“Honey, there’s something I have to tell you,” Gavin Matthews said gravely to the back of his wife of fifteen years, Catherine. She paused, her hand gripping the wooden spoon stirring their tomato soup dinner on the stove in front of her.
“What’s wrong?” she said, turning the fire down and trying not to think of what her husband could be talking about. She placed the spatula on a plastic holder beside the stove.
“Justin and Audrey,” Gavin began.
Catherine held her breath.
What’s 16,000 feet below sea level? I don’t know, but I bet educated scientists could tell you for me. Locked up in the dreamy, intoxicating mind that is my own, I imagine mermaids and all their sea-breathing friends playing under the sea and I wonder when we’re gonna stop exploring space and investigate the sea. The wide open sea that connects us altogther, the same salty carrier that parts lovers and separates families. The wide open sea that holds the element that brings life. Bring it all to me, let me feel the energy.
“Where’s your sister?” Missy Winters asked her niece Maggie Robinson as the elder girl came thumping down the stairs after a marathon video game session in her room.
“I don’t know,” the four-year-old replied, staring rapturously at the fast-paced cartoon on the medium-sized television screen in the family room of their new old house.
I won third place at the 2002 Modesto Junior College “Celebration of the Humanities” contest.
I think love is real and true when all those cheesy love songs on adult contemporary radio begin to make sense. My name is Francesca Miller. I am the product of an American fighting man and an attractive Italian-American. I’m twenty-four years old. I want to tell you a story about the One. I first remembered Giovanni Paretti when his little brother Joey and my little brother Anthony met in choir class. The drama teacher at school had decided to do the musical, Picnic. That’s where their friendship grew and I got to know of Joey. Then I put two and two together. I realized that he was related to Giovanni and that Giovanni had been a teacher’s assistant in my sophomore English class. He was a senior at the time.
Chapter 1: Birth and Rebirth
My mother gave birth to me when she was sixteen. She said she was so taken by the stars in my eyes that she named me Stella. Mother attended an all-girls’ Catholic school, paid for by my wealthy grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Clermont.
During her winter holiday from St. Augustine’s, she met the boy whom would give me half of my DNA. His name is inconsequential as he died from a drug overdose when I was two years old. He was that kind of man. Wrong side of the tracks, did every exotic drug under the sun, slept with anything that moved. If the circumstances of my birth hadn’t ended up in misery, I’m sure it would’ve made a lovely story to tell the grandkids.
However, that is not the case.