Mission: I wanted to be able to capture a lot more than what I would blatantly say – typical of a shorter narrative. I wrote it from my ten-year-old perspective, but with an undertone of self-deprecation to show how I’ve changed or how I see my younger self. In short, I wanted to strike a balance of legitimizing my feelings then, but also highlight my responses as ridiculous. I had a hint of ridiculousness as a kid.
In need of Guinness
It’s no Go-Pro. More than a few pounds, it’s the size of a standard toolbox. Dad lugs it everywhere. It’s as traveled as I am. Across Cork County it sits in my lap while the rented Volvo steadily weaves through black and white stock. This was their road too. I think of them as my friends and if our eyes meet I keep theirs, not in competition but in effort to connect. I reach into the toolbox carrier to remember our friendship. No, no honey we need to save the battery for Uncle Seamus’s.
Ok. I roll my eyes in my head, which actually has been giving me a headache. I really should stop, giving myself a headache. We arrive. Would’ve taken twenty minutes in America. Dad’s become glad his parents immigrated. I love everything about Ireland. I don’t pay attention to the house or adults. Seven cousins foreign to both Matthew and I stand in a misshapen line. They’re obviously excited. I am too, but I prefer to seem uninterested at risk of seeming silly. The oldest, Genevieve, reaches for Matthew and Carmel gives her hand to me. I want Genevieve’s, but I’ve learned from experience that Matthew’s toe head and bright blue eyes are hard to pass up. I’m having a hard time talking. I’m paralyzed with excitement. I’ve been a leprechaun for the past three Halloweens. This is the day I meet my Irish cousins. This is the moment.
Katherine can you get the camera from the car please? I sprint to get it. I never misbehave. Carmel is really nice. She’s pudgy, I note immediately, but it’s ok because I think it’s just a matter of time before I gain. My face looks like I’m supposed to be fuller; I must be about to grow into it.
The oldest boy, Connor, explains this game, it’s called Ball. Connor was beautiful in ten-year-old eyes, his eyes, his smile… were both glued to Matthew’s antics. Like clockwork I roll my eyes and the onset of a headache is immediate. Ow!
What? Carmel’s heard. I said I’m excited for Ball! Matthew is circling the yard with a scary fake grimace on his face. It’s classic Matthew, makes adults laugh every time. I unnecessarily check to make sure the camera’s catching it. Honey, Katherine, can you get him to do the face again? I run over, clap my hands, smile, Matthew, scary face scary face, come on Matthew. Ten seconds of fame. I cringe at the resurgence of my dormant voice, probably as shocking yet relieving as my first birthing cry. My attempt is successful and he’s at it again. I watch his reckless five-year-old body entirely ignorant of the seven pairs of attentive adult eyes, five of them foreign. I wish I hadn’t noticed them. I can’t watch one more orbit. I’m staring at the occupied audience. I don’t get it. Your kids have accents. Your kids say the craic is grand. Your kids are Irish. I lose my cool. Let’s play Ball!!!
Reflection: Secretly, I like to write. Whether it be about myself or not, I prefer writing from a character’s perspective because I feel you can give a lot more to a story through developing a personality. A story is more interesting with a little bias I think. Thus being assigned a narrative was kind of exciting because it’s not often you can get genuine feedback on biased/superimposed/creative nonfiction when you’re a science major. I would love to continue writing like this, as it’s a great exercise in expressing oneself quickly yet thoroughly and noticing context clues that may not have been realized until later reflection.