The Main Character – Annie

Stephen King said, Start with a situation. Don’t worry about themes. Okay. Let’s see if the salad I am eating is inspiring me.

A recent college graduate, Annie got her first job at an up and coming technology startup in Cambridge, MA. She was employee number 62.

Hmm. Too young, perhaps. Let me start at a later point of her career.

The dot com bubble burst. Annie was laid off from her first job along with one thousand some others on a Friday. After graduating from college, she started off as a software developer.

It’s hard not to write about myself. Be creative! I keep going. Anne Lamott said, Think of a small blank picture frame. Zoom in. What do I see?

When she coded, she was completely focused. Her mind thought logically, starting with the problem, then the business process, then the business rules, then the syntax of C++ or SQL. She had to learn about testing her own logic with machine, and then debug her mistakes, which happened quite often. She almost never wrote correctly the first try. At work, it was like solving puzzles all day.

Okay, this seems more energetic and interesting.


I started learning about being a writer who markets through Authors Academy by Wheatmark. Grael Norton from Wheatmark said it’s important to develop a relationship with my target audience. “Blog everyday.” Today, I have written my daily 1000 words. I will also work on blogging more often and sometimes in a more casual and intimate way, like today.


Of course, I don’t take all writing advice to heart. King said, Write the first draft with door closed. Here I am already sharing my first thought! But who knows how long Annie will live.

A Dedication

He is as sweet as they come, she believes.

They are young, both with wide-open eyes, arms, and hearts. The sky is always blue; classes are always good for naps. He loves to show off his sports car; she loves to watch him showing it off. The meeting place can not be more perfect. They are partners in classes, constantly challenging each other. They discuss and debate about life and death, purpose and principle, happiness and goals. They spend their first summer roaming gorges, hiking forests, playing in the parks, and hanging out in a little town in upstate New York. He knows where to go: taking her to the quaint restaurants, the one-and-only lame mall in the neighborhood, and as many movies as the cinema plays.

He is as much of a gentleman as any college boy may strive to be. She knows that she has the eyes for goodness.

She thinks he is special, this incredible blend of east and west. He dislikes his past made of boarding school and various places in the world. She reminds him of how the journeys in the past built his character, a fine one that is. He looks for his root; she sees his core as solid as any rooted person may have. He treats her like a lady; she falls for that always.

He is ambitious to do something great. So is she.

All college years end and all collage kids grow up. He begins a new life chapter in the corporate world. In a pretty happening city, he makes new friends, keeps fit, and works his butt off. His higher education seems to have paid off. She starts her new life a few hundred days later, following his lead pretty closely. With a bit of luck, they find each other again in the same city and decide that it is a great thing to keep it up.

He is loyal, earnest, and studious. She is no less.

When solving a problems, he puts in his best. He becomes credible to his teams. She admires him and works harder. They are both career-minded people who determine to be proud of their work. They are surrounded with like-minded people and they keep moving upward.

He cares and she is touched.

She is deeply moved at how he takes care of her. The evidence is especially visible when she is sick. He always knows what to do, what drug to get, what food to buy, where to go, and who to call. He touches her many times with that tenderness. She is thankful.

He is a Peter Pan. Secretly she is too.

Their favorite movies are the Disney ones. He owns almost every one of them. (Let’s keep that under the covers!) He also catches all the actions and sci-fi’s; she loves the sappy romantic comedies. Regardless, they always watch together. A bit unusual, they fight to let the other to order food at the restaurant. They are both flexible and considerate in nature. Perhaps a bit too considerate …

If in this day and age the concept of marriage does not exist, they would be the perfect couple. They hardly fight. He makes jokes; she can’t stay mad at him. They enjoy each other’s company; they also allow for personal spaces. She likes to hang with her girlfriends; he picks up the boys and does whatever until the girls return. They are comfortable with each other. They are open with each other. They take care of each other in their own ways. They seem happy.

He is responsible and she is mature.

Things happen and everything is a blur. Basically, he knows what he wants and she knows what she does not want. They are inseparable. Their friends are inseparable with the this combo too. But perhaps a break is good for them even it is not good for anyone else. Their circle friends are sad. The boy and the girl remain civil; they become good friends.

He continues to search for what’s important in life. She does exactly that too.

At this turning point in their lives, they are both searching for the meaning in life. She believes that one can’t love another without defining oneself first. He looks to religion for answers. She wants to fill more philosophies in her head. He wants to know God’s will and finds the plan that’s for him.  She travels to see the world to explore possibilities. She is reshuffling her self; as is he.

He needs most a friend; she needs most her solitude.

She feels selfish to abandon a dear friend. She realizes that she is not capable of being a friend. Not right now. At a time of healing and soul searching, she must take care of herself first. He is the reason for healing and solitude. He is also the one who needs a friend the most.  She is torn between her affection for him and her own needs. She fails at the balancing act.

“Why” he asks. She can only smile.

How can she help him understand? You see, these two handle healing in the exactly opposite way.

She is constantly aware of her intrusion to the external world. She prefers not to talk to anyone when she is unhappy. She prefers never to think ill of anyone and be morally good. When she is confused, upset, or sad, she wants to fix it on her own. Perhaps she is just an introvert at heart. She is just built that way.

He is constantly looking for chances to interact with the external world. He prefers not to be unhappy and never think ill of anyone. He prefers to be a morally good person. When he is confused, upset, or sad, he wants to fix it. He helps his friends and that makes him happy. He stops being sad by just getting over it. He talks about his problems and solves them with his friends. He is just made that way.

She still sleeps the best – feels the safest – when he is around.

She does not want to be upset any more because of him. She feels that she lives in the past, does not want to feel that way, and wants the current chapter closed. She is aware that once again she is making a decision that will affect the both of them. She is very sad.

She needs some space and time for herself.

Long after their break up, she finally cries about that for the first time. Her body is reacting too slowly; the tears quietly fall from the corner of her eyes. Or maybe the brain is just faster than the heart. The sadness lingers not more than a couple of minutes. She hates being wimpy. Here her eyes are quietly wetting again.

No offense. She needs to be ok. It will take her so many years to “get over” it. She does not have the strength to be strong anymore. She does not have any answer, explanation, or theory anymore. She needs to be left alone for a while. She needs to take care of herself. Then she can come back and be his best friend again. Then she may be a friend for anyone. She needs to feel that she is ready…

This chapter is as beautiful as it comes between a boy and a girl. He is as sweet as they come, she still believes. No matter what happens, this boy and this girl will always know that they had loved each other dearly with all their hearts.

That’s a brainless predication and a fine closing note.



Today it snowed.

She checked her watch again, not wanting to be late for the doctor’s appointment. In a small conference room, she looked out of the window as a men talked on. His voice hummed in the background. For a second, she thought she smelled the fresh air through the glass window. The snow was like powdered sugar spilled from a jar, fine and sweet, however, lighter than sugar, floating in every direction. The continuous chatter in the room failed to get her attention. What was the discussion about again?

Craving for fresh air, she sneaked out during the break. It was time for her to leave anyway. The snow encouraged her; the way to the doctor was beautiful. She could hear her shoes squashing the snow. Were those cries of pain from the pressure?

There was no window in the waiting area; her mind wandered outside. The dancing snow calmed her nerves. Her conversation with the doctor was quick. The doctor told her that the lab report came back clean. The tumor was benign and no other areas were affected. No guarantee for the future though. The talking voice faded into the background and she wondered about the dancing snow. The talking voice was now as soft as the sound of snow falling. Was she okay now?

Six weeks ago a snowstorm came.

The storm took over the city. The weather forecast predicted a historic record. The heavy white particles fell nonstop from above and landed on the buildings, over the trees, on the pedestrians, on the roads, and on the windshields. The car ride to the hospital took forever. The visibility was almost nonexistent. She did not think about what was going to happen. She saw no familiar faces; she was alone.

There was no window in the preparation room for the surgery; she wondered about the storm. Was the storm as violent as her heart drumming? Lying down, she was asked if she could feel anything. What? She mumbled a response. Then she felt a knife moving through her chest, amazingly, feeling only the impact and not the pain. She mumbled again, not very audibly. Seconds later, she was knocked out senseless by the anesthesia. About six hours later she was sent home half unconscious: the surgeon calmly concluded that the operation was a clean removal and said that the large fist-size growth was sent to the lab for analysis. She got a bottle of heavy pain killers, medical packages, the instruction of what to eat, and the time for a follow-up. While she was under, the snow cleaned up the city, at least on the surface.

The storm came in a hurry covering everything in white. The neighborhood was white and soundless. No cars were on the streets to pollute the breathing and listening space; they were buried in the snow guarding the sidewalks. The houses looked smaller. The trees looked shorter. The world seemed less man-made and more magical.

The storm left as quickly as it came. Drinking morning tea, she gazed through the window to find the street filled with people: shoveling, walking, talking, and playing. One storm did not pause life for too long. People, amazing creatures, dealt with the snow in their own ways. The responsible bunches were already out shoveling. They preferred to deal with the problem head on. The older kids were out with trays searching for a nice hill to have some fun. They believed in re-charging and making the best of a timeout. However, the children knew the best: making snowman, starting a snow fight, or being an angel. The storm brought laughter.

Her thoughts wandered.

She should rest and heal from the cut.
“Is it possible to fully recover from such an experience? I almost had cancer.”
She thought about the possible medical liabilities that she would have needed to take on.
“Where is that policy booklet from the insurance that I never read?”
She tried to imagine chemotherapy and had flashbacks from the movie Dying Young.
“Why did I watch that movie? Well, I love Julia.”
She resisted quitting her job tomorrow.
“How does a deadline on life change perspectives?”

Ultimately, she did the best that she could. She told herself to stay calm and watched the snow slowly melted away.

Four months ago the snow made a mess, wet and slushy.

The falling snow was icy. She blamed Mother Nature for being indecisive that day. Wetness was everywhere. Her shoes were not surviving the challenge. The doctor wanted a biopsy done before meeting up. She had mixed feelings about that, but would never say no to a doctor’s order.

The wet snow touched her jacket and melted. A layer of water coated over her, especially the hair. With a bit of walking, the water turned into ice sticks, and icy hair sticks. People had umbrellas and raincoats, however, everyone had about the same hair look. It did not seem to matter how prepared one was.

A thin metal tub went straight into her breast aiming for the target, the man-made rock, based on a fuzzy image on the ultrasound machine. She turned her head away feeling only the impact of the stab and not the pain; local sedation saved her nerves. She wanted a window, so she could look out. She wanted to be distracted. The operator retrieved a small chip of a rock-like substance from the metal tub. Now there was a sample of this fearful unknown. She resumed to waiting once again.

This city was not built for wetness. On the way home, she came across a street corner surrounded by wet slushy snow. She was trapped. She hesitated. Then she jumped, hoping for the best for her shoes.

Half a year ago, the rain dropped.

The rain was unbearable hitting her all over. The mud was everywhere. Cars zoomed by with no regard to her pants or emotions. When she was changing last night to go to bed she felt a solid object in her chest. An electric shock went through her. She checked a few more times carefully and reluctantly. There was something solid hard. The drivers on the street were all half-blinded by the heavy rain. She felt blinded by the heavy drops and “it.” The streets were flooded. The air smelled humid and muggy. She disliked rain and preferred snow. Snow would clean things up. As she walked on, she wished for a snowy winter.

Today she got her wish. Her foot could not resist the soft snow: eager to make prints and leave marks. The neighborhood looked heavenly. She made another wish.


Writer’s note: This was my first semi-fictional piece that I liked. I was always fairly healthy growing up. When I wrote this, it was the first time that I had a health scare. Thank goodness I was lucky. Can you tell that I had fun writing this!