the rental company promised him red (red? for a date? even I’m uncertain that’s a great move) and when he got there, they tried to convince him that the Jeep is actually red. True story.

    “Brown is the new red”, I laugh, and our eyes meet, and my heart skips a beat. Could this be the one?? There’s an awkward pause, and I look down at my hands, forcing thoughts of an engagement ring and driving cross-country in a red Jeep out of my mind. After a moment, I realize that Yishai is still struggling to get the key into the ignition; his tale seems to have distracted him from matters at hand. On that note, maybe get me OUTTA here? Gosh. A sneak glance at my watch tells me it’s been five minutes and we haven’t left my driveway. Mindy is probably going nuts- I’m going to have a lot of pictures to delete when she’s not near her phone.

    Yishai drops me off exactly three hours later – we spent two hours in the lobby of a small hotel near the Hudson, and precisely thirty minutes commuting each way. He’s quite a stickler for rules, the shadchan explains, then eagerly asks Mom if I’d like to go out again. I’m listening on speaker, and I give Mom two thumbs up. The date was uneventful but pleasant enough, so why not?

    “A second date? That’s nice, good for you, Zee”. Shalva, ever so thoughtful, smiles when I tell her the good news.

    “Good for me?” I retort. “Shalva! This could be IT! He’s GORGEOUS and SMART and FUNNY- I’ve never met someone like him!”

    “Yeah, well, he’s only the third guy you’re dating, right?”

    I wack her with my handbag. “Let’s go, you can do your mascara in the car!”

    “The way you drive? No thank YOU”. Shalva begins to coat each individual lash, just to infuriate me. I move to whack her again and she dodges, brandishing her mascara wand threateningly.

    I’m way too pumped to stay inside on a Sunday morning, but I know there’ll be trouble if I don’t wait. I settle on Shalva’s bed and scroll endlessly through my texts until she bonks me on the head with her water bottle.

    “Gosh, Zee. I’m waiting for you for, like, forever”, she says, and waltzes down the stairs.

    Our Sunday morning shop is something I look forward to all week. I know that weekends are for sleeping, but they’re also for shopping, which is almost the same thing. You know, snuggly, involves your favorite clothes..ok, whatever. The point is, I wake up early (much to my parents’ repeat surprise) to go shopping with Shalva every Sunday. Back when we were in high school, we discovered this adorable outdoor mall that has all our favorite stores, and an epic Starbucks that has this gorgeous outdoor seating area where we like to sit and feel the sun on our skin all summer long. Of course, the weather is starting to freeze up but that’s what hot lattes are for, right? We both vowed to keep this place between ourselves and since it has mostly the same stores that our friends shop in, when we tell them where we got our things they just assume we went to the city or something. We also both plan to take our chassanim here, to the Starbucks, when we each get engaged. Or maybe it’s just me- somehow, I can’t see Shalva being that romantic.

    The thought of Shalva getting engaged makes me crack up and she instantly wants to know what’s so funny, so I tell her. She cracks up as well. That’s what’s so great about Shalva, she just gets things.

    “I really do have a hard time seeing myself engaged, Zee” Shalva confides seriously as we get in line at the crowded Starbucks. I glance up from my phone, where I’ve been busily texting Racheli about negotiating a contract at her new role.

    “What? Sorry” I tuck my phone away with a snap- I’m seriously addicted to this thing. Shalva repeats herself, and I nod thoughtfully.

    “Oh, no Zee!” Shalva giggles as we surge forward, an inch closer to the counter.

    “What? What did I do now?”

    “You’ve got your pshyco-analytical face on! I’m SO not down for a therapy session”. She rolls her eyes and pushes me playfully. I quickly straighten my face and clear my throat. Shalva is so easy to get, I sometimes can’t help but give her advice. But still, I in no way whatsoever intend to do it in a condescending manner.

    “Shalva, your problem is your mother” I say in a stern voice. Shalva instantly cracks up- her mom is great and everyone knows it. The guy in front of us turns to glare at us, like a bird about to eat its prey.

    “As if we’re making so much noise!” I whisper-shout to Shalva.

    “Yeah, this Starbucks would be DEAD quiet without us!” she returns, straining above the hubbub. The guy frowns, mutters, “kids these days” under his breath and steps forward to make his order.

    “One tall grande fente extra-larg-ay machiatto-ay with no sugar, no flavor, no carbs, no fun, just six shots of espresso, straight up” I say in a quiet voice as he gesticulates to the barista. Shalva cracks up, and we laugh until tears stream down our faces.

    Ignoring his dirty look, we step up to the counter and make our orders.

    We carry our foaming, happy drinks to our favorite spot- a wooden bench near an overflowing garden, opposite the misting waterfall. The seat has been warmed just a tad by the early morning sun, and we cuddle together and sip our hot drinks, turning our faces to the sky and pretending it’s still summer.

    It’s only on the way home, after a long and fulfilling day, that I remember Shalva’s fear of getting engaged. I regard her silently for a moment. She’s absorbed in her phone, and I look back at the road. Honestly, I’m glad I’m fearless in a way. I’m looking forward to my next date with Fabulous Yishai, as we’ve dubbed him. I don’t know how to make things better for my bestie, but I’m thankful that things are going pretty well for me.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Let me start off by saying I read your first sentence and I was ‘hey, haven’t I seen this before?’…  You got me there girl!  Totally and absolutely brilliant and makes me wonder if you’ll carry this intro into your other chapters and how you’ll pull it off!  Such fun…

    Now for the nicknames.  Zara?  Zee?  Can we get any better than this? *heart eye emojis*

    I haven’t seen such rebel vibes in a story character in…years.  Where have you been until now?  You’re a master of characterization, that’s all I can say.

    Chapter 3, please!

  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    June 8, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    I love it, WW–as in TRULY love it. There’s a lot of fire and spice in your main character, you keep the vibe going in your dialogue (which feels real and natural, an art in and of itself!), and you have us hooked. Go, go, GO!!!

  • Brocha

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    I’m hooked 🙂

  • Sury

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Totally hooked! No words!

    keep goin’ ?

  • Kayla-Oppenheimer

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    I’m enjoying the ride, Word Warrior. There are so many dimensions to Zara. Under all the bravado, laughter, there’s a certain astuteness, shrewdness, no problem with taking risks, a strong exterior, and a gentle kind interior,   a certain compassion for her friends, and even those who are her aquanitences (Racheli), and she’s good with people. She even figures out a  person before the person has figured him or herself out.

    I especially like the last paragraph as Zara/Zahava reflects on the fact that Shalva’s fear of getting engaged. But the way you bring up the thought bubble in Zahava’s mind is brilliant. That almost nonchalent reflection back to Shalva and her body language, but also Zahava realizes that she’s lucky that she’s not scared to get engaged, it’s as if she’s discovered a new insight about herself.

    I love the racey fast pace of this novel, can’t wait for more.

  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    June 8, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    One more thing I want to point out is how much this story comes alive by being written in the present continuous–it gives is a huge NOW vibe, like it’s unfolding right before the reader’s eyes!

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks guys for all your feedback! It’s exhilirating, it’s fun, it’s motivating. And slightly terrifying- eek! What if I let you down? What if I run out of ideas? (not happening any time soon I’m going wayyyy off topic with Zee cuz there’s just so much to explore bH…it’s gonna be a loooooong novel lol)

    I think I’m open to hearing some critique 🙂 Like, that will help me move forward. Maybe. IDK.

    Fiction Fangirl: Thanks 🙂 I honestly didn’t think about doing that intro moving forward. to be honest, the minute I got Z and her world in my head, the first paragraphs of CH 1 and 2 came to mind and I jotted them down. They were initially back to back, which I loved. I split them up but who knows, I may re-combine them. I don’t think I want to put every relationship/interaction into that light. I think I was really highlighting the shidduch/job thing, where you have to put yourself out there, impress people, but hate the system, etc.

    Riva, Brocha and Sury: thanks 🙂 Your intrigue makes me want to give more!

    Kayla: I love your lengthy comments! Thanks for taking the time! I need to keep re-reading these so I can see how my characters are coming across.

     

    Eeek! Onto Ch 3 🙂

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    Is this your first draft (you mentioned something about this being the ‘drunk’ version)?  If it is, are you interested in critique even if your story is in the developmental/experimental stages?  Any specific feedback you’re looking for?

  • Pickupapen

    Member
    June 9, 2020 at 12:18 am

    I’m having a lot of fun reading this -it’s so different and refreshing.
    But cos I’m a bit nasty I’m gonna give some unsolicited critique- gentle, I promise.

    The first chapter kept me on the edge of my seat and so did the beginning of the second chapter. but then I got a bit confused when it moves rapidly  from Zara’s feelings about her date to her interactions with Shalva and Shalva’s shidduch woes, which takes up the rest of the chapter.

    Maybe this section  could be moved to the next chapter to keep things snappy like they were in the first chapter?

    One more thing is maybe you’ll reconsider the frequent use of the term ‘cracks up.’

    Cant wait to read more!

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 10, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Love the energy! just keeps rolling.

    Love the dialogue! I can literally hear Zee’s voice. It’s high pitch with a slight shrill 🙂

    I’m always on the lookout for dialogue advice. Any tips?

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    June 10, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    Oho! I can reply individually!

    This makes things easier, and we can also keep threads going on a certain topic, I love this feature!
    Ok, never mind. It seems to be replying all 🙁

    Let’s try a quote: [quote quote=18446]Is this your first draft (you mentioned something about this being the ‘drunk’ version)?  If it is, are you interested in critique even if your story is in the developmental/experimental stages?  Any specific feedback you’re looking for?[/quote]

    It worked 🙂 Great question. Yes, totally first draft, maybe I edited five-ten WORDS as I read it over quickly a second time. I honestly don’t think critique is helpful now cuz I’m already rethinking of how I want to present information- maybe cut and paste various paragraphs for earlier/later…as I write more, I see that some info is redundant and some is totally important.

    Not that I actually have any clue what I’m doing.

    Which brings me to HappiWriters question: Thanks for the comments 🙂 Tips on dialogue advice? I guess I like to pretend I’m just listening in on them talking. People speak in a very real, frank, just, people-ish way, you know? When the character says, “this is my grandfather’s mug. It was passed down from generation to generation and now I have protected it from any harm during my whole lifetime, so when you asked me about it it brought tears to my eyes” I’m like mehhhh. I don’t know anyone who speaks that way.

    Honestlly, my characters are ALL based off of people I know (and know well). It’s just more awesome than real life cuz I can make them do whatever I want, heh heh 🙂 But they all speak the way real people I know speak. That’s all I can really say about that.

    I’d love to hear others approaches!

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    June 10, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    [quote quote=18453]I’m having a lot of fun reading this -it’s so different and refreshing. But cos I’m a bit nasty I’m gonna give some unsolicited critique- gentle, I promise. The first chapter kept me on the edge of my seat and so did the beginning of the second chapter. but then I got a bit confused when it moves rapidly from Zara’s feelings about her date to her interactions with Shalva and Shalva’s shidduch woes, which takes up the rest of the chapter. Maybe this section could be moved to the next chapter to keep things snappy like they were in the first chapter? One more thing is maybe you’ll reconsider the frequent use of the term ‘cracks up.’ Cant wait to read more![/quote]

    Thanks Pickupapen!

    You’re not nasty lol 🙂 But thanks for being gentle. That’s a GREAT suggestion. True, I have no idea where the Shalva scene came from, it kinda took on a life of its own 🙂 Everyone in my head is screaming to be heard so I’m just rolling with it though when I edit I hope to cut out a lot of that scene (and probably lots of others I’ve already written).

    Yes, everyone cracks up too much lol :)) Any good suggestions to replace it with? Need that sudden, deep, intense laughter effect 🙂

  • Brocha

    Member
    June 10, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    guffaws? chortles? rolls? shakes from laughter? laughs til they cry?

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    June 10, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    oooh good ones!

    ok, guffaws scares me. i don’t know anyone who guffaws. what does it look like? why do they guffaw? why dont they crack up (lol i guess everyone I know cracks up!)

    chortles. more old man or southern drawl imagery. similiar to guffaw. i can’t imagine Z chortling OR guffawing. heeee heee

    rolls? me likeee likeeee 🙂

    shakes from laughter? pretty good. Maybe snorts with laughter. snorts ice coffee up her nose and laughs so hard she starts to cry.

    ahhhh. there we go 🙂

    thoughts?

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    June 10, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    My personal opinion?  Skip as many dialogue tags as possible when writing first-person POV.  Dialogue is strong enough to stand on its own.  In general, stick to plain he/she said to keep things clean.  To illustrate:

    I’m pulling into the driveway when my phone dings. Mom.

    Sigh.

    “Hi Mom! I’ll be right inside.”

    “I know.  I see your lights in the driveway.”

    “Then why-“ I roll my eyes.

    “Mrs. Hennisburg just called me- she has an idea.” Mom doesn’t often show her enthusiasm when it comes to shidduchim, but the fact that she’s calling me when she knows I’m in the driveway means something, right?

    “Yes, she mentioned she might have something”. I close the car door and come up the front steps, meeting Mom on the porch.

    “Hi!” I say into the phone. She giggles.

    “Hi! Welcome home.” She’s about to hang up, but I turn away from her and say, “So! Who is my wonderful future husband? Does he have three arms? Does he have a face? Does he come past my elbows?”

    Mom snorts. “Stop!”  She pulls the phone away from her ear.

    “Don’t hang up on me!”

    “Don’t see why I can’t”

    I laugh.  “You’ve got a point”

    Mom opens the door and we both enter the house together.

  • Pickupapen

    Member
    June 19, 2020 at 12:36 am

    Hey, Word Warrior,

    When does chapter 3 come out?

    Waiting in suspense…

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    June 19, 2020 at 1:59 am

    Ooh, I love the tense! Makes me feel like I’m in her brain.

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    June 21, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for the nudge!

    I’ve been writing, not so much posting. Here’s a little something…though I think I’ll be changing a LOT of it in the editing process 😉

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