staring into the sun

 

Hello! 🙂 Welcome to my very first post on my very first blog. If you don’t mind, I’m going to jump right into conversation. Have you ever done something terrifying? Not acting out of stupidity, like riding on a car’s roof down the freeway. No, something that you know you should do, maybe even something God is whispering in your heart to do, but the ugly voice of fear is taunting you. Anyone?

Well, that’s what this author blog is for me.

The thought of authoring a blog would bring an anxiety I had to resist. Again and again. Why? My early years of existence have been spent as an extrovert, but life has since morphed me into an introvert. I have felt the gentle nudge of God’s handing leading me to step out, stretch beyond my comfort sphere.

Besides, the book publishing world almost demands an online presence. So…here I am.

Since my vulnerability meter is already pegged, I decided to venture a little further and introduce myself in fictional form. Okay, way tough for me, but I am going to do it 🙂 I chose a time in my life that was both emotional and life-changing. Before I start here’s a few notes below.

  • Names have been either altered or completely left out for courtesy’s sake.
  • The scenes that I will be posting throughout the week are as true to form as I could possibly remember. (This has been both awkward and awesome for me. Reliving memories that I have long buried had its level of pain, but then it also had been freeing.)
  • My goal of writing my intro in this fashion is this: One, to show you my writing style. Two, to give you an inside glimpse of my life. (May not be too entertaining, but oh well.)

GIVEAWAY! Since you were so nice to take time out of your busy day to read this post, I want to give you something. I am offering you a chance to win the Mark of the Lion gift collection. It’s three books in one. Love love love this series. It started me back into the swing of writing. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment( say Hi, ask a question, etc.) sometime this week in my posts. I will announce the winner on Friday.

So without further ado

(I know it’s corny but stick with me) the first installment of

“Staring into the Sun”

 

***

 

Year 2001

Monaca, Pennsylvania

“Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.”

“Aw. You’ll hurt its feelings.”

Rachel punched the register key only to have it beep at her. Again. “You speak as if this thing has a soul.” If she didn’t clock in within two minutes she’d be late.

“Doesn’t act that way to me.” Kristen pulled some receipt paper from the printer and spit a wad of gum in it. Posturing herself like Allen Iverson, she shot it through the air into the wastebasket. Two points. “And, my gal, it wouldn’t act that way to you, if you’d turn your key.” She gave her an exaggerated wink, the glitter on her eyelids in full sparkle against the fluorescent lights.

Rachel scowled, looking at the key that was vertical instead horizontal. Why didn’t she catch that? She twisted the key and mashed hard on the keys. Oh, for this day to be over. But then, what about tomorrow? Fear pressed her heart, but Rachel didn’t consider it. She couldn’t. The monitor lit up. Clock In Successful. JCPenney owns her for the next six hours and twenty-nine minutes. Yippee. “Anything, I need to know before I take over?”

“No.” The taller girl said, picking at her blue fingernail polish. “Oh…yeah. I put some holds in the closet. I am going to buy them tomorrow.”

Tomorrow. Payday. “If Jerry sees that, he’ll have a fit.” Rachel shook her head, brown wisps falling onto her forehead. She smoothed them back into her ponytail.

“Don’t show him.”

That easy, huh? Rachel forced a smile. At least it was slow. One customer browsed the clearance rack, but that was it. Plenty of time to mentally rehearse some talking points. She huffed. If only the real world conversation could go as easy as it did in her noggin.

“So, you don’t mind?”

“Huh?” Oh, the holds. Jerry. “No, I’ll do my best to keep his nose out of the closet.” She turned to Kristen and knocked the tape dispenser onto the floor, the tape wheel tumbling out and knocking into Kristen’s right Sketcher. “Sorry.”

Kristen swooped low to pick up tape and bounced back to full height. “You doing okay? Where’s your big smiles and way-too-much-Dr.Pepper attitude?”

“I’m fine.” Her stomach soured. Liar. I’m sorry, God. But how could she tell Kristen when she didn’t even tell her family? “I have something to say to somebody that I know they won’t like.” Okay, like that made any sense. Got to work on that.

“Finally being a rebel, missy?” Kristen softly punched her in the shoulder.

Rebel? If the word meant wearing Tommy jeans to work rather than the required Arizona brand, then yes, she was notorious mutineer. Other than that, she was no more a rebel than Ozzy Osbourne a folk singer. She sighed. “Got to stare into the sun.” Again.

Kristen made a face. “Babe, this is October. Overcast invades the sky from late September to about forever here.” She pointed to the double door leading to the outside. Sure enough the sky was as grey as Jerry’s head.

“Come on.” Rachel shrugged. “I was trying to encourage myself.”

“Staring into the sun? Tell me how scorched retinas is a pep talk.” Kristen grabbed her Charlie’s Steakery cup from under the register and took a long swig. “What are they teaching you over there in community college land?”

Rachel laughed. “When I was little, I would stare into the sun and, you know, get yelled at for it.”

“And rightly so, doll.”

“I couldn’t help it. My eyes would wander that way.” She said, watching three teenage girls walk into the dressing room with arms full of Amy Byer’s signatures. “I look at it as my motivation.”

“Being?”

“Being, when you set your sights on something brighter and bigger than you, someone is going to fuss. Ignore ‘em.” And ignore that little voice in her head as well. The voice in her heart was what she needed to put a microphone to. Lord, help me.

“Ooh I like that.” Kristen nodded. “The sun might burn them, but it makes you glow.”

And there you have it. Kristen, the platinum-blonde Aristotle. “Simply fabulous.” Rachel’s heart could stand a good glow.

“I am so stealing that for my public speaking class. But, hey, I got to run. Brittney Spears is in the Burgh tonight. Us girlfriends plan to dress-up like her and heckle her during the whole concert.”

And…then she said that.

“Later, Kris. Have fun.” Rachel tapped the keys to wake the monitor. Only five minutes passed. A lone penny on the counter inspired her to pick it up and flip it. Heads, she camps out in the fitting room or tails, she snuggles under one of those fancy shamancy bedding displays upstairs in home décor. Tails. Man-oh-man, if that were possible. Anything to avoid this evening. This evening. This evening. The words pounded into her head worse than the Spice Girls song that was polluting the sound system. Don’t think on it. Maybe it will go away. She looked around and saw some jeans that need folding. Keep busy, Rachy.

She just finished a stack of size elevens, when the phone rang.

“Juniors. This is Rachel.” The receiver was cold on her ear.

“Hey.”

It was him.

Her heart turned a summersault. “Hi.” She poked her head over the counter to secure her thoughts of any Jerry sightings. Clear. “You still at work?”

“Yeah. Did you tell them?”

He jumped into the conversation like he did her heart. More like cannonballed into her heart, making waves that she never wants to settle.

“Nope. Gonna have the talk tonight.” She pressed her lips together. Getting her stomach to ease would be nice. Not likely though. She should’ve never hit Taco Bell on her way to work. The mild sauce wasn’t being very nice to her insides.

“Is that a P.C.?”

Rachel’s eyes flew to the new voice.

Rats. It was Jerry. Where did he come from? Rappel from the ceiling? Forcing herself to breathe, she said into the phone, “Hold on, sir.” She heard him say a “Huh?” before pulling the receiver down and pressing it against her chest. Think. She could totally act like this was a customer, write down a phony order and be done. No questions. But for one, she was a lousy liar, and for two, she just…just couldn’t. “Yes, Jerry. It’s a personal call. I’ll get off.”

He scowled and walked away.

“Sorry, hon, just got busted.”

“No, I’m sorry. I should have asked if you had time to talk.” His voice sounded regretful. My, she loved this man. “Do you need me to come over tonight? To stand by you?”

“Thanks, but I think you should stay away. It could get ugly.” The words poked at her heart as tears stung her eyes.

“It’s going to be okay. I promise.” His deep voice fed strength to her struggling soul. “I love you, Rach.” And that’s why this was worth it.

“Love you, too.” So. Very. Much.

After saying goodbye, she hung up. Gestapo Jerry stopped in the hall and… was he? Yep, he was craning his neck to see her, to make sure she was off the crumby phone. What nerve. He nodded as he grabbed his walkie-talkie and headed toward the shoe department. She felt her face heat. No guts. That was her problem with Jerry, with tonight, with life. No guts.

 

***

Thank you so much for reading! I can’t leave without asking some questions: Was there a time in your life that was a “do or die” moment? A decision, that if chosen wrong could alter your future? If you want, tell me about it in a comment below. Or, like I stated above, just say Hi!

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14 thoughts on “

  1. I love the suspense! So glad you’re starting this blog! It’s only when you step into the uncomfortable and unknown that you can expand your reach and goals! Just love the writing style. And you’re only just beginning on this new journey! Agree, can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

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