Monday, August 29, 2011

Writing Challenge Response: College Edition

In celebration of the first day of classes, I am posting these responses to one of our recent writing challenges.  Please remember that these are unedited first responses - there is no time to go back and revise.

Writer 2 is our new college student, our very own Older Daughter.  If you would like to read more of her writing or keep up to date on what she's doing, read her blog!

1.  What happens when Oldest Daughter moves into college and discovers that her roommate is a ______? (Fill in the blank and answer question.)

Writer 1 wrote:
“Ahhh,” Maria sighed as she put her stuff on the floor. “That feels better.”  Maria was moving into college and would be seeing her roommate soon.  I hope that we get along,” Maria fretted. 

“I think we will,” said a voice from the doorway. 

“Natasha!  You’re here!”  Maria said joyfully, while secretly wondering if Natasha was a cereal killer.  (I mean what I say!) 

Natasha came in, set her stuff down, and began unpacking.  Maria noticed that a lot of spoons were in her luggage.  “What’s with the spoons?” she asked, trying to sound nonchalant. 

“I’m notorious for losing them,” Natasha replied.  So Maria asked no more questions. 

Late that night Natasha got up, got a spoon, and walked over to Maria.  She raised the spoon high over her head, smiled, and plunged the spoon into Maria’s heart!  Or at least she tried to.  Instead, the spoon bent, and skittered out of Natasha’s hand.  Also, Maria woke up. “You are a cereal killer!” she cried. 

Natasha shook her head, and said, “No, I’m not,” but looked very uncomfortable. 

“You are,” Maria insisted.  “Why else would you stab me with a spoon?” 

Natasha sighed, then nodded. “Yes, I’m a cereal killer.  Happy now?”

* * * *

Writer 2 wrote:
Other parents call the school asking to remove their daughters from their roommates. They complain and make stereotypes and fail to justify their actions. I, a tolerant human being, will do no such thing. My daughter has the smartest person in school for a roommate.

We were moving her into her dorm room on the third floor, each of us lugging heavy boxes full of things that would mostly be forgotten in dusty corners during the coming year. My box was full of shoes and books, so I was having a particularly hard time carrying it up the stairs. My daughter ambled along in front of me with her instrument.

“Hi,” she said casually to someone I could not see. “Mom, this is my roommate, Cheryl.”

“Pleased to meet you,” I grunted, still unable to catch a glimpse of her face. I would have shaken her hand, but both of mine were wrapped around the cardboard box.  I set it down where my daughter pointed and turned with a big smile to face her roommate.

And screamed.

For standing – no, not standing, but really floating in a tank of green gel, or SOMETHING, was a disembodied brain.

“Hello,” said the brain (I’m not sure how). “Nice to meet you.” The accent sounded vaguely Chinese.

“Mom, don’t be rude,” my daughter commanded, rolling her eyes at me condescendingly as she went downstairs to fetch another piece of luggage.   My legs seemed to be glued to the floor.

“I hope she didn’t bring a lava lamp,” the brain said worriedly. “Oh well. Excuse me, I need to go get the rest of my stuff.” I stepped back as the tank slid in a wide arc towards the door.

“What happened?” I managed choke out to my daughter when she reappeared.


“To your roommate??”

“Uh… What do you mean?”

I blinked, dumbfounded. Unfortunately, I was prevented from finding out any more because “Cheryl” was right behind me. So I stumbled down to the car to recompose myself.   “Bob, have you seen our daughter’s roommate?” I asked my husband, who was sitting in the car, refusing to do any work.

“Yes, she was very polite,” he answered without hesitation. “Apparently she had the highest SAT scores in the entire state. She was accepted into Harvard, but they didn’t give her any aid.”

“But she’s….”

“She’s what?”

Maybe I had been hallucinating. So when we pulled out of the parking lot I resolved not to call the school. I look at it from the bright side. My daughter has the smartest roommate in the entire school.

* * * * 

Writer 3 wrote:
After the helpful frat boys had moved all of Maria’s boxes to her dorm room, Maria flopped on the bed, exhausted from the move.  Aside from Maria’s three boxes, the room appeared to be empty.  It was already 3 PM.  Where was her roommate, Maria wondered. 

As she hugged her parents one last time, and watched them as they walked off into the proverbial sunset, Maria had a feeling of foreboding.  She pushed the feeling aside, and got up to put the sheets on her bed. She considered the choices, and plopped the sheet on the other bed. 

“Hey!  That’s my bed!” said a tiny voice.  Maria’s heart skipped a beat. 

“Huh?  Who said that?!” 

“I did.  I’m your roommate.  My name is Aurelia Spice, and I’m from Madagascar.  I am so jealous that you had your parents to help you move in.  Your Dad makes a really loud noise when he blows his nose.  And the force of your Mom’s sneezes nearly knocked me over.”

During this speech, Maria followed the sound of the tiny voice, and finally found her college roommate.  Standing on the bed was a tiny cockroach, waving one leg in a friendly way.

A thousand thoughts rushed through Maria’s mind. “I’m in a reverse Kafka story.  I wish I had brought a magnifying glass.  Is my roommate going to eat my food?  Would she mind if I use all the closet space, since she’s not using any?”

1 comment:

Renee said...

Maybe it's just me, but I find all three of these kind of scary :-)