There is something isolating about being someone no one knows anything about.
There is something freeing about it, too.
Because I don’t have to close my eyes and wait for sleep and hope that, by the grace of some watchful god, I am allowed to dream of being Kitt.
I can pick up a pen, and I become Kitt.
That night, I got home and sat in front of my computer, for hours.
I types frantically, and then deleted it all.
I typed slowly, and repeated the erasure.
And then, I typed nothing at all, and stared at the cursor, willing it to bring me words.
When that didn’t work, I pulled out paper and a pen, and scribbled fields of ink flowers until even those built to nothing.
I sat for hours, praying for something that never came, and decided that maybe I’d go to bed.
Kitt didn’t come to me from a pen today.
Maybe she’d visit again in a dream.
Pear and I stare at the families that we have written in the sand.
The waves don’t dare touch them.
The next day, I run in to work searching for Pearl.
Instead, I crash into Emilio.
Instead of a bump to the shoulder or a nick of his waist, I collide into him hard enough to knock us both down.
Boxes fly up into the air, and come crashing down, all of their contents crashing to the floor beside them. We both start apologizing before the wind that was knocked out of us returns.
We scramble to recover cups, straws, napkins, bags, cones. But all of them are crushed and crumpled, and now just in the way of the rest of the staff.
We start stuffing things back into boxes, hoping that maybe we’ll just tuck it away in the back room and blame it on the truck. But before we can even vocalize the plan, Christina comes out of her office and stops just before she gets the chance to slip.
“What the f-“
“It’s my fault.” Emilio’s voice sounds so chirpy in a panic.
“No it was-“
“I wasn’t watching where I was going and I guess Katherine was heading to clock-in and I crashed into her.” He looks at me, eyes nudging me harder than his elbows could. “Sorry.”
Christina’s eyes leave me instantly, her face softening in pity for the newbie.
“Uh..it…yeah. Yeah, no problem, it happens.” Thank God for Emilio.
“Well it’s fine. These things happen. Next time, let someone know you’re coming around the corner. Helps avoid it. Just, clean it up. Both of you.” Her smile drops when she looks to me.
“And clock in before you’re late, Cortez.” Chris whips around, her braid nearly slapping the both of us in face.
He looks at me and we laugh.
“Thank you, for that.” I grab straws by the handful and stuff them in the box he refolds.
“It’s no problem. I’m new, I’m supposed to be an issue.”
“Really. She hates me enough, without me costing us cups. She would’ve fired me on the spot.”
He laughs. “Yeah. I’ve noticed the tension. What’s up with it?” He stands up with me and takes the boxes back.
“I’d love to hear it.”
We smile for just a little bit longer.
“Kid?” Pearl peaks around her corner.
“Hey! I heard a crash, you okay?”
“Yeah, yeah. Just crashed into the new kid.”
“Only you,” she pokes. “You better clock in before Chris has a conniption. She’s on edge today.”
“We noticed,” Emilio and I chimed.
“Kid? Could you hurry up? Chris said you’re covering me today and I really have to pee.”
“Yea-yeah. Let me go and put my stuff away and all that. I’ll be back.”
“I’ll walk you.”
Pearl raises her eyebrows at me. “He’ll walk you.”
I swat her away and she rolls her head back behind the wall.
By some small grace, Chris schedules mine and Pearl’s break together today.
We run to her car to eat, and I have fifteen minutes to tell her about the dream before Chris comes looking.
“So, what does it mean?” Pearl eats her pretzel chips like a squirrel, nibbling away each bit in an anxious speed.
“I don’t know. But she knew them. For sure, she knew them. Not family, but almost.”
“What does that mean for the plot you had. I thought she wasn’t supposed to have any family besides her father’s best friend, and his daughter.”
“Yeah, well that was the plan.” I take a couple of her chips and shove them in my mouth. “But I think I’ve got to rewrite it now.”
“All of it.”
She looks at me with her mouth hanging open, her pretzel mush sitting on her tongue and her eyes all big. She looks like a toddler when she does that.
“All of it?”
“Please don’t leave your mouth open like that. It’s disgusting.” I move my hand to make her hinges close.
“But yes. All of it.” I take a few more and swallow them before I go on. “Well maybe not, all, but a good majority. I knew the story was missing something, and I know what it is, now. Found family.”
Pearl nods er head slightly, but I can tell she’s a bit confused.
“I was thinking that, instead of maybe just her family living on the island, a whole bunch of families did. Maybe the island brought them together and blessed them with witchcraft, or maybe they were all witches already, or had some magic of some sort, and they kept the island together. And when people went missing, and the mainland villages caught wind, they were all torn apart and the dark forces that they had been keeping at bay now run rampant on their home. And that’s the new plot. Still taking back their home and fighting back against dark and evil stuff, but-“
“Giving her a bigger family to fight it with.”
We take a few seconds to let our smiles grow, before we scream and squirm enough to shake the car.
“Kid, I’m so excited for you! You’re gonna write a book!”
“I’m gonna write a book!”
“But seriously. I want to talk about the Pear character. Why-“
The alarm for the end of our break goes off, and I burst out of the car door.
“Sorry, P! Time to get back!”
“KATHERINE! WE’RE GONNA TALK ABOUT IT AT SOME POINT!” She’s shouting from her car door, making no attempt to chase after me.
“ENJOY THE MOMENT, P! I’LL SEE YOU IN THERE,” I call over my shoulder.
I race back to the register before she gets a chance to say anything more. I pull out a receipt from the old box and start moving my pen against it.
I’m gonna write a book.