A Book is a Dream That You Hold in Your Hand

Submitted into Contest #78 in response to: Write about someone who keeps picking up different hobbies but never manages to stick with them.... view prompt

48 comments

Fiction Friendship Funny

*Nainika’s Note* Ok, to those of you who have seen Smurf’s: The Lost Village, tell me you didn’t immediately think of Smurfette when you read this prompt? Like the beginning of the movie when they were showing Smurfette trying all the trades of the individual smurfs but always doing horribly? This is completely unrelated to my story, (which by the way I wrote literally in less than two hours, so it’s not the best thing I’ve written) I just wanted to point that out - and maybe you didn’t make the connection, and my brain will perpetually be that of a 5-year-old…


My parents always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. That’s what every parent tells their kid, right? But we all know that what they’re really trying to say, is to choose their preferred career, and along the way, they’d have nudged you along, until finally, you think you choose that path under your willpower. 

I, too, fell into that trap. I was Roux Steele, daughter of famed doctors, Patrick and Violetta Steele, Ph.D., MD. It was basically the reason I was born. Everyone wanted me to become a doctor too, continuing on the family legacy. And I found myself eager to do the same. Until I was about to move into my dorm at Stanford, and I thought to myself, am I really doing something want? The answer, if you haven’t guessed, was no. So I threw my unpacked bags back into my car, kissed my dumbfounded parents goodbye, and with a whopping $1,200 to my name, earned from babysitting, allowances, and birthdays, turned onto West I-88 and just…drove. 


***


“Ma’am, do you have any idea the speed I clocked you at?” The cop stood outside my car door, hands looped in his belt buckles, and handlebar mustache twitching with every gust of wind that came from the trucks speeding down I-80. I tried and failed, to stifle a giggle, something that made him frown even harder. If such a thing were even possible. “Something the matter, ma’am?” I shook my head and dug out my wallet from the center console. 

“Sorry, officer. I have no excuse. It was just caffeine-fueled.” I said, handing him my driver’s license. He glanced at it, and did a double-take, peering at me in the waning afternoon light. 

“Steele? As in, Patrick-” I sighed. Even in the middle of Nebraska, my parents were famous. 

“Yes, as in the daughter of Violetta and Patrick Steele.” He paused for a moment, then handed me back my license. 

“I’ll let you off with a warning this time, but next time, you won’t be so lucky.” He nodded at me and turned to walk away. I stared at his retreating form, internally fuming. My parents still found ways to control my life, even when they were halfway across the country. I pulled out of the stopped lane, put on my sunglasses, and took the first exit. York, Nebraska. This was to be my new home. I was done living life the way my parents intended, and damn anyone who tried to stop me. 


***1 year later***


“So, you don’t like baking, you don’t like painting, nor do you like square-dancing. Is there anything you do like?” My best friend, Daniel Courgin, looked at me exasperatedly. He was decked head to toe in frosting, blond hair sticking straight up, and glasses askew over his blue eyes. I crossed my arms, which was difficult to do in my lemon-meringue flecked borrowed apron. 

His poor kitchen looked as if a tornado had crossed through it, which in my case, was very similar to a natural disaster. I was in the middle of a mid-life crisis, happening in my early twenties. After turning down the exit to York, Nebraska, I had made a life for myself in the dusty town and found my best friend there. But recently, I had felt like I didn’t belong, hence my baking disaster. 

I had a job, started my own real estate business, that despite being in the middle of Nebraska, was doing quite well. However, I didn't want to become my parents, all work and no play. So, my idea was to pick a hobby and stick with it, finally doing something unique to me, and only me, but so far, nothing was clicking. Painting had ended in the same way, with my frustration finally ending up with me chucking the paint water at Danny, who ducked, obviously, which was bad news for his living room window. Let’s just say, I’d never seen him that mad and exasperated before. 

And then square-dancing. Oh boy. I had arrived at the place with Danny in high spirits and was asked to leave almost exactly five minutes later after elbowing someone into their drinks, which had started a bar fight. It…was not the best five minutes of my life. I’m pleased to report that as Danny was dragging me out of there, I managed to get a few punches in, and wore my subsequent black eye as a trophy of honor for the next week. 

I pulled out my list and consulted it. 

  • Baking
  • Square-Dancing
  • Painting
  • Crocheting
  • Reading
  • Hiking
  • Gardening

“Well, we have a few outdoor ones next?” I said hesitantly, trying not to smile at his unamused expression. 

“Good.” He grunted as a glob of frosting slid from his shirt onto the floor. 

“Well, how was I supposed to know that you needed to put the cover on the blender before turning it on?” I said, my hands on my hips. He glowered and opened his mouth to say something, but I held my hands out. “Say no more. Say no more. I shall get going.” Danny rolled his eyes. Snickering, I ran out of the kitchen and into the bathroom. 

After cleaning myself up, I headed back into the kitchen. Danny was a force of nature, already finished up cleaning the meringue and was just putting the numerous dishes I’d used into the dishwasher. 

“I’m ready!” I announced, sailing into the kitchen. He looked at me, annoyed, before wiping his hands and taking his apron off. 

“Where are we going, India?” Danny asked, hanging up the rag he was cleaning with. I looked over my list. 

“Hiking!” I chirped. Danny sighed. 

“Come on, then, let’s go. I want you to find your hobby by the end of the day.” I smiled, jumping on the balls of my feet.

“Yay!” We walked into the garage and got into Danny’s rusted red pickup truck. 

“India, we’re gonna go to the park, because there are a bunch of long trails winding around the lake.” I nodded, watching eagerly out the window. 


***


“UGH,” I said, groaning at the sight of cornfields, cornfields, and even more cornfields, “I don't think Nebraska is the state for hiking. We’re done.” Danny, almost twenty feet in front of me rolled his eyes. 

“We just started walking!” I looked back, and saw the glint of sun on his pick-up truck, and turned around. 

“It was long enough.” I said over my shoulder. Danny caught up to me, shielding his eyes from the sun. 

“Then what is your next one?” I scratched my head. 

“Gardening?” He pursed his lips. 

“I mean, I don’t have a garden, but my sister does. We can go see if she’ll let you care for her plants.” I smiled. 

“Thanks, Dan.” 


***


“AHH!” I screamed, flinging a clump of dirt behind me, which, unfortunately for Dan, landed on his head. Dirt showered down his hair, and he groaned, shaking his head. 

“What is it now?” I shuddered, ripping off my gardening gloves, and dusting my jeans off. 

“There was a bug!” I said, taking my shoes off and dumping them out to make sure there was no creepy crawlies hiding there. 

“That’s kind of the point of gardening.” Danny pointed out, sighing in exasperation. He ran his fingers through his hair and unearthed a small rolly-polly. “This is what you were scared of?” He asked, amused. I nodded so fast, my ponytail loosened. 

“It’s absolutely disgusting.” I said. Danny got up, dusting his overalls off. 

“Alright then. Gardening and hiking are gone. What’s left?” I didn’t need to check my list. I had unconsciously memorized them. 

“Reading and crocheting.” Danny sighed. 

“Fine. And then I’m done?” I nodded. 

“Great. After today, I need a break. Preferable across the state from you.” I pouted. “I’m joking, Jesus Christ. You are so high maintenance.” I smiled, elbowing him. 

“I know.” 


***


“I HATE THIS!” I roared, flinging my sewing needles across the room. Danny ducked, yelling in outrage as they punched holes in his walls. 

“STOP DESTROYING MY HOUSE!” he yelled back at me. I sighed, slumping in my seat. 

“Am I ever going to find something I like?” He glowered at me, running a hand over the holes in his disgusting wallpaper. In my mind, the holes complimented the horrible yellow and pink stripes. I looked down at the small line I’d managed to crochet, which was so frustrating. The endless loops. The impatience of me. I just didn’t like it. Danny got up, putting aside his beanie he’d managed to complete in the past fifteen minutes, and stalked over to his bookshelf, muttering angrily. He yanked off a book, and stomped back over to me, dumping it in my hands. 

“Read this. And for Christ’s sake. DON’T MOVE FROM HERE!” I shrunk back at his raised voice, then turned the book over to read the title. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin. Hmm. I opened the cover and was immediately engrossed in the story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I looked up at Danny, who was slumped in his loveseat, eyes closed, and smiled. 

He’d done it. He’d helped me find a hobby all my own: Reading.

January 27, 2021 15:33

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

48 comments

Dan Odhiambo
16:17 Jan 27, 2021

I must admit that you really deserve the win because look at how you start your paragraph line 1....Ok, to those of you who have seen Smurf’s: The Lost Village, tell me you didn’t immediately think of Smurfette when you read this prompt? I felt in love with this.

Reply

Nainika Gupta
16:23 Jan 27, 2021

aww, haha It was true! thanks so much!

Reply

Dan Odhiambo
16:27 Jan 27, 2021

And you are welcome,

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Cookie Carla🍪
16:16 Jan 27, 2021

I did your writing quiz!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND I AM DISTRICT 5 TOO!!! Have you read the 4th Hunger Games book yet?

Reply

Nainika Gupta
16:23 Jan 27, 2021

yay!! WHOOOO YESS a ballad of songbirds and snakes?? IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!! some people say it wasn't worth it, but honestly, I loved it!

Reply

Cookie Carla🍪
16:28 Jan 27, 2021

OMGOOSSHH It was so worth it!! I don't know what the rest of them were talking about. It was so great XDDD

Reply

Nainika Gupta
16:29 Jan 27, 2021

YESSS I KNOW!!! and I loved Snow's POV because it gave us soooo much of insight to the rest of the series!

Reply

Cookie Carla🍪
17:36 Jan 27, 2021

Idk why but I had to get right in the middle of the story to realized that that was Snow's first name. I didn't even know it was Snow. How could he be so soft????

Reply

Nainika Gupta
17:37 Jan 27, 2021

honestly, it made sense, ngl - how he was originally soft and loving, but then HEARTBREAK caused him to become cynical and murderous

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
. .
15:41 Jan 27, 2021

YAS READING IS EASILY THE BEST HOBBY!!! I would definitely give some interaction with the parents, even just a phone call to spice it up. GREAT JOB!!!

Reply

Nainika Gupta
15:42 Jan 27, 2021

I KNOW :D and hmm ok! Thanks Lukeee :D

Reply

. .
15:44 Jan 27, 2021

XD

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Maya
15:48 Jan 27, 2021

Great story, Nainika! The backstory you gave as to why she wanted to find a hobby unique to her really added to the plot. Also, your character development was great and their contrasting personalities made it perfect! Reading is such an amazing hobby! I loved this! :DDD <3

Reply

Nainika Gupta
15:51 Jan 27, 2021

Awww, thanks Maya!! I had fun with it :D and yesss it definitely is XDXD

Reply

Maya
15:54 Jan 27, 2021

XDDD

Reply

Kylie Rudolf
19:39 Feb 04, 2021

Peeta or Gale?

Reply

Maya
19:42 Feb 04, 2021

Um, Peeta, why?

Reply

Kylie Rudolf
19:52 Feb 04, 2021

There is so much conflict about it, she spent years with Gale and he saved her family from Snow, but Peeta declared his love for her and was willing to die for her to let her live. But I agree Peeta would be preferred over Gale.

Reply

Show 2 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Kip Packard
15:36 Feb 02, 2021

Love the voice you wrote this in. Feels very real and authentic.

Reply

Nainika Gupta
15:38 Feb 02, 2021

Thank you very much!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Danny
03:24 Jan 28, 2021

Ohh great story Nainika, i loved the ending, it's so sweet, so simple, sooo perfect (reading fits her well), and the descriptions they're amazing, i love the tiny details you included, about danny's glasses, his kitchen, it's great! I've never heard of square-dancing before, what's that? Also, any hobbies of your own?

Reply

Nainika Gupta
13:34 Jan 28, 2021

AWW, Thank's Danny :D Basically square dancing is like for 4 people, and two pairs of partners, and its like a western thing where you dance in a ... er square XD I LOVE painting actually, not like India - and reading, of course, hiking, YES, but I hate crocheting XD you??!!

Reply

Danny
13:40 Jan 28, 2021

Ohhh I love crocheting actually, but yarns come off very easily...I accidentally eat them all the time, sooo that gets pretty annoying...I also love playing my favorite TV show themes and songs on the piano.... Favorite books?

Reply

Nainika Gupta
13:49 Jan 28, 2021

ahaha wow! That's so cool!! you're really talented :D and um er.... I gotta say of all time..... Lovely War: Julia Berry and of January 2021 Blood and Honey: Shelby Mahurin

Reply

Danny
13:52 Jan 28, 2021

What??? You're more talented...I loooooved your story, it's written so well I've never heard of those before, but they sound interesting, I'll try to read them when I get the time

Reply

Nainika Gupta
14:02 Jan 28, 2021

awwww, Danny! You're a really good writer too! They are!! And blood and honey is the sequel to Serpent and Dove!! Both are SOO GOOD :D:D

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Kylie Rudolf
19:40 Feb 04, 2021

It's a southern thing, can I get some southern's in the chat?

Reply

Danny
23:36 Feb 04, 2021

Ohh square dancing? :D

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 2 replies
Roger Crane
02:21 Jan 28, 2021

Hi Nainika. I'll start with my general impression and observations from your story, then some things about grammar. You had some fun parts to this story, and I can see where you are coming from with your character interactions. You carried off your plot fine, and I like the interplay between them. However, there is one big problem: you started talking about her career choices and transitioned into nothing but hobbies. She could hardly make a living at hobbies, and it seemed for a while that was the point. I know that is what the prompt calle...

Reply

Nainika Gupta
14:05 Feb 03, 2021

Thanks so much, Roger - I went back right before the story got approved and edited it to make it seem that India actually HAD a job, but wanted a hobby! Therefore it would make more sense, as you're right - she doesn't make a living off the hobbies. I will most definitely research dialogue...I do find myself struggling with that a little bit. And I will take into consideration all the advice you gave me!! Thanks a lot, Roger - It means so so much for this detailed feedback!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Nainika Gupta
13:35 Jan 28, 2021

Yay!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Maya
23:31 Jan 27, 2021

Hey Nainika, do you want to join the new Reedsy group the Skribbls? More info is on my new story/ message. :D

Reply

Nainika Gupta
13:28 Jan 28, 2021

yeah! I'll check it out now :D

Reply

Maya
14:00 Jan 28, 2021

:DDD

Reply

Nainika Gupta
14:02 Jan 28, 2021

!! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Sunny 🌼 🖤
22:00 Jan 27, 2021

I mean you're not wrong about the whole Smurfette thing... But in regards to the story, it was great! The conflict wasn't too intense so it was a nice and calm read (right what I needed after reading the Battle of the Labyrinth). Great job Nainika, I give the story a solid 9/10!

Reply

Nainika Gupta
13:44 Jan 28, 2021

Aww ahaha thanks Sarah!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply

how did you KNOwokOWo XDD R E A D I N G F O R L I F E

Reply

Nainika Gupta
18:56 Jan 27, 2021

YESSS :D

Reply

REEE HEHEH XD

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply