Worship Chapter 2 – Determination

This is the second chapter. To read the first and see what makes Abigail the person she is – and some distressing insight into Mark, go here.


Humans are curious beings. They can all experience the same challenge and yet each has their own response. Some are defeated by the hint of adversity, fearful and beaten before the battle has even begun. Some cover their fear with bluster. Some have no fear – as Abigail will eventually discover.

Abigail, despite her frail and innocuous appearance, responded to adversity with determination. Not to prove to others she was strong, but to prove to herself. She sat in her next two classes pondering her fate. “I must fix this” she said to herself, willing courage.

After class was lunch. Lunch always gave Abigail anxiety. She had no one to sit with and ended up at “The Table of Misfits”. The table where anyone who is no one would relegate themselves. They did not talk. They did not laugh.

To avoid the anxiety, Abigail had decided in her Freshman year she would bring her lunch and eat in the band hall. She would sit fetally against the wall, head down and eat her peanut butter and crackers. Able only to see the feet of the occasional hall wanderer.

Today Abigail conjured the courage to go to the cafeteria. Mark would see her and sit with her. When the bell rang, she hurried to her locker with a deliberate walk, tunnel visioned on her goal, dropped her books, grabbed her lunch and rushed to the sterile white cafeteria, hoping to beat Mark there. Hoping he would see her and choose to sit with her.

When she arrived, there were only a few dozen students seated. Her heart sank. There was Mark, already seated with his friends from the Future Farmers of America club. A rush of panic shot through her and she fought the desire to turn and head to the band hall. In a fight of will, she walked to a still empty table across from him and sat down. She mentally willed him to her side.

Nothing.

She sat, hands limp in her lap, staring down at her unopened bag, contemplating her next move. She needed to look at him. Smile. All the other girls who wanted boys to notice them did. Without looking up, she practiced her smile. It felt unnatural. Forced. She would look silly. He would laugh at her.

“No.” she internally chastised herself. “I can do this. I will do this.” Dimming her smile a bit, she slowly raised her head. Mark was looking at her. He smiled. She quickly ducked her head. Now, though, her smile was genuine. When she looked up again, he was walking over.

“Hey” his voice was soft, not like the eruptions from his friends at the next table. She lifted her head to look at him, averting her gaze from his table.

“Hey,” her voice was a whisper.

“What’s for lunch?” Mark’s voice was anxious, though Abigail didn’t notice. Her own fear drowned out any subtle detection. He opened the top of her bag, which would have normally felt a violation, but for some reason his brashness flattered her.

“Just peanut butter and jelly.”

“And crackers” added Mark, poking into the bag.

“Yeah,” said Abigail in a thin voice.

“So you’re busy Saturday, huh?” asked Mark, gaining more confidence.

“No…I mean…I was…but I can change plans. It wasn’t important anyway. I mean, if you want to do something….” Her breath and heart were fast as she formed the words.

“Well…yeah…you know…I heard that movie was pretty good…and stuff…I have a truck.”

He relinquished claim on Abigail’s lunch and she took her hands out of her lap to remove her sandwich. She stared down at the bag as if performing a delicate surgery.

“I’d like to do that…if you really want to” she spoke to the bag.

“OK then, Saturday. Can I get your number?” He tore off a piece of the bag, took a pen out of his pocket and wrote “Abby” on it. As she recited her number, he wrote it down beneath. The act gave her a thrill. Abigail had never considered a boy would want to call her, talk to her. Maybe he would truly see her.

“So…I’ll call you.” Mark stood up.

“Yeah.” Abigail still looked down.

Mark returned to his table. Abigail sat there stunned. Her heart raced and she wanted to run away. She could feel the warm blush in her cheeks. She felt naked in front of the entire school.

She got up, placed her sandwich back in the bag, and fled to the safety of the band hall. There she huddled, not eating, a jumble of joy and fear. “Yes!”

Though no one saw it through the hood of her hair, she beamed the rest of the day.

 


BIG THANK YOU to my beta readers who have given me valuable input on this chapter. If you would like to give your input and get the chapters before they come out, send me an email at FictionalKevin@Gmail.com.

 


Worship: Chapter 1 – The Invisible Girl

This is a piece I started a while ago. I am going to be writing another chapter this week. Let me know your feedback. Also, if you would like to be a “beta reader” and give me pre-publish input, comment below and I’ll send you a draft to eviscerate.

Fictional Kevin

And G-d said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” 

– Genesis 22:2

Beginnings are important.

While it is often said and accepted as fact one can begin again, it is a lie. A lie clad in white but a lie none the less. There is one beginning of a thing. There is one beginning of a person. There is one beginning of a story. And the beginning of a thing or a story or a person will determine its course – and its demise. The beginning of this thing and this person and this story were all the same: 32 years ago Abigail Upton was born.

Everyone is born into a different circumstance. Abigail, unfortunately, was born into invisibility.

She…

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Worship: Chapter 1 – The Invisible Girl

And G-d said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” 

– Genesis 22:2

Beginnings are important.

While it is often said and accepted as fact one can begin again, it is a lie. A lie clad in white but a lie none the less. There is one beginning of a thing. There is one beginning of a person. There is one beginning of a story. And the beginning of a thing or a story or a person will determine its course – and its demise. The beginning of this thing and this person and this story were all the same: 32 years ago Abigail Upton was born.

Everyone is born into a different circumstance. Abigail, unfortunately, was born into invisibility.

She first was invisible to her parents. They are most certainly not important and will get only this one mention. They fed her, clothed her, packed her off to school and grandma’s, but they never saw her. She was a pet. Less than. Not worth a smile or a pat.

Abigail would never know when, years later, during the divorce, they had argued over her. Not who would get her, but who had to take her.

She was invisible in grade school. Long, unkept, mousy brown hair covered her thick glasses and dark eyes. Kickball meant “oh, yeah, I guess we’ll take her then” – last, until the pudgy kid with the club foot moved to town. She wasn’t shy, per se, but there were so many who could talk better, think better. She wore unaffecting clothes with an unaffecting attitude.

Invisible.

Once, in her fourth grade year, she tried to become visible. Her English teacher asked if anyone knew David from the Bible. Abigail had just read the story a week before. Now, she thought, was her chance. She knew all the details. She could share something she knew. Everyone would be impressed. They would see her.

“He was King Saul’s armor bearer and…”

She was interrupted by her teacher’s laughter “No, Abby, David was the King and he slew the giant Goliath.” Abigail knew this, of course, and would have added the part about Goliath if she hadn’t been interrupted, but now she was squashed back in fear.

Everyone was looking at her. She looked at her desk, her hair making a little room, a barrier between her and The Others. Abigail willed back her tears.

Inside her mind, she huddled. Trying to be invisible again. Thinking thoughts she would never say, “No, ma’am, Saul was king when David slew Goliath.” At that moment she hated Mrs. Rose. She hated the other students. Most of all, she hated herself.

Of course nine year old Abigail couldn’t know her teacher was drunk and, in fact, had not been sober a day in the last 10 years. Abigail couldn’t know the Superintendent had left Mrs. Rose on for the last couple years as an act of mercy. Abigail just knew shame.

Abigail decided in that precise moment being invisible was better than this. Ever again.

High school was worse. There were boys. Girls were supposed to like boys. Girls were supposed to do things to be noticed by boys.

Abigail was never noticed. By anyone. Especially not boys. One would be wrong to think Abigail was made fun of. To be teased, someone has to see you. No one saw her. She floated down the halls of her school, head down, feet shuffling and no one noticed.

Abigail felt. Deeply. She read and became Lizzie Bennett, Nancy Drew. She was Anne of Green Gables – ambitious and competitive and smart. She had the wit and determination of Jo March.

She wanted everyone to know her, to see her. To see the bright, ambitious, determined girl she was inside. She had passion. She knew she could change the world.

If only.

She loved. Deeply. She hadn’t found “him” yet, or, more exactly, he hadn’t found her, but she knew when it happened she would give all her heart. He would see her as she saw herself. He would look beyond her exterior. He would see her, the real her.

At night, when her hormones raged, Abigail would touch herself and think of Him. She could feel his gentle touch, the love in his fingers as he caressed her. He would say to her the things she longed to hear. He would cherish her.

She waited, invisible, for him. The One who would see her.

It happened, or so Abigail thought, the final semester of her senior year. She was standing at her locker, collecting her books for class. The hustle of hundreds of students passed by behind.

“Abby?”

At first, it didn’t register. She continued fiddling with her books for her first two classes.

He tapped her shoulder. “Abby?”

She turned. It was Mark Thompson. He was wearing his usual uniform: Wranglers, plaid flannel shirt, cowboy boots and a John Deer hat. Even with the boots, he was the same 5′ 6″ as Abigail.

Mark was a cruel young man. One of his happiest activities was to go out to his father’s barn and intentionally maim the feral cats with his .22 pistol. He found other’s misfortune amusing. Empathy was nowhere to be found in his short, stocky frame.

Of course Abigail didn’t know this. She didn’t really know Mark. They had Algebra together and all she really knew was he didn’t seem to be doing well with it. She did know he was a boy, and he was talking to her.

As soon as she met his gaze, she immediately looked down. Her voice was tight “hi.”

“Whatcha doin’?” He sounded nervous. Of course Abigail didn’t notice, she was mortified. She wanted to crawl into her locker.

“Just…getting my books.”

“Yeah, I gotta get to class too. I was wonderin’…would you like to go out Saturday? I could pick you up and we could go to that ‘Fallen’ movie. I heard it’s pretty good.”

“Oh, um, sorry, I have plans.” She turned on her heels and used a much quicker shuffle to take her to Social Studies. She heard him mutter “OK” behind her.

Abigail’s heart was racing. She was terrified. She was excited. She wanted to hide and she wanted to dance. A boy just asked her out. On a proper date.

Wait, thought Abigail, she had just turned him down. “What have I done? What if he, Mark, was Him? I have blown it. I and my insecurities and my fear and my anxiety have left me alone forever.”

She pushed back her tears as she slid into her desk.


Writing some fiction again

So this weekend I was encouraged by a new friend to get back to writing fiction. In fact, as I lamented that I had an idea for a book (Worship) and shared with her the plot, but also shared my skill was not yet up to the level of writing it, she suggested I find a co-author. It was good advice.

If I want to write fiction, I either need to write lots and get gooder, or I need to come up with the story arcs, characters and plot lines, then let someone else work with me on the writing.

Right now I am doing some of the preliminary work, but I will likely begin posting pieces of the writing here and see what other people think. Get some feedback.