Author's note: This is my first submission, so feel free to give me criticism. Make it harsh, if you have to! 😄
As I walked along, I happened to lock eyes with someone. She didn't look familiar. She tore her gaze away, disappearing into the swarm of people. I soon forgot her, as the cool autumn breeze ran through my hair, tousling it.
Great. Now my hair's all tangled. At least I looked good with tousled hair. I gave a small laugh, drawing a few stares from people. I ignored them, listening to the wind whispering in the trees, calling my name. Then... silence from the wind.
Oof! Now... laughter from the trees and the wind.
I glared at the trees, as if it was their fault I had slammed into someone. Hey... this is the lady who was staring at me earlier! I turned red with embarrassment.
“I’m so sorry!” I exclaimed, as the woman reached down to pick up her scattered things.
I put down my backpack and leaned down to help her pick up her things, people walking around us, just a small island in the middle of the sea.
“You’re fine,” the woman replied. “I’ve had worse collisions.”
I handed her the last bits of change that had fallen out of her wallet, and then we both stood up. We looked at each other, and a look passed over her face. She looked surprised, startled almost, but it was gone before I could figure it out, and then she smiled.
“Thank you,” she said. Then she stuck out her hand. “I’m Alicia, by the way.”
“I’m Aisha,” I told her, “Aisha Windsor.”
Another look flickered over her face, this time a mixture of relief and… regret? But once again, it was gone just as quickly as it came. Maybe I was just imagining it. Oh, well.
Alicia looked at her watch. “I’d better go, or I’ll be late to work. Good-bye.” She waved and started weaving her way through the sea of people.
I leaned down to pick up my backpack, and that’s when I saw it. The thing that would change my life forever.
It was a locket, and it was open. It must have opened when it hit the ground. The name Alicia was engraved in the front, but that didn’t matter to me. The inside was what mattered. There were two pictures, one of a younger-looking Alicia, and the other of two baby girls, sitting with their hands on the same stuffed dog. When I saw the picture of the baby girls, I gasped, and my legs went shaky. I made my way to a bench, and sat down, breathing heavily, sucking in the cold autumn air. I’d never met Alicia before, but I was positive that she’d met me. She had to have. Maybe when I was a baby. Maybe she knew my parents. But then why had she never come to any of my parents’ parties? Had there been an argument? I had so many questions, but I had one that stood out: Who was Alicia, and why did she have a picture of me in her locket?
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After I got over my initial shock, I stood up and looked around. Where was Alicia headed? Was it towards City Hall, or towards Allen Park? I couldn’t remember. I racked my brain, trying to remember if she had told me where she worked. I realized it was getting later, and the crowd of people was thinning.
Morning rush hour must be almost over, I thought. I checked my watch.
Ten o'clock!? I missed half of my school day! I’ve been sitting here for two hours! I was really freaking out, and I realized I was going to get a major tardy, maybe even detention. I hurried to school, scolding myself for not paying attention to the time.
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When I got to school, I checked in through the office. As I suspected, I got detention. This was, after all, my third tardy this week, and at my school, three tardies means detention! My parents were not going to be happy. I’ll probably be grounded for a week, and they’ll probably take away my phone. Uugh!
By the time I finished getting my detention slip and tardy slip, it was almost lunchtime. I got to my locker, put my backpack in it, got my stuff, and went to my fourth period class.
“Aisha, how nice of you to join us!” said Mr. Valencia, my science teacher. I turned red, and handed him the tardy slip.
“Sorry. I… I got caught in morning rush hour,” I mumbled before heading to my seat.
Some students snickered, and someone sneered, “Wow, Aisha, are you sure you didn’t just sleep in, like the last time? Too lazy to get up?”
This elicited more snorts and snickers from classmates. The bell rang just then, and relief flooded through me.
“Lunchtime, class. Remember, read page 68-70 in your textbooks, and answer the questions on page 71. Now head out to your lockers and get your lunchboxes,” Mr. Valencia told the class.
Everybody began to get up, and I hurried out the door in a crowd of classmates, trying not to be seen by Mr. Valencia and called back into the room. Fortunately, he was busy grading papers already. When I got to my locker, I put my stuff away. I reached to get my lunchbox, then realized that I forgot to pack it this morning. Now how did I do that? I wasn’t in any hurry. Then I remembered that I was in a hurry, because I had to wait for my brother to finish going to the bathroom before I could brush my teeth and hair. Well, I guess it's school lunch today. Yuck! As I stood in line, I thought about what had happened this morning. I felt my sweatshirt pocket, and to my relief, the locket was still there. Before I could pull it out, I had reached the lunch lady. I got pizza, which looks more like a five year old made it, and then I got an apple and milk. I paid for my lunch, then sat down with my friends. We chatted until lunch was over, and then it was time for fifth period. I went and got my things from my locker, and headed for ELA.
The rest of the school day flew by, and before I knew it, it was time for detention. Since I was the only one with detention that day, I had to spend it in the principal’s office.
“Hi, I’m here for detention,” I told the lady at the front desk.
“You must be Aisha.” I nodded, and then she continued. “The principal isn’t here today- he’s out sick- so you’ll be spending your detention in the new vice principal’s office.” She pointed down a small, carpeted hallway. I walked to the vice principal’s office, and knocked.
“Come in,” someone called. The voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. I opened the door, and walked in. The lady at the desk was looking around in a drawer, so I couldn’t see her face.
“Just sit down at that little table over there,” she said, her voice slightly muffled. I sat down at the table and pulled out some of my homework. The woman finally found what she was looking for, and started to go through some papers. The next hour passed by rather quickly, and when it was 4:00, I gathered up my things. I looked at the woman to tell her goodbye, and my jaw dropped. It was Alicia! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I guess she couldn’t believe her eyes either, because she gave a small cry and dropped the papers she was holding.
“Alicia!” I cried. “I didn’t know you worked here!”
“Well, this is my first day,” she explained as she started picking up papers. I began to help her, but as I leaned down to pick one up from the ground, the locket fell out of my pocket.
“Oh, I forgot all about this!” I said. “It must have dropped from your purse when we collided this morning.”
“Yeah, I figured that was what happened. I couldn’t find it in my purse,” she said. “I’m glad you found it. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. By the way, how did you get the picture of the two little girls? I have a locket similar to yours, and it has the same picture. Did you know my parents or something when I was a baby?” I asked her. I was burning with curiosity, wondering what she would say.
Her face fell, and her eyes started to water. “I… I-I’ll stop by your house later and explain.” Wow. Talk about unexpected. Why couldn't she just tell me here?
“Okaaay, well then, I guess I’d better go,” I told her. My mind was whirring at top speed, trying to figure out what was so important that she couldn't tell me here.
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As I walked home, I wondered why she looked so sad. Had I said something wrong? I reached my apartment building. When I got to my apartment, I unlocked the door, set my bag down, and went to get a snack.
“I’m home!” I said. I sat down at the table to eat my apple, and my mom came in.
“How was your day? The vice principal just called to say that you had detention, and that she’d be stopping by in a little while.”
“Oh, about the detention…”
“Don’t worry about that. She explained that you bumped into her on your way to school, and that you were simply late.”
“Yeah. Um, did she say why she was stopping by?”
“No, I don’t think so. She did say that she would be here by 4:30, so finish up your snack. It’s 4:28.”
“Okay.” I finished my apple, and the doorbell rang, so I went and got the door.
“Hello again, Aisha,” Alicia said.
“Hi. Come on in. Would you like a snack or some tea? Maybe coffee?” I asked as I led her to the living room.
“No thanks. I came to explain about earlier,” she replied. Mom came in just then. She stopped dead in her tracks, and the blood drained from her face.
“Alicia? Is that you? What are you doing here?” she whispered, her voice barely audible. What was with these people today? It's like they're... scared or something.
“I’ve come to tell Aisha about…” Alicia’s voice trailed off. Uggh! Why can't they just spit it out already?
“About what?” I prompted her. “What did you come to tell me about?”
Alicia and my mom looked at each other, and then my mom nodded.
Alicia took a deep breath, and then said, “Aisha, you were adopted. Beth isn’t your birth mom. I am.”
I gasped, and then I sat down heavily on the couch. “WHAT!?” I shout., barely able to control my self. “You mean that my whole life, I’ve been led to think that Beth was my real mom, but in reality, I’m adopted?” Alicia nodded. I continued, this time my anger directed at my mother- no, Beth. “How could you? I’m 18! I should have been told a long time ago!” Just then, the front door slammed, and Dad- no, not Dad, Bud- walked in.
“What is going on in there? Aisha, don’t talk that way to your mother.” He came into the living room, and stopped so fast that he almost fell back. He, too, looked shocked to see Alicia sitting there. “Alicia, what are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to tell Aisha the truth,” Alicia replied, quite calmly, but I could see that she was fighting back tears. I was, too. I was fighting back tears of rage and unhappiness, but I was also fighting back words of hate and unhappiness, words that I knew I would regret saying later. Instead of these words, I chose to ask a question I needed to ask.
“So what now? If I’m adopted, but Alicia is my birth mom, and she’s perfectly capable of caring for me, then who do I live with? You and Beth or Alicia?” I asked Bud.
“Well…” Bud rubbed his head, thinking, contemplating my question. “Well, I guess since you’re 18, you’re technically not a minor anymore. You could choose who you want to live with.”
“Well, I’d like to live with Alicia, then,” I snapped, still upset about Bud and Beth keeping the truth from me.
Beth gasped, and her eyes filled with tears. “Aisha… sweetie, we love you… I mean, it’s your choice but...“ She couldn’t bring herself to say what we all knew she was thinking. She didn’t want to be controlling, but she didn’t want me to just leave and go live with Alicia, not after she had called me her daughter for eighteen years.
“Beth, honey, if Aisha wants to live with Alicia, it’s her choice. We still have the boys. She would have been moving out soon enough to go to college anyway,” Bud told Beth, trying to sooth her, to comfort her, but I could tell that he was just as sad, just as upset.
All this time, Alicia had been sitting, silently fighting back tears. Bud turned to her as if he had just remembered that she was there, and he said, “Of course, it all depends on whether or not Alicia will be happy to have Aisha live with her.” He sounded hopeful, like maybe Alicia would say that I couldn’t live with her.
“I… I-I don’t know. If she really wants to, she can. I mean, if you want her to. If you’re okay with that. I would like to catch up with her. I haven’t seen her in eighteen years, you know.” Her voice gradually became stronger and her words clearer. She looked Bud and Beth in the eyes, and said, “In fact, I would love to have Alicia live with me.”
Beth sighed, and looked at Bud. “Well, we can’t stop her. It’s her choice.”
Bud looked at me, and then at Alicia. “Alright, she can live with you.” Then he looked back at me. “But you will visit us every now and then, right?”
By then, I was just so glad to live with Alicia that I said without hesitation, “Yes, yes, of course I will.” Then I was struck with a sudden thought. “Alicia, who was the other baby in the picture in the locket?”
“That’s Aiya, your twin sister,” she said with a smile. “I believe you know her very well.”
“You don’t mean Aiya Willis, do you?” I asked.
“But of course. I believe she has a locket similar to ours.”
“Does she know that she was adopted?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps I will visit her. But whatever she chooses, we can’t be upset, now can we?” she replied. She gave a little smile.
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1 Month Later
“Aisha, Aiya, it’s time to get up! Time for school!”
I sat up groggily. “Mom, it’s still dark out.” I got up anyway, and started getting ready.
“Breakfast will be ready in 10 minutes, so hurry up.” Then Mom went out of the room.
“I still can’t believe that Alicia’s our mom!” Aiya exclaimed.
“I know, right?” I replied.
“Well, I’m glad we’re sisters, and that she’s our mom. You know, I’ve been wondering, who was our dad, and why did Alicia have to give us up for adoption?”
“I think she might have been too young. I mean, she’s 36, and if we’re 18, then that means that she had us at 18. But I don’t know who our dad is. We’ll have to ask Mom,” I said.
Ten minutes later, we headed downstairs to the kitchen. “Mom, who was our dad?” I asked. Mom’s eyes clouded, and she said, “Girls, you’re dad… well, his name was Richard Masters. He and I were so anxious to get married and begin our life together that we got married as soon as we finished high school. Shortly after, I was pregnant with you two. Then your dad was deployed, and he went MIA. I decided to put you up for adoption after you were born, because I couldn’t take care of you by myself, and I didn’t want to marry again. I was certain he was killed.”
“Oh, that’s terrible!” Aiya exclaimed.
Mom started to cry, so we just hugged her, then left for school. Mom would probably catch up later. The last thing we saw her doing was looking at a picture of a young man in an Army uniform.
She looks so sad. I wonder who the man in the picture is. Maybe a brother? Whoever it was, I couldn't dwell it long, because there were only 8 seconds left to cross, and Aiya was waiting for me.
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2 months later
It was a school morning, and there was a knock on the door. I went to open the door, and there was a man standing there. He looked… familiar, somehow. Then it clicked. This was the man in the picture Mom was looking at a few months ago. Was this our… dad?
“Richard?” Mom gasped. “Is that you?”
The man opened his arms and said, “Yes, my love. I’ve been searching so long for you. Are these our daughters?” He looked at Aiya and me.
“Yes. I can’t believe it’s you.” Mom burst into tears.
Richard gathered us all together, and we hugged each other. We stayed like that for a long time. We didn’t go to school. Mom even called in sick.
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Ok, before you read: please please please don't take everything I say seriously. I can be harsh. Sometimes. Add some description of inner emotion and conflict of the main character. Our power as writers is being able to speak through our characters. Really try to describe the inner conflict of your character. This can be difficult, as you might not always be able to resonate with your character. Also, ( you might disagree, and that's completely cool ) but there are a lot of "new characters." I think that your story would be a little more ...
First of all take my critique with a grain of salt (since all writers have their own preferences) Also my comments and critiques tend to be very long...: - I think the way you start the story is humorous, but unnecessary. The story though happy does not benefit from that introduction. Maybe if this was a Dear Dairy type story, os a story where the character was retelling something, it would make sense. - Second paragraph starts with a conversation, I don't know having a story start with a conversation is hard, it needs to be a pretty int...
Hey! This was so good....I bet I did read it earlier..... Anyways....I LOVED it though the end was abit hurried....
Thank you I'm pretty sure you did but that's a-okay. Ty again!! Ikr, my first writing piece. This is when I started out with writing, like, short stories. It was an assignment for my 8th grade english class! Can't believe it's only been a year since I started writing short stories.
Hahaha your bio makes me want to be best friends w you!=)
Ahhh, thank you!
LOL it is really funny!
Will you read my first story and leave a comment?
I think this is a reflection of your talent. You do a great job of having suspense, but you should try to not make things seem obvious that are actually extremely hard to distinguish. Like when you say she looks regretful, I don't think that from a look Aisha would be able to distinguish that. In other words, be realistic in your portrayal of human nature. Even in fantasy that's important (not that this is fantasy). Other than that, you should certainly try to develop and understand the inner motives and machinations of your characters. You ...
The story is wonderful. Everything was written very well and the plot is good. The only thing that I would change would be having a little bit more about the adoptive family in the ending since, I'm sure they loved her very much and were her family for so long. But that's just my opinion and the story was great. I loved the twist how the vice principal turned out to be her mom. 👍👍👍
Hello! Let me start off by saying congrats on your first submission! I enjoyed reading it very much :) For some improvement, I really think you should focus on 'show don't tell'. Saying things like 'I was embarrased' and 'uggh!' are not insightful at all to the reader and make the work sound too plain. Describe the inner emotions more and try to use more description with the surroundings and people. The whole way through I wasn't able to conjure up images of the characters or places because they hardly got any descriptions. However, that all...
Hey hey Ivy!! I adore this story!! Thanks so so much for sharing and have a great rest of your evening!
I felt that the dialogue moved way to quickly, as well as the story. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. I don't mean to sound rude, though. Otherwise, this was amazing and you should keep writing.
Good first submission! I think your writing was good- pacing, grammar, and paragraph breaks (which I love so they’re not too long!) were all really good. The one thing I would point out is that it was almost too good to be true- found her mom, sister, and MIA dad one after another. Probably not super realistic, but I do love a good happy ending! I think what would add a huge amount of depth is also acknowledging her loss- her parents that have raised her lovingly for 18 years, the damage that relationship sustained, and also how to go forwar...
I love your tone; it's so simple, yet really cynical. It fits perfectly with the type of stories you write. My only critique is that some of the lines feel a little bit offbeat and clunky, especially the dialogue. I think it's mostly the dialogue; your narration is beautiful, but sometimes, it's hard to get out of a character's head. Maybe think "Would someone say this in real life?" before you write the line. That usually helps me. I sometimes even run it through with someone else to see if it's awkward. Think like a playwright! Make sure y...
Heya Marissa!! This was an awesome first submission and I enjoyed it immensely! The pace was really well...er paced :) and i think that you did an amazing job with molding the story to fit the prompt, yet making it entirely unique!! I caught just a few grammar issues.... "Now, let me tell you about my life, and how I discovered the truth about my life by chance." This is kinda wordy and complex....you could simplify it to be something like... "Now, let me tell you how I discovered the truth about my life, completely by chance..." This kin...
Ah! This is so great! I love this story. I just can't believe it was your FIRST submission!!! Please please please ..... I forgot what I was gonna say after this.... maybe write another part? suggest some other stories? write a comedy? I got no idea. Take your pick
okay, pardon me, but I haven't read your stories yet. *cough* well, we'll fix that now *cough* okay. Not a bad first story :) the pacing was a bit fast (in my opinion), and the dialogue did seem a bit rushed in some places, but great job overall! I like the concept, and to think, that it basically all happened by chance lol. Great job :D
Hai Ivy, my Reedsy Cast story is out! Your character isn't in the first one, but I have some ideas for you hehehe :D