Day 1 – October 11: Character development. Pick a random human you’ve seen today. Describe his or her physical attributes without using cliches. Write a flash piece about this person and integrate him or her into the Nano project’s world. 500 words. Focus on anti-cliche descriptions.
She’s a small girl, local. She sneezes like staccato notes being plucked off a child’s viola. Her laptop is covered in stickers to show us all she’s a cool kid. She knows all the trendy brands to have. Her hair is black and long like wide and flat sheets of nori. Her hands are extraordinarily small. Almost like fingers of delicate cashews attached to tiny moon shaped palms. Her concentration is fierce after her abrupt and musical sneezes. Four in a row.
I will call her Kayla.
Kayla slings her crispy-white backpack over her shoulder and immediately hunches her body forward, compressing herself against the sharp Chicago wind. Her entire life has been coddled by warm trade winds and flat palmed sun slaps from Hawaii, and nothing could have ever prepared her for the bone pricking cold that stabs at her again and again every time the slightest breeze picks up. Her eyes are small sunrises that don’t want to greet the day. They stay shut with just enough of a peak to barely make out which direction to walk in.
Chicago is amazing, they say. It’s the most beautiful city in the whole country, they tell her. She didn’t believe them then, and she definitely thinks they’re full of shit now. Nothing this cold could ever be anything but evil.
She hugs her arms tighter around her body and continues walking and lifting her head every few minutes to check the numbers on the buildings, surfacing like her brother says the turtles do when he surfs Queens.
As she turns the corner and the wind pauses briefly. She can’t feel it push against her forehead which gives her the fleeting second to pick herself up fully like a periscope and take a quick assessment of her surroundings.
She stands at the corner of a dingy street staring directly into an abandoned parking lot bathing in the shadow of an immense wall. Kayla looks around confused, lost, and growing more frustrated with this city that was supposed to be so freaking beautiful…
She notices the painting on the wall that’s standing over the parking lot like a God.
A painting of a woman with long and curved legs like low sound waves floats, cross-legged over the red and brown bricks of the old building. The woman is almost colorless except for the shocks of blue mixed with the gray and black. Her hair is blue. Her skin is a morosely navy undertone, but not enough to consider it Smurfish. She is tinted blue. Like everyone is looking at her through colored glass. Kayla’s mouth drops open slightly at how beautifully the painted woman’s full, overly voluptuous blue lips are parted slightly. She unconsciously mirrors the tiny o as if in response.
The wind picks up and punches her body forcefully like a dangling dream-catcher. It spins her around and knocks the warmth of her lungs as she turns away from it, her body retracting forcefully. She waits until the punishment stops before she rubs her hands together, warming them up and bending some dexterity back into the fingers that feel like cashews. She fumbles around her jacket pocket for her phone.
As she digs, she stares at the painting on the city wall. She honestly has never seen anything as beautiful as that. Not even all the cobalt blue waves on Sunset Beach could ever compare to that painting on that building in that parking lot on that painfully cold Chicago morning.
She groans as her phone is no where in her pocket and she realizes that she left it on the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom at the clinic.
Word Count: 604