Assignment 4

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Assignment 4 from Just Write:

The Bell


“Miss, Miss, excuse me Miss, have they been dismissed yet?” the disheveled, middle-aged woman on the bench asked with urgency, as she pulled her coat up around herself.
Tina tired from her day of cleaning, barely noticed her before the woman’s strained voice forced her to look at her. Now she looked towards where the distraught woman was pointing; it was Bayside High School, where she herself had graduated from.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know; I didn’t hear the dismissal bell she said to the strange woman. Now that she was looking at her, she saw that she had really dirty, dirty blonde hair and startling blue eyes.
“Oh, well I just came here to give my son some money. Ya see, this morning I told him I didn’t have any and well I just want to make sure he get’s some lunch money, I don’t want him going hungry.”
“Well, I remember being a teenage,” said Tina, I’m sure he’ll survive,” she told the strange woman as she strode off, out of the park.
As she was walking thru the gates of JFK Park she noticed a park security guard having a Coke. “Hey did the High School get out yet?” she asked the guard.
“Where are you from,” said the guard as he finished sipping his coke. “School’s been out for two weeks.”
“Oh,” said Tina, caught off guard by this statement. “Well, that lady sitting back there on the bench said she was waiting on her high school son to get out.”
“Yea I know..,” shrugged the guard flipping his head in the direction of the stranger, “well she’s really not all here” he said, gesturing at his head. “Ever since her son came back from Vietnam; well came back in a body bad, that is. She hasn’t been right ever since.” She comes here every day at Noon and leaves when the bell rings signaling that recess is over”
“That’s terrible” said Tina as she hesitated for a moment but then continued on down the street to her next customer, already thinking of the month’s worth of grime and dirt she would have to make disappear in the next four hours. Thoughts of the woman and her son were already left behind on the park bench.

3 comments:

Patry Francis said...

Wow. Powerful story.

Marewheeee said...

Very timely,
I've been reading a 4 part story in the Globe called "The War after the War" about 3 soldiers who's vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in October 2004. One was killed and the two comrades suffer greatly as they try survive the aftermath and reintegrate into civilian life. They're in their 20's and will never be the same as they were before. It brought me to tears.
It's extremely poignant and reminds me that war is omnipresent.
Why does it have to be?

rdl said...

Thanks PF
and mare - terrible i agree.