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Fragrant Dreams

Lady Asphyxia

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[size=1][color=darkred]A story I had to do for an essay competition. Personally, I don't think it's very good, and definately not as good as Perfection. Actually, to me, this seems really corny and trite, but, as always, tell me what you think...

Anyway, the topic I chose was "My dream and where it takes me."
[Edit - Oh, and P.S. I'm taking this down after a couple of days, because Mum says I'm a silly bint because I put this up here after entering it in a competition, so, just to appease the parentals...yeah. So feel free to PM me afterwards to actually see the story if you want it that bad o.O]

[b]Fragrant Dreams[/b]

I?ve always loved the smell of the ocean. The sight of the deep mass of blue and green beauty has never overly affected me, nor has the sand between my toes. But I cherish the smell.

It is distinct, the wax of surfboards mingling with the crisp scent of deep fried fish and chips. On a windy day, the flow of air will bring the salty tang of the sea to a person?s nostrils from almost a mile away.

My grandparents? house was a ten-minute walk from the beach. It was downhill the entire way, and as a child, I remember skipping in my anticipation. There was always a touch of adrenaline in the skipping; too fast, and I?d topple like a sandcastle being hit by a wave.

I?d play in the sand and the surf with the gaiety and glee of the young, stopping only when dusk arrived. We?d collect fish and chips for dinner, and start the exhausting trek up the hill.

After my grandparents died, we sold their house. The location alone gave it a huge value, and the last I heard, the people who bought it were renovating the house. My mother admitted to me that ?renovating? was a loose term. She really meant ?knocking it down and starting over?. It was then I decided that I wanted to buy back my grandparents? land.

It?s been four years since I made my decision, and I am glad to say that I am now 356 dollars 72 cents, and two jobs closer to my dream. My mother ? and, I like to think, my dream - has rewarded my tenacity with a trip to ?our? beach.

It takes us several hours to arrive. By that time, my legs are cramping from the close conditions of the car. Mum and I talk animatedly, discussing everything from flowers to her university course.

The car pulls to a stop in front of the Surf Club. I clamber out in a particularly ungraceful movement, and dance around ? barefoot ? on the hot pavement. I?d already changed into my bathing suit at the last stop we?d made. Mum, laughing, climbs out of the car at a slower pace, throwing my shoes at me. I catch them clumsily, trying not to burn my feet in that instant of inactivity.

We make our way down to the fish and chip shop. I gasp as I see the changes in the scenery. Where the beach used to be a chocolate and vanilla swirl, all the sand has been replaced with rocks. There are fences all over, restricting access. The fish and chip shop is almost the same. There?s a new coat of pink paint, and the awnings are a different colour. Otherwise, it?s really the only thing about this beach that has stayed the same.

Mum and I walk into the fish shop, looking around and picking out the discrepancies between our memories and reality. The owner bustles out, wiping her hands on the tea towel. She sees us and her face breaks into a smile; apparently she remembers us.

We chat for a while, reminiscing about the ?good old days?. I find it funny that I?m already acting like this at the age of fourteen. I can see myself at 70, munching on Tapioca Pudding and rocking in my chair, staring out at the clothes line and the dying grass, mumbling to myself about ?them good old days?. The image is a funny one, and I laugh as my companions stare at me in bewilderment.

I shake my head and order an ice cream, dismissing the image. My sense of humor is an odd one, and I doubt that anyone else would find the image funny.

Trudy ? the owner ? decides to take a break and join us. Mum informs me that she and Trudy went to High School together. It seems like this day will be one stumble after another in the street called Memory Lane.

Mum, Trudy and I walk down to the beach, talking and laughing together. We lay out the rugs and set up a beach umbrella Trudy had brought from the shop. Mum and Trudy sit down; I strip to my bathing suit and run into the water, gladly splashing around.

The water is lovely and refreshing. It?s a hot day, and I can feel the sun on my shoulders. I?m glad that I put sunscreen on. I do want this holiday to be memorable, but not by getting burnt.

I play some more, pretending I?m a dolphin. I ride the waves with all the skill of a four-month-old pup, but I don?t mind. When my mother calls me into the shore for something to eat, I realize that Trudy?s gone back to work. I wanted to say goodbye, but I suppose I can see her before we leave anyway.

I sit down with Mum, and try to convince her to join me when I return to the water. She laughs and shakes her head. She likes the beach, not the water, she says. I?ve never understood her attitude, but I accept it none-the-less, and settle down with her. It?s lonely in the water when you?re by yourself.

After a while, Mum sighs and stands up. It?s time to go home. I resist, and plead with her to let me stay for just a few more hours. ?It isn?t even dark yet,? I say. She looks at the sun, then at her watch. It is really only five o?clock, and I know how she?s always loved the sea at night.

We stay, walking silently along the beach, stopping now and then to pick up shells. Many of them are broken; shattered by the pounding of the waves against the rocks. There is a slight sadness in the way the shells are covered with sand and ignored. My grandfather had always remarked on that.

Apparently, Mum had been thinking about my grandfather too. There?s an enigmatic expression on her face, and she?s walking slowly, staring down at the ground almost blindly. I touch her shoulder to get her attention, smiling at her when she looks up. She smiles back at me ? weakly ? but I can empathise with her grief. Our family has always been close.

Without talking, she grabs my hand and starts to hurry me along to a certain point in the beach. Despite the changes in the environment, I can see that she knows where she?s going, and I trail after her. All of a sudden, she stops, turns around, and looks towards the east. I follow her gaze and smile. Although their house had been knocked down, and there were drastic changes in the landscaping, I could still see where my grandparents? house had been. My resolve strengthened further. All of a sudden, my mother started giggling, her face no longer gloomy. I joined in with her, and minutes later, we were rolling on the rocky and uncomfortable ? although beautiful ? beach, in gales of unexplainable laughter, holding our stomachs.
We take a while to calm down, and lie on the beach, staring up at the rapidly disappearing daylight. There is a strange calm in me, and I know that it doesn?t matter where my dream takes me, I will still reach it.

Mum watches the sunlight fade, the last glistening drops of heat shimmering on the water, then turns her head to face me. Her voice is quiet, sincere, and she has a smile in her voice. ?I know how much you want to get the land back, Kathryn, and as long as I?m alive, I will help you. I can?t help you much yet, but for the moment, would you settle for an elegant fish and chips dinner for two??

I nod, then, realising that she can?t see me well in the current light, answer with a ?Yes.?

We walk along silently. We are closer than we ever have been ? companions, Mother and daughter, and most of all, friends. The rocks are hard on my feet, and as we stroll, something sharp cut into my feet. I shriek in pain and sit on a nearby rock, peering into the darkness for the source of my agony. Mum is hovering concernedly, and I reassure her that it isn?t a bad cut. But I still want to know why I had cut my foot.

I saw it a second later. A sharp edge, barely sticking out of the sand. I pull on it, careful not to cut my fingers. It?s deeply imbedded in the ground. I tug once more and it slides out. I recognize the shape, and I grin, then start to laugh. ?What is it??

?A shell,? I reply, realising that the memories and the smells of the ocean could be captured in this beautiful object. ?A perfect shell.?
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[color=red] You don't give yourself enough, LA. This story does flow seamlessly, and it is simply and wonderfully written. I also like how you stayed away from using 'I'. Because I've found, many first-person stories use the word 'I' constantly. As I have.

The ending was definite, but I felt I wanted more. Other than that, it was good.[/color]
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Fairly well done and executed. :)

The story itself is well-rounded and complete. It is a well-constructed and structured piece of prose. The beginning and the end mesh well together. A little too contrived perhaps, but it doesn't feel that way, and that's a testimony to your storytelling skills little one. ;)

There are a few problems with it. All of them are mistakes often made by beginners. I don't really want to point them out so much because, in all fairness, I don't want to disrupt your search for your voice. And the awareness grows not from arriving at the destination but from being on the journey.

I would just say, try not to try too hard. If you know what I mean...;)

There is no need to show off, just try to express yourself as best you can. Use the devices and turns of phrase you've caught from various places, but do try to make them your own, and not just take something and put it down somewhere it doesn't quite belong.

Are you in 9th or 10 grade? I've forgotten. Me bad...:D

For 9th grade, a A-

For 10th grade, a B+

Hmm...sorry...I'm not a very good sycophant..;)

But hey, that's a pretty good report anyways! :p
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[color=darkred][size=1]*dies* Mnemolth, please. Stop your bagging and your 'I don't want to discourage you' big person voice, because you [i]know[/i] I'm going to whine it out of you anyway. -.- If you just tell me now, I can at [i]least[/i] save myself the time spent on nagging...

*sigh* Anyway...

[b]Ken:[/b] Eh. Thankies. ^-^ Although I've already said that several times...

[b]Mitch:[/b] Of course I give myself enough. In private, before I show this to anyone or consider posting it anywhere. And once I have considered it, I start critiquing so I know what to expect from the people reading it, see? I stayed away from 'I' because I incorparated other people, which makes it easier. The ending was [i]crap[/i]. I had no idea how to end it, but I knew it needed to tie into the smells and whatever else I put in there [I can't even remember >.<]. So I had to do that.

[b]Marbar:[/b] Thankies. I nagged you into actually posting, I know. ^^" I do that a lot. Anyway, I nearly died choosing the topic, mainly because they all sucked. Big time >.<

[b]Mnemolth:[/b] It does feel contrived, and it is. Okay, I used the setting of my grandfather's house and town in New Zealand [although he isn't dead], and I came up with a scenario that could fill the critera. You have no idea how hard that is for me >.<
I get sidetracked by ideas.

Tell me the problems. Now. At least then, I know them for next time, and I can decide whether or not I care.

Heh...yes, I was showing off in the similies and metaphors, but only because I wanted to tie it to my beachy theme. I'm thinking that's what you meant, although I'm not sure. You're too damned cryptic.

10th Grade. 9th where you are, though. I think. Where are you, by the way? ^.~

Best sycophant I've come across yet. And, yes, Mnemmy, I do know what it means. Looked it up to make sure and everything. ^.^ Constructive Criticism is my favorite flattery. Although, as of now, nothing you've said is constructive, as such.

Heh. Good report, yes. Good enough? No. You know I'm a perfectionist. [Pun unintended. -.-][/color][/size]
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Well lookie. You finally suckered me into to posting, Rae. Aren't you happy?

I'm not going to offer any pointers, because one: I don't believe that this story needs any work, and two: I'm at school so I'm desperately trying not to get caught. ^^;;

All I'm going to say is I love your story, and however fabricated it is, it flows like the ocean itself, and I can picture what you're talking about in my head.

I like stories like that, and I feel you've done an excellent job. Keep up the good work babe! ^_^

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  • 4 months later...
[size=1]Well, it's several months later, and I'm probably breaking a rule to bring this back up, but nonetheless, I am going to, to share the news.

I've recently found out that this piece won me a fourth prize in the Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Competition, and I am beyond pleased.

So cheers, and she the good will.[/size]
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