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Eaves dropping

Sarah Leathers

About the Author Eavesdropping- secretly listening to a conversation.

My name is Sarah Leathers. I am a 24-year-old senior at the University of North Alabama. My major is professional writing with a minor in journalism. In the next few pages you will read works ranging from previously published pieces of journalism to my senior year at UNA. Included in these works are creative pieces that go through short stories all the way to poems, and published works of journalism. Now that you know a little about my professional life I would like to give you a glimpse at my creative one. To start off I will tell you how this book of works came to be titled Eavesdropping. As a writer I’ve always felt like the characters in my writings were people in my mind that I had the privilege and responsibility to bring to life, but as any writer knows we never get the exact full story. I’m simply listening in to bits and pieces of conversations from the different characters and trying to tell their stories as best I can. This is what I hope this book is will do for you. It will allow you to listen to parts of my life through my writing. While writing is a magical journey of different worlds and lives it is also a business, and it’s a business I would greatly like to make a name for myself in. My goals as a creative writer are to transfer people into their own imaginations. I often tell my peers that I want to have my own classic novel that ends up being one of those beloved books taught in high school, such as Lord of The Flies. It may sound like a lofty ambition, but in reality to me it means I have accomplished my goal of changing the writing world in my own way. As for my career in journalism I give Louis Lane of the Daily Planet as my inspiration. I want to bring truth to the people to show that there are still good people willing to fight for what is right and get the word out. I would also like to be a part of keeping the printed word alive. Thank you for taking the time to read my works and I hope you find your own kind of inspiration hidden in them.

Table of Contents Prose……………...………………….………...1 The Woman Who Wouldn’t Leave Anyone Alone……2-3 Should Have, Could Have, Would Have………………4-5 George…………………………………………………..6-9 Todd’s not so Merry Christmas…………….………..10-16

Poetry……………………………………...…17 Sitting Here Drinking Coffee With You……………….18 Why I Love……………………………………………...19 Marilyn’s Out of Place Rocks…………………………...20 Wal-Mart Parking Lot………………………………….21

Journalism……………………………………22 The Daily Mississippian…………………………….23-24 The Beacon……………………………………………..25

Prose When I was fresh from high school and thinking of what I wanted to do with my life writing never once crossed my mind. Even though I was constantly writing short stories in my notebook when I should have been taking notes. It wasn’t until my first narrative essay in Composition that I had let anyone read my stories. After reading my essay my professor suggested I take a Creative Writing course since he had seen potential in my story telling abilities. Since then I haven’t stopped writing. I have honed my craft and learned to tune in to the characters in my head. Voices of people who can’t find luck or love in life, people who are not even sure who or where they are, and people who don’t matter to anyone but me. Everyday whether I want them to or not these characters are speaking to me asking for help in telling their story, and as long as they are there I will be writing.


The Woman Who Wouldn't Leave Anyone Alone

“Excuse me sir, would you like to sign a card for me?” Said the annoying woman “Sign a card for you, lady I don't even know you.” Said the grumpy man “Well sir it's not for me it's for my friend. She's ill you see and i'm going around to get a card signed for her to encourage her to push on.” Said the annoying woman. “I don't know you or your friend. So no I will not sign a card for you.” Said the grumpy man “It's just for encouragement. You don't have to know her. I know it'll still mean a lot to her if anyone will sign it.” Said the annoying woman “No, sorry I don't sign cards for total and complete annoying strangers.” Said the grumpy man “Well thank you for your time anyway sir.” Said the annoying woman with a smile on her face The annoying woman continued to hassle people throughout the coffee shop until she got at least four signatures from the strangers. When she felt her deed had been accomplished she walked out into the cold and grabbed a taxi. “The homeless shelter on 5th please.” Said the annoying woman The taxi pulled up to the shelter to drop the annoying woman off and quickly sped away. Card with signatures in hand, and the hugest smile on her face. She walked in with a feeling of accomplishment. She opened the familiar door and threw the card into the nearest trashcan then continued to her cot and slept the night away peacefully. 2

Back at the coffee shop the grumpy man had finally read his book since the annoying woman had left and was ready to go. Except for the fact he didn't yet want to go home. Home for him was a lonely place. Four rooms filled of longing memories and faint cries of failure. He had no where else to go and had only brought one book with him, so home was his only option. Lonely, the feeling you feel the second you step in his door way. Today was worse than lonely, so much worse. In he walked, took off his jacket, started to slip off his scarf with a pinch of hesitation. This scarf brought a smile across his face. The homeless shelter on 5th street had a tradition they did in December of going around and passing out food to the people around the block. No not to everyone, it is a homeless shelter mind you, but to the people that had been called in by their neighbors as needing of a pick me up. The annoying woman always volunteered, after all she considered herself a people person. Normally this tradition made her smile, but today at this house a smile could not be found. She felt it, the cold lonely bitterness. “Hello, I’m from the homeless shelter across the street and we have brought you a gift today. Anyone home?” Said the annoying woman The door seemed to be unlocked so her people person self walked right on in. Only to find that scarf the grumpy man found so much happiness in hanging from the roof. The grumpy man included.


Should Have, Could Have, Would Have “How has your day been today?” Said the boy He honestly didn't care either way how her day had went. He only longed to hear her voice, see the curves of her face as each muscle in her jaw moved to make the most wondrous noises he had ever heard. “It was great. I made an A on my biology midterm and then my psych class was cancelled.” Said the girl. Something was different about him today. He was looking at her in the same way he always did, but today seemed more intense. And she hated it. She loved his friendship and she knew he held out hope for her. This hope she knew she could never fulfill. “That's awesome. I'm so proud of you. You've always been so smart. Unlike me.” Said the boy “Now come on that's not true. You can do just as good if only you applied yourself.” Said the girl No matter what she always believed in him the way no one else ever did. “Since you're so smart I'll believe you then.” Said the boy with a drop of flirtation. He was smiling now. Something he only seemed to do in her presence. “Good. Now how was your day? We've talked about me too much already.” Said the girl She knew it was time to change the subject. Time to avoid the awkward doting conversations of herself. “Eh, it was ok. Pretty boring up until now.” Said the boy. Asking why now she knew would be too much to hear. So she simply 4

ignored his compliment. “Are you going out with your family tonight?” Said the girl Hesitation in her voice from fear he would take that as an offer to spend the night together. “I am, but if you would like some company I could skip.” Said the boy “No, I’d never ask you to skip time with your family. Go have fun. I won't be alone anyway tonight.” Said the girl “Oh, should I even dare ask?” Said the boy “It's nothing like that. Just a few of my girlfriends and I are going to a movie. A girls night out.” Said the girl “It's really none of my business anyway.” He said For a second his smile had faded. Until he looked at her again and it returned. “You know I don't care to tell you though.” She said. “Yes I know.” He said “Well I think they're all starting to get ready for our night out and I should probably head home to get dressed too.” She said “I guess you probably should. If girls night gets a little boring you can text me anytime you want.” He said “I know, well I’ll talk to you later ok.” She said She got up to leave and his hopes dropped. This coffee shop they met at always seemed to bring him happiness up until the moment she left. He watched her. He watched the way her hips swayed when she walked; he watched the effortlessness of her beauty from afar. He was away from her now just watching as always to be his fate.


George “May I help you?” “May I help you...?” he thought, “May I help you?” Mr. George Connor has been a faithful Wal-Mart employee for over sixteen years. Mr. Connor comes home after work to have a cold beer, eat a micro waved meal – since his wife has been gone for going on three years now and he has no one else there to cook- and watch Jeopardy on his three channel rabbit ear TV. Now Mr. Connor’s wife isn’t dead by any means, as far as we know, she left him for their overly tan pool boy and took all her money from her family’s company buy off and left Mr. Connor and their two boys in quit a predicament financially. Luckily for their sons they were smart and both got partial scholarships to college. Today was a special day for Mr. Connor. The day his sons were to head off to college. Carl had put college off for a year to work in the local grocery store and save a little money. Dwayne worked over the summer, but knew if he didn’t go now he would probably never go. Today was the proudest day of George’s life; it was also the most boring. Due to a schedule mix up he was scheduled to work as the door greater for the day. So he saw his sons off when they left in the early hours before he put on that blue shirt with that name tag and those khaki pants his wife bought that he hated, but they were just so comfortable he couldn’t bare to waste the money if he were to throw them out. George had sold his old beat up station wagon to the local junk yard for a pathetic 400 dollars and 36 cents to give his sons a little going away present. Carl and Dwayne had been told it was in the shop. Now he had the joy of riding the number 42 bus 10 miles and walking the other 2. Something about that walk seemed unusually odd to him. George just put it off as being old age and tightened his old holey pea coat around his waist. “Good morning George!” “Morning Conney.” “You know George before you clock in I’d like to have a word with you.” “Sure I’ll put my jacket in the break room and meet you in your office.” Conney’s office was more like a porcelain cat museum than a professional office. There were cats staring George down while they drank


their milk and licked their paws. Once an employee dropped one of her precious cats and next thing they knew they were cleaning out their locker. “George, sorry to keep you waiting.” Conney said without an ounce of actually sorry. “Don’t worry, no problem. I just don’t want to be late for my shift.” “About your shift Mr. Conner, unfortunately we’ve been experiencing some budget cuts and corporate just doesn’t think a door greater is necessary for customer service anymore.” George knew by the change in her tone there was no way of talking her out of this. “I see. So how long do I have until I’m out of the job?” George asked “I’ve talked to the big guys and managed to get you a couple more weeks while you look for another job.” Conney said. Pride seeped through her voice like she had done a heroic deed. “Well if you don’t mind Ms. Hartfield I’ll be getting to work now.” “Oh, of course. And remember George smile.” Yeah let’s see you smile when you have two children headed to college the same day you lose your job. George hated being resentful. He knew there was nothing Ms. Hartfield could have done. Except maybe take a pay cut. It’s not like she has anyone to feed but her 20 cats. “Hi, how are you? Hello, how are you doing? Hi, can I help direct you to anything?” George asked Must have been something in the air, because not a single person wanted to answer him today. After all who would want to answer a measly door greater. He had said those sentences so many times they didn’t even seem real anymore. Especially today. Today he felt like he wasn’t even standing there and people were just walking right by him. “May I help you?” He asked Again no response. It was going to be one of those days. He had many of “those days” in the recent months. It seemed they were happening closer and closer together. George being the nonchalant man he is he just brushed it off the best he could. Finally it was lunchtime. George pulled out his typical lunch consisting of two hot pockets, which he usually only had time for one, a chocolate jello pudding cup and a diet coke. He was trying to watch his weight. After finishing his first pizza with extra cheese hot pocket he decided with only two weeks left he’d take a little extra time to enjoy his 7

second hot pocket. Before he got the chance to take the second bite Conney walked in. “George, I’m glad I bumped into you. I know under the circumstances this may be the last place you want to be and I’m the last person you want to talk to, but… I was wondering if you could work until closing tonight? I’ll give you an extra break for dinner of course.” “Sure Mrs. Hartfield.” George replied. I hope she can tell by my tone we are no longer friends, but I do need the extra hours. Days like this lunchtime never seemed long enough, even with George’s extra 15 minutes that he managed to sneak it. What could they do anyway, fire him? Oh wait, they already were. In between the hellos and may I help yous he thought about his children and how proud he was of them. All he ever wanted was for them to be better than their old man. He wanted them to get a good education and make something of themselves. Carl and Dwayne were the only things that got him through his wives abandonment, them and the antidepressant pills Carl eventually convinced him to go on. George wasn’t a very proud man, but taking pills to get through the day was not something he liked to discuss. The day Carl was born George knew he’d never be the same again. Someone depended on him for their every need. No more Tuesday night poker with the guys, where he may or may not have consumed too many booze. No more part-time jobs with easy hours and no money. That day he decided to be a man. A real man. A strong man. That’s when he walked into walmart and got hired on as a door greater. He had heard they gave many opportunities to move up, but he never got to. But they paid well, gave a decent amount of hours, and included health insurance for his family. Dwayne was a different story. He didn’t love him any less, but something in him felt…empty. It was a feeling George had felt many days since them. It was a feeling he partly blamed for his wife leaving him. It made him feel like he wasn’t good enough, not for her or the boys. “Hi, how are you?” “I’m good George, how are you?” It was the first reply he’d gotten all day. It was also the most troubling. This strange tiny bald man in a long white trench coat somehow knew his name. Maybe he’d just come in here one too many times while George was on the clock. “How do you know my name?” “George try to remember. We’ve been meeting every Tuesday for a year now.” The bald man answered. 8

“Excuse me sir, but I have no earthly idea who you are. May I help you with anything.” “Yes George you can. Try to remember where you are. Try to remember who you are.” “Sir I don’t mean to offend you but I know exactly who I am and where I am. I’m at Wal-Mart greeting crazy people like you” George stated. “No George you’re not. You’re sitting on a green couch in my office. In fact your name isn’t even George. It’s Robert.” I don’t know who this crazy man thinks he’s messing with, but today is the wrong day to pick a fight. “It’s ok George. Just relax I won’t hurt you. I just want to talk.” “Well alright then let’s talk.” “What did you do today?” “Easy. I saw my boys off to school and I came to work. Now I’m sitting here talking to a weird crazy bald man. Oh yeah and I’m losing my job.” “Robert. You don’t have any children and you don’t work at WalMart. You lost your job today because we started you on a new medication to help bring you back to the real world. Robert you’ve been in the Garden Palace Mental Health Facility for almost 20 years now. I’m Doctor Kelly and I’ve been trying to treat you for the better part of a year. I hate to be so blunt, but it seems it’s the only way I’m going to get through to you.” Suddenly George’s vision got blurry and his stomach felt like it was going to fall out between his legs at any moment. There could not be any truth to what this Dr. Kelly saying. “I know you’ve noticed strange things during your day, multiple people wearing all white scrubs perhaps? Almost everyone around you ignoring you or leaving you such as your sons? These are all side effects of the new medication destroying your imaginative world.” George’s arms were wrapped around his waist and seemed to only be getting tighter. He looked down to see an all white strappy shirt had been placed around him. “Yeah sorry about that. You got violent a few weeks ago with one of the nurses. You kept screaming something about cats and a pool boy.” “Let me out of here. How did you get me in here? Did you drug me? You can’t hold me hostage!” George screamed. A cold liquid pierced through his right arm and into his legs then his chest. The padded room he found himself in started to twirl and everything went black. “May I help you?” “May I help you...?” he thought, “May I help you?” 9

Todd’s not so Merry Christmas There is a time in every man’s life when cheer is expected of him, Christmas. He is expected to laugh and play with his happy children happy because of the glorious overly priced toys they just received and will only play with for a matter of minutes before they want ‘the next big thing’. This is a story of one man named Todd struggling to get through the holiday season. For the sake of his family he will say, but don’t let his up beet things will work out attitude fool you Todd is miserable. “Honey can you go to the grocery store and pick up those low sodium chips my dad likes? You know they’ll be here in just a few hours and I want everything to be perfect for the first holiday in our new home.” Regina asked in more of a statement than a question kind of tone. “Sure, as if your parents criticizing my every decision, now I get to enjoy their company without an ounce of salt. I wonder if your dad will give me the heart attack speech again this weekend.” “Todd you know I don’t like it when you speak like that in front of the children. They don’t get your sarcasm like I do.” She said with a smile. “I wasn’t being sarcastic.” Todd replied under his breath. On a normal day Todd despised the grocery store, nothing but a bunch of last minute shoppers whose parents didn’t even know the meaning of manners. The holiday season wasn’t any different; in fact he despised it even more. He claimed it was because of the crowds of people that flocked there shopping for last minute nick-nacks, but it was really all the smiling and Merry Christmas greetings that would welcome him. Happy people annoyed him more than anything. How could Todd have a merry Christmas with a mortgage hanging over his head for a house he didn’t want, in-laws who hated him more than they hated salt coming to visit, and he still hadn’t got the gifts for his children, Darren and Annabelle, that he told his wife he had on layaway. If it were his choice he would cancel Christmas this year and the next. “Merry Christmas Todd!” An overly excited voice exclaimed from the check out. “Yeah Merry Christmas Josh.” Josh was the local grocery store manager who took every holiday a little over the top. For Halloween he actually turned the store into a haunted house. He called it Shop-n-Scream. Every holiday was a chance for Josh to


show off his creative genius that the New York Institute of Art just didn’t see. “Gathering up stuff for the in-laws?” “Actually I am. How did you know?” “Gina was in here a few weeks ago and she mentioned it.” Todd hated that Josh called his wife Gina. Just because they dated a few weeks in high school before she had met Todd didn’t mean they were closed. It didn’t help that Regina constantly told Josh pretty much everything about their lives whenever she came grocery shopping. “Just need to pick up some low sodium chips for Doug.” “You know Todd you really should follow in his footsteps and cut out the salt. You’re not getting any younger.” Josh informed him as he nudged him on the shoulder. “Yeah thanks, I haven’t noticed. Sorry to cut this wonderful visit short, but you know how Regina is so I better get those chips and hurry home before she goes crazy without me” Todd knew exactly what to say to make Josh shut up. Once home Todd thought he could slip in the kitchen, set the chips down and sneak upstairs to the bedroom for a quick afternoon nap before Doug and Debora arrived. He figured he needed his rest before all the witty banter from Doug came his way. “Oh hey honey thank you so much for running to the store. Did you run into anybody we know?” Of course, we live in a town with the population of 100 he thought. “Yes I did. I ran into Josh. You know the one you dated in high school that still has a crush on you.” “Goodness Todd no he doesn’t. We’re just good friends.” Regina said in a frustrated tone, which was Todd’s goal. “You’re right dear. Sorry I’m so cranky I think I just need a little nap. Is it ok if I take a quick nap before your parents arrive?” “I guess that’ll be ok. I only have a few more things to get ready before they arrive and I don’t want you and my dad butting heads all night so I would prefer you not to be cranky.” “Thanks hon, love you.” “Love you too.” Regina replied without looking at Todd. A few hours had passed when Todd awoke from his peaceful dream of a world without holidays and in-laws. The three assertive knocks on his front door that awoke him told him the hour of dread had finally arrived and Doug his father in law was at his door.


Doug had spent many years in the military doing missions he couldn’t talk about. Which had made him distrustful and self-righteous. Debora, Regina’s mother, was a nurse in some war Doug had fought when they met, Todd could never remember which one and that annoyed Doug. Debora was a kind hearted soul who never raised her voice and always looked on the bright side of things. Making a bold choice he decided to keep his sweatpants and hoodie on from his nap. He is going to get griped at anyway so he might as well be comfortable when it happens. When he walked down the stairs he could smell the distinct smell of Cuban cigars no doubt one Doug smoked in the car on the way. Hypocritical right? He can smoke, but he can’t eat salt. “Todd, glad to see you make an appearance. My daughter tells me you’ve been stopping by McDonald’s on your way home from the firm a couple of nights a week.” Here we go again he thought. “Debora so lovely to see you again.” Todd said as he ignored Doug. “Thank you Todd. We sure have missed the children since we moved to Florida. May I go see them?” “Of course. You know you don’t have to ask. I’ll stay here and entertain your charming husband.” Debora being the kind of woman she is didn’t get his sarcasm quite like Doug did. Once she was out of sight he took his opportunity to leave before Doug dug into him about his salt intake. “Excuse me Doug I’m pretty sure I heard your lovely daughter calling my name I’ll be right back.” He didn’t plan on being back anytime soon. Todd found Regina in the kitchen where he had left her hours ago picking over some papers that looked like bank statements and he knew he was caught. Surely she would see he had never put any toys on layaway, but to his surprise when she noticed him she just stuffed the papers in the nearest drawer and sat up. “Honey I didn’t expect you to be up just yet. I know how odd your sleeping schedule is during the holidays. Gotta rest up for the excitement of opening up presents tomorrow.” She said with a halfhearted smile. “Well I heard your father knocking earlier and I thought I ought to get up and greet him. You know how much I adore talking to your father.” “I’m happy he finally warmed up to you.” Yeah it only took six years. “Yeah, warmed up. Is there anything I could help you with?”


“No thank you, I’ve got this handled. Go join my father or you could help my mom with the children.” Todd decided to do neither of those things and go into his office to catch up on some much-needed work. After all if they wanted to make next months house payment he was going to have to work during the holiday. Work, the only thing that kept him calm. He could always rely on it to be there, and while it demanded things of him it always gave him something in return. Money. The thing that seemed to make the world go round. His world at least. His boss, Mr. McCollum, even promised him a promotion if he could have the Lindsey case figured out and organized by the new year. Another couple hours had passed when he finally put down his work to get some sleep. Again he found Regina in bed wearing her reading glasses she only wore when she was really into a good book starring at the same papers from earlier, and again once she noticed him she threw them in the drawer of the night stand by their new queen sized memory foam bed Todd didn’t want and smiled a halfhearted smile at him. “Did you get a lot of work done honey? I sure with Mr. McCollum would let you alone during the holiday and let you spend more time with your family.” That was exactly what he didn’t want. “Yes dear I’m almost finished with the account he needed me to work on. Tomorrow morning I’m all yours.” Tomorrow morning, Christmas morning, the day he dreaded more than his in-laws arrival. He was supposed to go to the local mall and get Darren the new “laptop” from Toys-R-Us and Annabelle the new Barbie dream house. He had got neither. When he walked in and saw the ridiculous prices he decided some clothes that were much needed would work better and headed to the nearest discount children’s clothing store. He wasn’t sure which would be worse, the disappointment on his children’s faces or his wife’s. It is what it is though. In the end saving money was all for the sake of the children, especially if they wanted them to go to college. “Good night Regina, I love you.” “Good night, Todd love you too.” She said again not looking at him. All night he could barley sleep, tossing and turning trying not to wake up Regina who was sleeping so peacefully compared to her normal kicking and snoring routine. There was a feeling in the pit of his stomach that would not let him rest. Like deja vu of something bad to come. Eventually, after what seemed like forever, the night came and went and he could hear the pitter patter of his children’s feet running towards their door. They knew not to open anything until their parents and 13

grandparents had time to get out the cameras. Todd tried gently to wake up Regina who got up stretched and walked straight to the guest bedroom her parents were in without so much as a good morning or Merry Christmas towards Todd. He grabbed up Darren and Annabelle and met the rest of the family downstairs by the measly tree he found in a ditch on the side of the road one night, but he had told Regina it came from a new tree farm one of his clients recommended in the next town over. Regina was snuggled on the only couch in between her parents holding the last of the coffee in her hands. The children ran straight for the presents under the tree and started ripping apart the fragile paper covered in snowmen and reindeer. They opened their grandparent’s gifts first which consisted of the “laptop” and Barbie dream house Todd was supposed to get. Like somehow they knew he hadn’t or wouldn’t. Then came the presents from Santa, which Regina was in charge of. They were add ons for their previous presents like a new Barbie and games for Darren’s laptop. Finally came the gifts Todd had picked out, and just like he expected disappointment came over the whole room. He had imagined how this would turn out. Doug would make some snide remark about how frugal Todd was. Debora would whimper quietly as not to upset anyone, and Regina would walk into the kitchen with hopes of Todd following her so they could argue, which meant her telling him all the things he does wrong, in quiet. But none of that happened. There were no snide remarks, crying, or even arguing. In fact everyone just sat peacefully and never made eye contact with Todd. “Well now that we have opened all the gifts how about we get some breakfast.” Regina said breaking the silence. “Sounds great dear. Your mother, Todd, and I will meet you and the children in there in just a few moments.” Here it comes, the snide remarks and arguing were about to start. “Todd, how have things been lately with you and Regina?” “Well Doug I’m not sure I’m very comfortable talking about that with you. Though I’m sure your daughter already has.” “You’re right she has, and we’re not very happy with the situation either. As you can tell.” “Todd I hope you don’t think this is too intrusive. We’re only having this conversation because Regina asked us to. It’s no reflection on you.” Debora added in trying to defuse the tension. “I know Debora, and I know how reliant she has been on you ever since we started dating, but I married her not you two. Sorry to be so blunt, 14

but I am going to go enjoy Christmas breakfast with my children if you don’t mind.” Todd said as he walked out of the living room. Where do they get off telling me I’m not good enough? Where does Regina get off telling her parents to talk to me about our marital problems? Did I not buy her this overly huge house to make her and the children happy? Sure I’m not here a lot and I don’t like to spend a lot of money, but is it so wrong to want to work hard and make money to save for our and our children’s future? What is so wrong with that? Nothing he thought. Breakfast was a quiet and awkward experience as the kids gobbled down their pancakes anxious to play with their new treasures their grandparents had bought them. While the adults sipped fresh coffee and ate the fiber bars Doug had brought in for them to try. Todd thought they tasted like sand dusted with dry fruit. When everything had settled down Doug and Debora said their goodbyes and headed to catch their plane back to Florida before the holiday rush hit. Todd went back to his office to finish up the Lindsey case, and Regina sat in the living room watching the children play. The hours in his office calmed in until the day had melted away and the sun was gone and down. He gathered up what courage he had and headed to the bedroom to lay down next to Regina and rejoice in the fact his in-laws were gone until the next major holiday. Again Regina was sitting in bed starring at those papers, but this time when she noticed him standing there she didn’t put them in the drawer she laid them on the bed in front of him. “I want a divorce.” The last words he thought he would hear. They had problems sure, but they had just bought this big house together and had only started to pay on the mortgage. “What?” was all he could muster. “You heard me. I want a divorce. That’s why my parents were talking with you this morning. They were supposed to tell you, because I didn’t think I could, but I can’t take this anymore. I don’t love you anymore. I thought this house would give us a fresh start and help me fall back in love with you, but it hasn’t.” “Are you seeing someone else? Who is it? Is it Josh?” “Don’t be silly Todd. This has nothing to do with Josh or anyone else. This has to do with the simple fact that I just don’t love you anymore.” “What about the children? What about the house?”


“That’s what these papers are. They’re the divorce papers my lawyer drew up for me. I’m willing to negotiate and change things in them if you want. But I just want out. I don’t have it in me anymore to pretend.” “I…I can’t do this right now Regina. I have a huge case to finish tomorrow and I just can’t. I’ll sleep in my office for now until I’m ready to go over these papers. I can’t talk to you about this now.” “Todd I’m sorry I did this today, I’ve been working up the nerve for a while now and today was just the last straw.” “Merry Christmas Regina.” He said as he walked out the door holding his divorce papers.


Poetry To be honest I never liked writing poetry. Before coming to UNA it bored me. The traditional couplets and rhymes were not the style I wanted to write. It was only after being exposed to more recent poetry that took a new perspective in my EN 456 Advanced Creative Wring: Poetry class did I find my passion for writing it. There are few things in this world that bring true joy, passion, and allow you to relieve stress. Writing poetry is one of them. While I love writing short stories, the writing process is a lot more stressful. Poetry however comes naturally to me. I am writing poetry while walking to class, before I go to sleep, while I eat. I am in a constant state of writing poetry. Most poems are gone before I have the chance to write them down, but some that are meant to be meet pen and paper. I have given you a few of the lucky ones in the next few pages.


Sitting Here Drinking Coffee With You Dean Winchester is in the background saying something about douchebag Angels, and it makes you laugh. This coffee feels so good after a long cold day. Watching you drinking it out of a straw is even better. Sam has now been poked and prodded by Crowley, something about a demon possession. You always radiate so much heat, but I snuggle up to you even though my French vanilla drink is keeping me warm. When are they going to bring Bobby back? I think I ask this every time. Once again you ignore me. I think it hurts too much to answer. Friday nights, DVR, and coffee have never seemed so good. Until you, Sam, and Dean came into my life. It’s a shame Kevin had to die. I don’t think he ever got laid. Sitting here drinking coffee with you. It’s Supernatural.


Why I love Because my brother was born in my heart Because babies are ugly Because I’ve only seen the ocean once Because my parents divorced Because my grandfather is redheaded Because it’s warm in summer Because flowers really smell bad Because steak and bacon should be served for all three meals Because I hate breakfast Because my last name Because the moon can change Because sleep is a gift from God Because people want these things, smelly flowers and all Because he loves to fish even though he has to bait my line Because my father went to college Because my mother didn’t Because it’s something I don’t do


Marilyn’s Out of Place Rocks

My feet hurt. The rocks below are hard and out of place. But my grandmother wants to walk. So we walk. By grace the trees shadow us from the whole, yellow, burning sun. She is still sweating though, claiming it’s just a hot flash brought on by menopause. I fear she’ll forget who I am. Where we are. She doesn’t. I walk slower to keep her pace and because of the hard out of place rocks. Why do women have menopause? Why do we forget? There’s an old Indian burial ground up ahead with a nice full log perfect for sitting and relieving our legs. We sit. The warm breeze whistling down the trees is comforting. My breath is caught. How long we’ve been walking. I answer, only a few minutes grandma, for the second time. Her royal purple jumpsuit barely covers her ankle brace. The brace she wears still from her broken foot my horse, Fred, gave her. It was my fault. I had to ride him. He jumped, I feel, she saved me. We sold that horse. We start to walk again. This time a little slower than before. The hot orange sun is sinking and I know I must get her home. She forgets at night. The doctors say she’s fine. My grandfather would disagree, he will tell you how she puts the bread in the freezer and the milk in the cabinet. She will forget me one day and I don’t know if I can handle it, he’ll say. Today is not that day and here we are walking among the out of place rocks, my feet still hurting.


Wal-Mart Parking Lot Bare and scattered Naked and vulnerable Ghost of buggies come and gone have made the white blue lines faint. Dressed in yellow light, she stings the eyes of passers by She is bejeweled with stainless steel holders of rides rides for things that have been marked and sold to the lowest bidder Her caretakers wonder over her in a sea of blue and khaki waves reassuring her she will never be lonely


Journalism From a young age I always admired the way Lois Lane fought tooth and nail for the truth during The Adventures of Lois and Clark. No threat of death or harm could discourage her from making sure the public knew what they needed to know. Once I arrived to the world of academics I started working for a paper to get a class credit. It wasn’t until I saw my name in print for the first time that I felt the passion that told me I could do this for the rest of my life. Unfortunately being a transfer student I am not hitting my Journalism courses at UNA until after this portfolio will be published. Instead I present to you two articles I am very proud of. Until I can tone my craft even more with the wonderful Communication Professors that UNA has to offer.


Young Life expands to Ole Miss ARTICLE | AUGUST 30, 2011 - 8:09PM | BY SARAH LEATHERS

The Young Life organization of Oxford has been showing high school students the love of Jesus since 1941 and it intends to share this love with the college students of Ole Miss. “So many students from Oxford going to Ole Miss know Young Life and are really comfortable with it,” Allen Hampton, Young Life area director, said. “It’s their home.” Young Life nationally added a college ministry six years ago, but the local chapter in Oxford has been working on this addition for the past four years. For the organization, this addition means more volunteers, new leaders and reaching out to a whole different age group, while following some of the same students who have experienced Young Life before. Young Life is made up of adults who take the responsibility to help high school and college students feel comfortable in their new environments as they grow into young men and women. Ren Turner, college ministry group leader, said Young Life is a place for students to have a community fellowship with other college students. “College Young Life is a relational ministry,” Turner said. “We had a desire to reach college students, to train them well, know them well and care for them well.” Both Turner and Hampton said this will have positive impact on Ole Miss and Oxford as a community. “Young Life means forming relationships with people but also with God,” said Shannon Richardson, Young Life volunteer for college ministry. “Young Life is a way to form those relationships that’s not 23

intimidating.” Not only does the organization impact the students, but the leaders that make up the community as well. On the website, there are many quotes from volunteers not only saying the change they noticed in their kids, but the changes in themselves. Young Life ministry at Ole Miss will be held on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Union. “This will be great for every kind of college student, Christian or nonChristian,” Billy Canale, a group leader, said. “It’s a great way for people to come together in fellowship.”



The End

Bookshelf artwork created by Wolfy-T at