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When I Was Anna - 2

by Carlito


If you didn't read chapter 1: Summer just finished band camp and is on the drumline. She has a crush on Micah, a drum major, but she's too anxious to talk to him or tell her friends about it. Summer saw her drumline rival, Kaila, dancing with Micah at the band camp dance.

This is draft 2, and I'm more interested in big picture comments than sentence level/grammar comments. Thanks for reading! <3

_________________________

When I arrive home in the morning, all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep. My muscles ache from all of the hours of lugging around my snare drum and marching around the field, and those band camp bunk-beds in a room with ten other people aren’t the most conducive to sleep.

But my sister May, who was our section leader last year and who will be starting at Purdue University soon, interrupts.

“Tell me about it!” She flops on my bed before I can escape under the covers. “How much drill do you have down? Did Taylor come up with a new drum cadence yet? How is he holding up so far?”

I put my hands over my ears. “Stop. Too many questions!”

“I miss it! Fill me in.”

“You’ll be back on the field in a few weeks, May.”

“That’s not guaranteed.”

She’s moving into college a little early so she can audition for the Black and Gold Marching Band. It’s not unheard of for freshman to make the cut, but competition on the drumline is always stiff.

“You were the best drummer at our school for the last two years,” I say matter-of-fact.

“Okay, but when I go up there I’ll be starting over at the bottom again and I’ll be with a whole group of people who were also the best at their high school. Don’t make me think about it yet. Tell me about camp.”

I sigh, conceding defeat. “We have the first movement on the field and it’s decent as of right now. We started the second movement, but it’s still pretty rough around the edges.”

She nods her head, willing me to go on and fill in every last little detail.

“Taylor hasn’t had time to start experimenting with new cadences yet, so we’re still using the one you made last year.”

May smiles. I remember how long it took her to perfect that cadence last year, so I like that we’re still using it. I’ve always looked up to her.

“Taylor is a little obnoxious, but he’s doing a good job so far.”

“I can only imagine.” She laughs.

“He had us wear matching outfits, May. Matching outfits.

She rolls with laughter.

“He basically told us what to pack and gave us a breakdown for each day like Monday: white t-shirt, black shorts. Tuesday: grey t-shirt, blue shorts. And so on. He even designed matching t-shirts for us to wear on the last day.” The matching shirts he designed could be worse though. At least he chose a clever design.

May catches her breath long enough to ask, “Has he made you run drills yet?”

“Yes,” I grimace and May rolls with laughter again. “He always made us show up to rehearsal half an hour early so we could run around the field or crab walk down the field to ‘warm up’. It was terrible.” Nothing like being exhausted before the rehearsal even begins.

“That’s partially my fault.”

“How? I don’t remember you suggesting that last year.”

“I told Taylor I was considering it, so he must have felt inspired.” She can’t hide her shit-eating grin.

I try to shove her off the bed. “You’re the worst. I’m blaming the amount of pain I’m in on you alone.”

“You’ll thank me later this season. It’s all about the endurance my dear sister.”

I bury my head under a pillow. I don’t care about endurance right now. I care about sleeping. “Well, thanks for the chat, but I’m going to nap for about a hundred years.”

“No you’re not!” She rips the covers off of me and I curl into a protective ball. “Come practice with me!”

I groan. “I just spent eight hours practicing every day last week. I’m taking a day off. Isn’t Danielle here? Can’t she help you?”

Danielle is our younger sister and I know she’d be a poor substitute. She didn’t inherit the drumming gene and instead prefers dance and says she wants to be in the color guard. May and I try (and fail) not to care.

“She already left for a friend’s house and you know that she doesn’t even know what she’s listening for. All you have to do is listen to my audition.”

“I’m sure it’s great,” I say into my pillow.

She taps my back until I turn towards her. “Summer. Please. You’re the only one I trust to give me real feedback. Mom and Dad just say I sound wonderful and I’ll definitely and I don’t see my private instructor until Tuesday. Please listen?”

As tempting as it is to stay curled up in my protective ball in bed, I know this audition means a lot to her and she would do the same for me. So I drag myself upright and say “fine” as dramatic as possible.

“Thank you!” She leaps off of my bed and gives me a second to pull on my baggiest sweatshirt. My arms and legs are so cramped. I’ll need to do some yoga or something later.

I give my bed one more longing, loving glance before I go find May out in the garage. She has a practice pad set up on a stand and a lawn chair set out for me. I’m thankful she thought of that. I collapse into the chair as she warms up on the practice pad.

Once she’s ready to begin, she hands me her audition music without comment and takes up her position in front of the drum pad. I’m able to do a quick glance over the music before she starts. She flies through each piece and I struggle to find something she needs to improve upon. She maybe held a roll for a half second too long, or there may have been an attack that wasn’t quite as sharp as it could have been, but to my ears, it’s pretty darn good. Good enough to wow the drumline instructors at Purdue? One can only hope.

I tell her this and yet she still holds me hostage for nearly an hour, playing through challenging parts over and I’m told to decipher which versions sounds the cleanest. I scroll through Facebook while she plays in case there are any Micah and Kaila updates.

Even after all of the practicing, once May puts up her sticks and puts the drum pad away, she still declares that it’s probably not good enough and she shouldn’t expect to get in.

She and I settle in on the couch, and I wrap myself in a blanket of comfort. She flips through the TV channels and finds a mindless reality show we can kill a few hours with.

“So,” She turns to me during a commercial. “Junior year! Are you excited?”

“Sure,” I shrug. “I don’t know if I’m ready to get back into the grind though.”

“It’ll be a good year. You’ve got that independent study thing you’ll be able to put on your college applications next year. You’re going to have a great show. You’ll get back in the swing of things no problem.”

She waits for the next commercial break. “Anyone catch your eye at band camp this year?” She smiles like she’s already read my mind or something.

Damn you May. I shrug and avoid eye contact, but she sees right through it.

Her eyes light up. “You can’t even hide it so you better spill everything.”

I still can’t look at her. “There’s nothing to spill.” I glance over the back of the couch to make sure Danielle or mom or someone isn’t eavesdropping. May is just about the only person in the world I can trust with this information. “Nothing has happened, and nothing probably will happen because they’re not going to like me back.”

The show comes back, but she puts it on mute. Oh here we go.

“Now who says they’re not going to like you back?”

“May.” I stare at her, waiting for her to read between the lines. I don’t exactly have a line of suitors waiting.

“Will you tell me who it is?”

The name flies to the tip of my tongue, but I bite it back, unsure if I want to share yet. Saying the name out loud, admitting it to May, puts it out in the open and makes it real. Once it’s real, it’ll just be all the more embarrassing when it doesn’t work out.

“Do I know him?”

I nod.

“He’s in band?”

I nod again.

She claps her hands together. “Now we’re getting somewhere! Okay, brass?”

I shake my head.

“Woodwind?’

I shake.

“Percussion?”

Shake.

“Pit?”

Shake.

She pauses for a second and does the math. My cheeks grow hot because she’s about to figure it out.

When she arrives at the answer, her eyes bug out and her hand flies to her mouth. “Micah?” She screeches.

I tackle her backwards onto the couch and cover her mouth. “Geez May! Tell the house why don’t you?”

She wrestles away from me. “He’s cute!”

I know.

My face is flaming red. If she gives me any crap about this, I’m never telling her anything again.

“He’s definitely your type, too! This is perfect!” She beams.

My type? I don’t ask how she figures that one. I want to fade into the couch. This right here is the prime reason why I don’t talk about things like this with people. I don’t say anything, hoping she’ll get the hint and let this go.

No luck.

“Have you talked to him?” She asks. The golden question, and the chief problem besides the intrusion of Kaila.

I shake my head.

“Is there a reason why not?”

I shrug, but May’s expression tells me she’s not going to let me get away with that answer. “There hasn’t been a good opportunity?” I try, which isn’t entirely a lie.

She stares at me. “So you’re telling me that after two weeks of band camp, in which you were literally in the same place every day, and one of those weeks you were literally living in the same place, that there was not one singular opportunity for you to talk to him.”

She’s got me there.

“I know they work you guys hard and Taylor would have wanted you to stay focused on the job at hand, but come on.”

“What was I supposed to, march up to him in front of the entire band and strike up a casual conversation?” The thought of that alone makes me want to curl into the fetal position.

“No.” She lets out a long breath. “You talk to him, Sum. Just talk to him the same way you would any other human being. Don’t make it weird just because you like him.”

Which is so much easier said than done.

In theory, it’s fine, normal, whatever. I walk up to him, maybe say something about our show or band or something, keep it casual, easy, fine. What could possibly go wrong?

He might think I’m weird and wonder why I randomly came up to him to talk. My friends might notice and give me a round of questions even more embarrassing than what May just put me through. His friends might notice and ask him why I was talking to him, and what would he say? What would Kaila say? If Kaila knows that I like him too, that’s going to make her try harder, and what would I do about that?

But I could just talk to him. I could just buck up some courage and get over myself and do what May said and just talk to him like a human. How hard could it be? It’s just like Bryn, or Katya, or Camilla, the only difference is, it’s Micah. The drum major. The cutest guy in the band. The person that Kaila, and probably ten other girls have crushes on, too. No big deal.

“Before I leave for school, Summer,” May says. “That’s the goal. Talk to him. Say something simple like, hey excited for the show this year. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just talk to him, in person, before I leave for school.”

I stare at her.

“Will you promise me you’ll at least try?”

I can do that. I can try. It’ll probably all go wrong, and if it does May will fix it. But I owe it to myself to try. So I nod and say, “I’ll try.”


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Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:25 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...



Hey Carlito!

Back here for Chapter 2. I enjoyed reading this and seeing how the story progressed. I especially enjoyed seeing Summer interact with her sister. I think the key to making her a sympathetic character that the audience is going to identify with her. It shows that when she does catfish, she's not doing it with malicious intent, only that she's thinking of herself. I'm excited to see where the story ends up going.

A question for you: when does this take place? The internet has been around for about twenty years now, which is crazy to think about. You mention facebook, but that's been around for a while too. I remember when I was a kid it being especially cautioned that you never knew who was behind the computer screen. Obviously catfishing still happens, but I think the attitude is a bit different towards nowadays. I guess what I'm trying to get at is whether Summer will decide to catfish without knowing precisely what she's doing and that this a thing that people do. A quick google search tells me catfish as a term was coined in 2010. I think the version of this story that takes place in 2005 is different from the version that takes place in 2019, and I'd like to see more of a sense of time and place.

As far as this specific chapter, I think it's well written. There's not a lot that happens, and I think the plot could get going a little bit sooner. I'm almost wondering if you could have Summer try to talk to him and get blown off while still developing the relationship with her sister. I'm not sure where this takes place, but I'm getting a small town vibe from it. If it's anything like the small town I grew up in, say they're eating ice cream at the local shop. They're having the exact same conversation, and then May stops suddenly and Summer realizes it's because Micah is there. Just an idea, though.

A small technical note. I noticed a lot of telling in the narration. This the example that stood out to me.

But my sister May, who was our section leader last year and who will be starting at Purdue University soon, interrupts.


If Summer's narrating the story, she already knows that May is her sister and that she's starting at Purdue, so she doesn't need to tell us that she's her sister. I think we can probably gather that they're siblings, even if one of them mentions mom or not. This is something I've had to work a lot on when I write in first person.

But let me know if you have any questions! I enjoyed this story and can't wait to read the next few parts.




Carlito says...


Thank you again! Great notes :)
Thank you for pointing out the telling at the end because I know that has been a problem in previous stories of mine!



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Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:46 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...



Hii!

I like how we get a little look at Summer's relationship with her sister. It feels like a pretty classic sisterly relationship - a bit of teasing, a bit of support. I really like that! I'm guessing May might still hang around a little until her school starts, so I'm wondering if we'll get more of this relationship down the line.

One thought that occurred to me was how many people there are at band camp/in their marching band. It feels both simultaneously like a lot, but also not too much - it seems like everyone knows everyone (and Micah at least sort of knows her). It's hard for me to picture if it's like... 30 people or ? Not so sure but that was a thought I was thinking of when it came to Summer liking Micah/feeling recognized. Also, was band camp only for their school? Probably would have been a better question to ask last chapter, but alas. :p

I think when we see Summer trying to hype herself up about talking to Micah, we could get a little more of the why she wants to do it. It's very focused on her worries - which I do think is really important too - but maybe some more thinking on what could happen/imaginative thinking... "But I owe it to myself to try" --> something developing off of that - why does she owe it to herself? That kind of thing.

Besides those two small comments, I'm really liking this so far. :) If I were Summer "trying" would be quite the empty promise hehe... I have a feeling she's going to cop out (based on the whole catfishing premise). We shall see!

~ EternalRain




Carlito says...


Thank you again for all of the notes!! I really appreciate it <3

I made a list of every single person in the band when I was doing draft 1. I think there are about 113, which includes the drum majors, wind players, drumline, pit, and color guard. I remember my high school band had 88 all together one year, but my school didn't march freshman at that time :)



EternalRain says...


Oh dang :0 Yeah, my school doesn%u2019t even have a marching band, so I just have absolutely no idea hahaha



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Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:44 am
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Zenith wrote a review...



Hey Carlito! Zenith here for a short review.
Well, since you asked for comments on the bigger Picture. I like it upto now. I mean the flow is good and you're not dragging the story. Summer is a relatable character. In this chapter, you have brought in May, she has the commanding but sweet big sister persona. And the ending is kind of hopeful as May has talked her little sis into atleast trying to talk to the guy she likes. It's a start and I suppose gradually Summer would become the confident person we all want her to be. I don't have much to criticize, but the story has only begun. If I feel you need to improve on anything in the further chapters, I will definitely let you know. Keep up with it and I'm definitely wondering who Anna is.
Happy Writing!!




Carlito says...


Hey Zenith! Thanks for the review! I'm glad you like it so far :)
Let me know if you'd like me to tag you in future chapters (no pressure if you'd rather not).



Zenith says...


Oh yeah sure! Feel free to tag me.




I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts.
— Orson Welles