Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Creative Writing

He was a hockey player from Montreal. He smoked pot in the woods behind the basketball hoops, just outside the ring of the dorm’s orange light, with my friend Justin, who was a dealer. Once Justin introduced him to me, and he said, yeah, I know Jenny, though I never knew why. The class fulfilled a requirement for him, and most of the time he didn’t speak, just nodded when the professor called his name for attendance. I sat there in the desk behind him, three days a week, looking at the way his dark hair curled down, sometimes wet, sometimes dry and tangled, into the collars of his shirts, hockey hair. Sometimes he wore a bright blue sweater with big uneven stitches that looked homemade, and a collar that kind of rested low so you could see bare skin over the muscles in his neck.

Finally one day he had to read something in class. He looked down at the paper the whole time and read fast about Nintendo games lined up on the wooden shelf above his bed, the faded colors of the labels, how he prized them. The story ended when his basement room flooded and they all got ruined. He didn’t even check if they still worked, just threw them clattering into a big black trash bag and never fished them back out like I would’ve.

Since then I’ve read millions of words on pages, millions of first-draft words, millions of published words, written millions of words of my own. But his line of grey plastic games, the way the light slanted in on them through the basement window in the late afternoons when his friends came over after practice to flop on beanbag chairs on the orange shag rug and make fun of each other and play Contra or Excitebike or Mario, the way the labels curled, peeled, and then rubbed off, ruined, after the flood, his childhood’s end…strange, the things you never forget.


Blogger Lyle Rosdahl said...

Great piece. How funny, inspiration. I love the really tight, clear and specific details of memory here. And the story within a story.

Thanks for sharing. I'll post a link to it on the site because I'm thrilled that people were intrigued by the mistake (I know I would have been too, had I been able to see it). Vulcanized rubber was discovered accidentally.

Talk to you soon.

2:22 PM  

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