Today's prompt reminds me of one we did in my creative writing class that I really enjoyed, where we took a family story that had been passed down and changed the perspective of the story teller. Moving your story into someone else is such a fun way to merge nonfiction with fiction, to blend what is real and what you imagine could be real for others. Without further ado...
Prompt: Choose an incident from your past - it could be an ordinary occurrence, such as a family dinner - or a significant event, such as an achievement or a mishap. Write about it from your perspective, then write about it from the perspective of someone else who experienced it with you.
It was sometime before fifth grade. I know that much because Rose moved away in the fifth grade, and she was with us, like she often was - up until fifth grade. She and I were in the back of my parents' car. Was it a van yet? My guess it was a minivan, but I could be wrong. In fact, I can't even remember if my little sister was born yet. I don't recall her being there, so I'm guessing I was probably around six years old. If memory serves, it was the light blue Dodge Caravan my mom had. It was her first minivan. We had gotten ice cream cones, as we often did in the muggy Maryland summers, and as per usual, Rose had painted her face chocolate. We stopped at a gas station. I believe it was one of the "Sunday Drives" that were a fun family outing for us when I was a kid. We would just hop in the car in drive. At each stop sign, someone would yell a direction and on we would go. There were no smart phones or portable GPS systems back in these days. There was a Rand McNally Atlas stored under the mat in the trunk space, but we never needed it. Someway, dad never got lost. I was sure he must have had maps of the whole world stored in his mind. As we drove, dad would tell ridiculous stories starring a character he'd created and named Formaldehyde and Rose and I would laugh and laugh until tears streaked the dirt and chocolate down our adolescent faces and we were doubled over in laughter cramps. We enjoyed our journeys to no where, mom pointing out her dream house along the way (a real fixer upper) and me pointing at horses. So, we stopped at a gas station. Most likely to refuel and stock up on napkins. Somehow, a lottery ticket got involved. Mom or dad bought a scratch off. I wanted it because scratch offs are so neat and so fun to do. I was told no. I was a bratty, spoiled six year old and I didn't like the word no. I threw a fit. Crossed arms over my chest, I pouted and said I was having the worst day ever. Rose tried to cheer me up, but I turned away from her. I was the world and the sun, at that moment, was the lottery ticket, without which I simply could not survive. Rose attempted to get dad to resume the Formaldehyde stories, but the magic of the moment was lost by my grumbling and grievances and the laughter was muted until we arrived back at home.
Told from Rose:
I always looked forward to time with Rachel and her family. Her dad was the funniest guy I knew and her mom was the most caring woman. Rachel was my best friend, and we always had a fun time together. They liked to go for drives in their van, along back roads and scenic routes, pointing out anything that interested them. I was just happy to be out and along with them, one of the gang, part of the family. You could always tell they liked you and considered them one of their own if they picked on you. I might have had a bit of a problem eating. In fact, it might have been a huge problem. My face just seemed to catch the food (especially chocolate ice cream) before my mouth could. We laughed and laughed at how bad I was at eating. Formaldehyde was the true star of the laughter with that family though. The adventures of Formaldehyde and her stinky misfortune were the funniest tales, I often stopped breathing mid-tale, my giggles taking precedence over airflow. While Rachel was my best friend, she could be somewhat of a... well, she had a temper. She really liked getting her way. She could also be bossy. And if things didn't go her way, well, you'd hear about it. After exhausting every napkin in the van (and trust me, there were several), we had to make a pit-stop to get gas and refill on things to catch my mess. Her parents had bought a scratch off ticket that Rachel insisted on being hers. I saw a look exchanged between the lady behind the counter and Rachel's parents. They weren't allowed to buy it for her. I guess Rachel didn't see it, because she continued to insist they give it to her. I bet they would have given it to her had she not asked in front of that lady. Something tells me someone could have gotten in trouble, at least, that's what it felt like. So we get back in the car and Rachel is in one of her moods. With a huff, Rachel plopped in the seat, arms tightly over her chest, crying and howling. It kind of hurt my ears. Even though we'd had a really fun day, Rachel forgot about all the stories and sights we had seen and declared this the "Worst day ever." I couldn't believe she had said that! "Come on, Rachie" I tried to coax her out of her bad mood, attempting to get her laughing again. "What happened next with Formaldehyde?" I asked. Her dad began the story but Rachel kept up with her sounds of disdain and the story was cut short. I ended up having to go home because Rachel couldn't get her act together, and her mom had warned her. I wasn't happy. I was supposed to spend the night that night (and I knew I'd just make it the whole night this time!) and I was having so much fun. That girl had quite a temper, I hate that she let it ruin our day.
Now I suppose it's time to go ask Rose how close I got it ;)