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When I Was Anna - 10

by Carlito

Hello! If you're just tuning in, it's marching band season and Summer (drumline) has a crush on Micah (drum major), but she's too anxious to talk to him or tell her friends about it. Summer learned about an app called Chat With Me (you can only talk to people at your school and the conversations can't be tracked). They've been talking (except Summer is pretending to be someone named Anna) and they've started to grow closer.

# signifies a scene break that will be a page break in the finished manuscript :)

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


Come Monday, I half wonder if Micah is going to choose to talk to me again. We had our usual Saturday rehearsal, but since he spends the majority of the rehearsal directing, there weren’t any opportunities for him to say anything else to me.

I spent the weekend wondering if I should attempt to talk to him in person, and what I might try to say if I did. I wondered if I could continue the May momentum and tell him she said thanks or that she’s going to try to come to one of our competitions or something. But then I wondered if the moment passed and by the time Monday rolled around he would’ve forgotten all about it.

I ultimately decide to stay the course and keep up with Chat With Me. He obviously knows I exist in the real world, which should be helpful whenever I do end up having to come clean.

I get down to the band room as soon as the dismissal bell rings. I want to take my time getting ready so Micah could ask me how May is liking Purdue so far or something. He probably won’t, but I want the opportunity to be there.

He walks into the band room, talking animatedly to Kaila. My stomach turns over.

I stopped worrying about the Kaila component in all of this because after they danced together at band camp, I didn’t see them interact all that much. But now I’m wondering if I need to re-think that. Micah and I had a few inconsequential chats over the weekend because I didn’t want to be too aggressive after our pivotal chat where we opened up alopecia and Crohn’s. But maybe I need to step it up.

I try to ignore them while I gather my things and prepare for rehearsal. We have about twenty minutes before we need to be on the field.

Kaila doesn’t say anything to me when she unlocks her locker and begins to take out her things, almost as if she knows we’re interested in the same person and she’s annoyed with me. I don’t say anything to her either.

I glance around the room and can’t figure out where Micah went, dashing my final glimmer of hope that he may say something to me again before we start rehearsal.

With nothing left for me to do in the band room, I find Bryn and walk out to the field early. The rest of the band slowly makes their way outside, but as we approach the 3:15 start time, Micah is still nowhere to be found.

Mr. Murphy arrives and we arc up for the warm-up and Micah still isn’t here. I look around the band, wondering if anyone else notices or if anyone else wonders where he is and why the drum major is late. Micah is never late. No one says anything, not even Mr. Murphy.

Today we’re going to work on the later half of the show as this is the newest, and therefore weakest, portion of the show. As we get set in the last dot of the second movement, Micah appears on the field.

He taps Mr. Murphy on the shoulder as he calls out “Set!” on the megaphone and everyone scatters to their spot. Micah whispers something in Mr. Murphy’s ear, and Mr. Murphy doesn’t look upset, which surprises me. I’ve seen enough people come late to know that Mr. Murphy usually gives them a stern lecture about the importance of timeliness.

Micah walks to the back of the field, and we begin. The afternoon sun beats down on the open field and sweat drips down my back within the first ten minutes. It doesn’t take long for my back and shoulders to ache under the weight of the heavy drum strapped to my body.

Mr. Murphy gives us water breaks every forty-five minutes or so because it’s so hot. We’re all supposed to bring out water bottles outside with us to prevent the time waster of people continuously going inside to get water, but we’re allowed to go inside to use the restroom or whatever if we’re fast.

Micah goes inside for every water break and doesn’t come back out until everyone is already back on the field and running the next section. Walter mans the back sideline until Micah gets back. Mr. Murphy doesn’t say anything about it. No one does.

I half expect Taylor to make some comment about efficiency and the responsibilities of a drum major, but even he stays quiet. Kaila doesn’t even seem worried, which strikes me as a little odd considering how chummy they’ve been recently.

I was going to try talking to Micah tonight anyway, and I want to ask him about it, but there’s no good way of doing that without him realizing who I am. The best I can do is hope he brings up whatever is going on with him today himself.

The final part of the rehearsal is always the hardest because right when we’re all ready to be done, we’ve been marching for almost three hours and we’re hot, and tired, and hungry, Mr. Murphy always says, “reset from the top!” into his megaphone.

We all try not to groan. This is the last thing we do, every rehearsal, before we can go home. Now that we have the entire show on the field, Mr. Murphy likes to build our stamina and endurance by making us run the entire show completely through at the end of every rehearsal. If we don’t give it our all, he makes us do it again.

By the time we hit the final note, I’m about ready to collapse. My entire body is sticky with sweat, my back hurts, and my arms are tired. No one moves or says a word, praying that this was good enough for today and we can all go home.

Mr. Murphy runs through his notes of what he wants to improve on, things that will be the focus of our rehearsal tomorrow. Then he says the magical word, “dismissed.”

Micah is the first one off the field and has already left the band room by the time I get there.


Welcome to Chat With Me!

Monday, 06:42PM - You’re chatting with: MICAH TURNER

Micah (06:42PM): I’m so tired x_x Just got home from rehearsal.

Anna (06:42PM): How was it?

Micah (06:43PM): Long. I didn’t feel well so it felt like it lasted forever.

Anna (06:43PM): Aww, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well!

Micah (06:44PM): I took some medicine and I’m laying down, so hopefully I’ll feel better soon.

Anna (06:44PM): That’s good! Do you want me to commiserate with you about not feeling well or do you want a distraction?

Micah (06:45PM): I’d love a distraction! What do you have?

Anna (06:46PM): I have a question… It’s probably something we should have established early on but…

Micah (06:47PM): Okay?

Anna (06:48PM): You mentioned before that your last girlfriend cheated on you. But do you have a girlfriend right now? (Not that it’s a problem or anything if you do! I just don’t want to step on toes or anything.)

Micah (06:49PM): Nope, no girlfriend. Do you have a boyfriend?

Anna (06:50PM): Nope! #foreversingle :p

Micah (06:51PM): You’ve never had a boyfriend?

Anna (06:52PM): I haven’t. I tend to get in my own way with that.

Micah (06:52PM): What do you mean?

Anna (06:53PM): Usually if I like someone I get so in my own head that I psyche myself out of talking to them or I’ll make myself think that they don’t like me back or would never like me back, and then I never really end up trying.

Micah (06:54PM): Do you like me?

Anna (06:55PM): I mean, from what I know about online…yeah you’re cool :p

Micah (06:56PM): So why haven’t you psyched yourself out of this?

Anna (06:57PM): I sort of have… Talking online is one thing. There’s a lot less pressure. Meeting you, I’ve psyched myself into thinking it will go disastrously or that you’ll hate me in real life or something.

Micah (06:57PM): And why would I hate you in real life?

Anna (06:59PM): I don’t know :p My brain tells me you might. Or that I’m going to really like you because of all of our online chats and that once we actually meet you’re not really going to like me.

Micah (07:00PM): Nothing you’ve said so far has made me think I’m not going to like you when we meet. Otherwise I wouldn’t still be talking to you. You should be more confident. I’m sure you’re great.

Anna (07:01PM): You sound like my sister :p

Micah (07:01PM): Your sister sounds smart.

Anna (07:03PM): I’m going to tell her you said that :) She’s always encouraging me to get out there and not be worried about other people and just be confident in who I am. She’s always been really outgoing. Sometimes its hard always being in that shadow. But I do wish I were more confident.

Anna (07:04PM): Do you think I’m crazy for randomly adding you on this app because I saw you at at football game and heard your name through the grapevine?

Micah (07:07PM): If I thought you were crazy, would I still be talking to you?

Anna (07:08PM): Fair point. But still.

Micah (07:09PM): Well like I said at the beginning, I thought it was a little strange because I mostly use this app to talk to my in real life friends or people I’m doing projects with our whatever. I’ve never used it to talk to a stranger before. But I guess you make me want to keep talking to you. I don’t know. I want to figure out who you are.

Anna (07:12PM): Do you think it’s possible to like someone purely based on online communications rather than in person communication?

Micah (07:14PM): I feel like you get a better sense of who someone is in person than online, but I do think it’s possible to connect with someone purely online. I mean, you hear about online relationships where they’ve never met in person all the time. I don’t fully understand it, but it happens.

Anna (07:17PM): Do you think it’s weird when people meet online rather than in person?

Micah (07:18PM): I don’t know. It depends. I mean, I’ve met people through online gaming or whatever. I’m not as close to them as say my band friends, but I still enjoy talking to them when we’re online at the same time.

Anna (07:19PM): Yeah, I’m on a few message boards for other people with alopecia. I’ve become friendly with some of them we talk on a pretty regular basis, but I’ve never actually met them. I think in some ways it would be weird to meet them. Like it’s crossing some kind of barrier. I have my in real life friends and my online friends.

Micah (07:19PM): Yeah totally. I would meet them if I had the opportunity, but I’d also be happy with just keeping them online.

Anna (07:21PM): So what are we?

Micah (07:22PM): What do you mean?

Anna (07:24PM): Are we just online friends or is this different?

Micah (07:25PM): We go to the same school. I think it could be different.

Anna (07:25PM): If I can wrap my head around meeting you that is :p

Micah (07:26PM): Haha exactly.

Anna (07:26PM): No pressure :p

Micah (07:28PM): But think of the possibilities if we were to meet! You could come to football games and see the show… We could see each other in the halls… I could ask you on a date so we could actually get to know one another…

Anna (07:29PM): Oh boy. *blushes and buries herself in awkwardness because I’ve never been on a date and what would I even do* :p

Micah (07:30PM): Haha :p I would happily take you on your first date! People always freak out about first dates but they’re really no pressure at all. All you have to do is get to know one another and try to have fun and figure out if you want to go on a date again. You don’t have to decide if you’re going to marry the person.

Micah (07:30PM): But I also won’t force you to go on a date with me if you don’t want to :p

Anna (07:31PM): Would we have to call it a date? I still think dates are too much pressure. Could it be a casual hang or something? (Assuming of course I even want to go on a date with you :p)

Micah (07:32PM): Haha we can call it whatever you want!

Anna (07:32PM): Okay fine.

Micah (07:33PM): Okay fine we’re doing this? Where should we meet? :p

Anna (07:33PM): *panics* :p

Micah (07:34PM): I was kidding. Whenever we end up meeting, I’ll ask you on a date or a casual hang or whatever you want to call it so we can actually get to know one another. Deal?

Anna (07:35PM): Deal.

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452 Reviews

Points: 18918
Reviews: 452

Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:42 am
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Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey there Carli! Tuck stopping by for another review. Let's get right into it!

Starting off with a minor note, the little asterisks felt out of character for Summer. It felt a little bit more risque and contrasted with her usual shy, reserved self. It also contrasts with her typical texting style and just felt a little off from what I had grown to expect from Summer.

I also thought that the interaction between Micah and Summer was really strong here. Things moved pretty quickly, but their chemistry and talking patterns seemed consistent with past chapters. My one critique of that section is that Summer seemed a little more confident than usual, taking some risks and asking some daring questions, even going so far as to ask Micah if he had a crush on her. It was a nice change of pace, albeit a little bit unexpected and contrasting a little with the character that's been developed thus far. I think you could tame it a little bit, maybe smooth it a little more, if that makes any sense at all, so that it doesn't seem like it's completely out of left field.

I did think that Summer seemed much more chill with the idea of a meetup and even a potential date. I think it would have eased the reader into the transition if you had included some scenes where Summer sets her phone down, or blushes in real life, or has some hesitation before sending a message. That way you still get the plot advancement while not completely abandoning the character arc you've worked so hard to craft over the past few chapters.

Overall I really liked the movement and development in this chapter and thought it was well done overall, as per usual! I'm really looking forward to reading more; this chapter especially has intrigued me because of the progressions. I hope my comments have been helpful to you, and if you have any questions, just let me know and I'd be happy to answer!



Carlito says...

PS - just noticed your avvie. 10/10. Love.

And I'm so glad that you feel the chemistry and like the progression so far! Love all of your thoughts as always <3

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416 Reviews

Points: 7116
Reviews: 416

Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:27 pm
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Liberty wrote a review...

Hey Carli! (Are you fine with that nickname?? I've been calling you that for so long and I haven't even asked... *-*)

Hope you're doing well. Yup, I'm here for a review! Let's get started, now shall weee? Yes, we shall!

Alright. So. SUMMER. I really wonder how she's going to get out of this one. Is she gonna panic and then think up an excuse and say: no, man, I can't come!

I'm freaking out... What if Micah thinks she's too weird when they meet? Weird because she lied. Weird because she made up a fricking name just to chat with her crush. Like, COME ON. [s]Summer, have you written your Will yet?[/i]

Anyways, I like that little part where they're like "we don't have to call it a date". It's adorable. And how Summer like " *panics* ". Lol, I dunno why, but I always do love that part. ;)

Okay, so I'm done with my commentary and my review in general. If you have any questions, of course, feel free to ask. I'm onto the next chapter!! This was an amazing one.

And as always...

Keep on writing!


Carlito says...

Thank you Liberty!! I'm glad you're still enjoying the story :)
And Carli is just fine! (it's actually super close to my irl name so...)

Liberty says...

Your welcome!! (: (:

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1190 Reviews

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Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:06 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...

Oy vey. Summer Summer Summer.

Wondering how she's going to get out of this one. The first thing that came up for me in this chapter is that if I were Micah, I'd be kind of weirded out if there was someone who I was talking to who was so apprehensive about meeting me in person. Then again I'm not a seventeen year old boy, but who knows. This reminded me of a scene in Ordinary People where the main character, Conrad, is asking out the girl he likes, Jeanine. He gives her the "We don't have to call it a date" spiel but Jeanine doesn't agree until he mans up enough to actually ask her on a date. I feel like Summer is the Conrad in this scenario.

Summer is just so beautifully flawed. I'd also be interested to see more of how Micah is feeling in this. He seems apprehensive about this online relationship, I'm curious to see how it's all going to implode later on.

Still holding out for the end where this is an episode of Catfish

Can't wait for more! Keep up the great work.

Carlito says...

I cackled at your first line :p She really is just making this so difficult on herself...

Thank you again for all of your notes <3
I watched that episode you recommended and it was a good one!! Super complicated! But, I was glad that it wasn't too close of a parallel of what's to come ;)

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
— Mark Twain