Thursday, March 12, 2009

character meets me

In my writing class, we're working on character development. The end result will be a short story. Below is my character meets me:

Once a month, I volunteer at the Downtown Womens Center to teach sign language to its residents and visitors. Several women show up, a handful actually participate. Last month, after several months away, Yolanda showed up with a young girl in tow.

"Rissie! Where you been, girl? You still cookin' in the kitchen?" We hugged.
"Yep, still cooking on Thursdays." We'd met last year on a DWC cooking night. She threw her arm around the young girl.

"Tracks, this here's Rissie. She cooks sometime, she serve lunch sometime and she teach those sign things to the ladies."

"I'm Rissa. Nice to meet you. Tracks? Where'd that name come from?" She shrugged a little.

"Come from me. One - she from the other side of the tracks. Two - this girl can run! I seen her outrun Jackson and you know that nigger fast, girl!"

"Are you staying for the class?"

"Nah, not today. We came to sleep and shower, get clothes and eat. You make them two times potatoes?"

"Not this time," I said. "Pasta shells, green salad, garlic bread and jello."

"Mmm!" She playfully punched my shoulder and walked off to the day room. Tracks stood there, staring at me.

The seven ladies arranged their chairs in a circle, while Tracks sat on the sofa against the wall, directly in my line of sight. We reviewed the ABC's and numbers, each woman spelling her name and signing her favorite number. I introduced colors by asking some women their favorite color then showing her the sign.

"Tracks, what's your favorite color?"

She signed green.

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