Literary Journalism Character Story
Bring a childhood photograph with you to class; choose the photo carefully; it should reflect an important event or perhaps is a turning point in your life. Travel back to the place, to the time; what memories does it evoke? Imagine having a dialogue with a person in the photo. Write the dialogue.
I place my cup of tea directly on the perimeter of the stain it left on the white table.
My beanie is still over my head and my gloves are lying over my coat that’s resting on the chair next to me. Reaching out reluctantly, I grab onto my gloves, rest back on the chair and let out a sigh.
There’s a woman sitting alone, having a cup of cappuccino. She sipped through it slowly then set it down next to an untouched plate of petit fours.
Still reluctant, I don’t move.
A few minutes later a child comes out. She’s small and fragile with olive skin, and straight-hair cut into a short kare haircut. Her slanted eyes give away her Asian ethnicity.
Following her, a bigger girl steps out. She looks exactly like how I used to. Her chubby cheeks and her cheeky smile follow her as she runs past her little sister to her mom, grabs the petit fours and runs away.
“Give one to your sister,” her mom yells at her from across the café.
“No, it’s mine. It’s mine. I’m the eldest,” she says before she vanishes back into the room.
I slide on my gloves, put on my coat and walk into the small room of snow. It’s so small. The stairs that lead up to the only slide in here are to my right and the little garden of snow facing it is not big enough for a person my size to play in.
I see the little girl buried in a red coat playing in the snow with her bare hands. That’s weird, I remember buying a set of white gloves that day. They had little black snowflakes in the inside of the palm.
“Where are your gloves?” I asked.
She looks up at me, looks back down and continues to play with the snow.
I sense her levels of anxiety rise and I remember my fear of talking and nervousness around people. I’m both angered and dismayed at myself for putting her in a situation of distress. But at least, we still have something in common.
I’m here for a reason. I’m meant to do something or say something but nothing feels right. I want to take this opportunity to relive my childhood through her eyes.
I remember now, I failed to build a snowman on this day.
“I can build a snowman,” I lied.
“Really?” She finally looks up at me. Her eyes squint when she smiles. They look like little crescents hiding behind her cheeks. I can’t help but smile. My eyes still do that but I don’t have the cheeks to hide them anymore.
“Yeah, let me help you.” I sit down next to her, collect the snow around us and bring it to the center, between her and I, to make the first part of the snowman.
“What’s your name?” I ask.
“Alyazya H. K.,” she says with a proud smile, almost as though she won a battle.
“My name is Alyazya too.” My words come out steadily, drawing a cheeky smile on my face.
“How do you write it? I write mine with a y. I don’t like people that write my name wrong.” Here we go… “Some people write it with e, not an a. I write my name: A-L-Y-A-Z-E-Y-A.”
“I write it just like you do but I don’t use an e in my name,” I replied.
“Why?” She raises her eyebrows, pushing them together to where two lines will appear when she’s around the age of 16. These sad eyes are a bad habit. “It’s wrong,” she says as her lips sink into her chin and her eyes move downwards to where her fingers are playing with snow.
“Don’t worry, I’ll fix it,” I say in a successful attempt to console her. She smiles again and reminds me to finish the snowman before her maid walks in to tell her that it’s time to go.
After putting up a fight, she gets up and walks past me. I hear her beg her mother to stay for a few more minutes before she accepts an ice-cream bribery.
Unable to watch them leave, I’m frozen in my spot, staring at the ice in front of me. Her voice fades away with her sister’s and her mom’s as they leave me behind.