Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Snippet ~ 8.17.07

This week's snippet comes immediately following last week's. I'm not sure if it will stay in or not (because I'm not sure if Cynthia's actually going to go home or not) in the next draft, but since I like the scene I thought I'd post it.

Reminder: This material is copyrighted by me, and is still in draft form. It may be altered or even cut before the final, hopefully published, version. Please do not reproduce it anywhere, in any form.

Today, Rich was working on the set of one of the big comic-book superhero movies. I forgot which one; he’d done most of them, so I supposed it didn’t matter any more. He got to see many of the big stars, even if they never noticed him. It would have made me jealous, except he made a point of getting me show t-shirts or souvenirs from the sets as presents.

This package didn’t feel like a movie souvenir.

It felt like a book. And a book was even better than a souvenir.

I ripped the paper off, not even bothering to read the card. Mom reached down and picked the paper off the floor where I’d thrown it. She got out her penknife and slit the tape attaching the card to the wrapping paper; she even opened the envelope for me before starting to smooth out the paper.

It was indeed a book: a large, coffee table book about Yosemite National Park. Tingles ran up my spine as I looked at it—not because I love Yosemite, though I do, but because I had a feeling. It just felt special.

I opened the front cover to see that Rich had personalized it. “Happy birthday, Cyn! I know how important books are to you, and this one seemed appropriate. Let me know what it does! -R.” I stared at the inscription, and then scrutinized the back cover. There had to be some clue, some hint...

My dad cleared his throat, drawing attention back to the rest of the gifts awaiting my attention. With a self-conscious smile, I took Rich’s card from my mom and read it quickly before tucking it inside the book and taking a small box from the top of the pile.

Rich’s book was first in the stack of unwrapped gifts that began taking over the coffee table. A pair of earrings, three CDs, and a blouse had joined it when the phone rang.

“Delaney household.” I glanced up at my dad and saw a smile spread over his face at the response on the other end of the line. “Just a moment please,” he said mock-seriously before handing me the phone.


“Cyn! Happy birthday!”

“Rich, I wish you wouldn’t call me that.”

“Why not? You work in ‘Sin City’, and it—”

“It rhymes. Yes, I know.” I could practically hear the grin spreading across his face at his old joke.

“If you know, why do you bother to ask?”

“It’s nice to talk to you too, Rich.”

My parents just smiled indulgently as we traded sibling banter, though a frown developed on Dad’s face as he watched Mom smoothing out the wrapping paper I had torn off of the packages. He waited until I hung up the phone before exploding.

“Must you do that, Barb?”

“Reusing the wrapping paper saves trees, Carl. I’m not asking you to do it for me. But—” she held up her hand to forestall the comment we both knew was coming “—we can discuss that later. Today is Cynthia’s day.”

They exchanged a long look, then turned to me with nearly identical smiles. If they didn’t have this “discussion” every time presents were unwrapped, I’d have been worried. As it was, however, I just reached for the next box.

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