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When I Was Anna - 13.2

by Carlito

Hello! If you're just tuning in or need a refresher, 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. Summer is becoming more worried about their growing connection and how she's going to come clean. She's agreed to meet up with Micah after a marching band competition and she doesn't know how she's going to salvage the relationship after that point. She's going to tell her sister everything and ask for advice.

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


We park in a small lot and have to walk the rest of the way to the freshman dorms. I want to lie down and resist the urge to clutch my stomach as we walk.

“Welcome to my home away from home!” She declares when we reach the lobby. It doesn’t even make me sad.

We take the elevator to the fourth floor, and she leads me through a maze of hallways to room 411. The door has name placards in the shape of flip flops, one for May, one for a girl named Casey.

“Our RA makes these for us,” She says pointing to the placards. “Aren’t they cute?”

I nod, my mouth is still filled with cotton.

She lets us in, and Casey is no where to be found. The room is smaller than I expected it to be. There are two beds raised as lofts. Underneath May’s is the green futon she wanted to bring and her desk is shoved at the foot of her bed. Casey put her desk under her bed, as well as her dresser with a small TV sitting on top.

May settles onto the futon and I sit down next to her. Usually when I have a stomach ache this bad, the only thing that helps is lying on my back and waiting for it to get better. I’m so tempted to stretch out on this futon, but I know if I do I’ll never get up again, so I settle for sitting beside her.

“So what’s going on?” May asks.

Where to even start? I grab a throw blanket off of the floor and drape it over my legs. “A lot has happened since you left.”

“Well let’s figure it out. Start from the top.”

I rub my stomach, hoping that will help even though I already know it won’t. “I made a mistake, May.”

“What kind of mistake?”

“I need you to promise not to judge me.”

She gives me a look of concern.

“Just promise, okay?”

“I promise. What’s going on?”

I take a deep breath, trying to calm my stomach and my nerves and clear my head and everything. “When I told you I talked to Micah a few times after rehearsal, that wasn’t exactly the truth.”

“You didn’t talk to him? Summer, why would I judge you for that? I know I told you to put yourself out there, but it’s not that big of a deal. Don’t worry.”

“No, that’s not it. I have talked to him, just…” How do I explain this? “Hold on, let me back up. Just listen for a second, okay? Don’t say anything.”

She nods, but looks confused. I don’t blame her.

I let the whole story tumble out. “Okay, so I really did try to talk to him like you said. I said hi to him in the band room one day and he didn’t say anything back which messed with my head and made me so embarrassed. And then Camilla told me about this app she uses to talk to her boyfriend so her parents won’t find out. I decided to try it out and I figured out how to change my name so people wouldn’t know it was me, and I sent a request to Micah thinking he would never respond, but he did. We’ve been talking on this app for over a month now and I really, really like him May. And I think he likes me too and he wants to meet up but he thinks my name is Anna Blackwell, and I don’t know what to do.”

May stares at me, seemingly at a loss for words. “You weren’t kidding when you said you made a mistake,” She finally says.

“I told him I was a new student and that’s why the name wasn’t familiar and why he couldn’t find me in the yearbook. I only lied about little details so he wouldn’t figure it out. Otherwise I’ve been exactly myself, I swear. But we’ve had such good conversations.”


Tears start to burn at the corners of my eyes. “And he really wants to meet up and I don’t want to lie anymore. I’ve held off this long by telling him it makes me anxious, and he’s been so nice. But I told him we could meet after one of his marching band competitions, and I don’t know what to do.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about any of this sooner?”

“I tried a few weeks ago, but you didn’t answer. I don’t know, I thought I could handle this myself.”

She sits back on the futon. “Okay, let me think. We need to do some damage control.”

“He’s going to hate me forever.”

“We don’t know that! You might have a chance.”

“How? You’re just saying that to make me feel better. He thinks my name is Anna and I see him every single day at school. How can I possibly recover from that?”

And then, once the word gets out about what I’ve done and how crazy I am, that will all but seal the “un-dateable” deal.

“Okay, when you said you’ve had these great conversations, what exactly have you guys talked about? How serious is this?”

“I told him about my alopecia.”

She stares at me. “You told him.”

I nod.

“No one knows that about you.”

“I know.”

“What made you want to tell him?”

“Because I like him! And I needed him to understand why I get so anxious and why it’s hard for me to open up to people in person. And he totally got it! He’s been so nice and supportive, and he told me about how he has Crohn’s disease.”

She cuts me off. “You really like him.” She looks almost pained. Like I’m doomed.

I nod again, too worried that the tears will escape if I say it out loud.

She sighs. “I wish you had come to me sooner. If we had gotten on top of this early on, or hell, if I knew you wanted to talk to him on this weird app in the first place.”

Is she really mad at me for not confiding in her?

“You haven’t exactly been available,” I challenge.

“I know I’ve been busy, but I gave you my schedule and you know I always have time for you.”

“Do you though?”

Her forehead creases. “Why are you being dramatic? You know I do.”

“What I know is that I’ve tried calling your phone more times than I can count and the one time you could be bothered to answer you were too drunk to actually talk. So no, I don’t think you have time for me.” The words hurt coming out, but I promised myself I would tell her how I feel.

We sit in silence for a minute. My stomach still hurts. A lump is lodged in my throat. I’m surprised I’ve been able to hold in my tears this long.

“I’m sorry, Sum,” She picks at the skin around her thumbnail. “Settling into college has been harder than I thought it would be. I got here and it was just furious last minute practicing and camp and meeting everyone in band and auditioning. That whole first week was a complete whirlwind. And then I got in and that started another whirlwind. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the other members of the drumline, because you know how important it is for a section to jive. And there are so many people to meet and then there’s rehearsals and individual practice and classes and homework and having a social life and,”

“There’s just not enough time for me,” I finish for her.

“No! It’s not that.”

“No, I get it. It’s fine. You need to do college stuff.” It’s not fine, but I understand.

“Summer,” She takes one of my hands in hers. “I promise I’m going to be better, okay? I feel bad that I haven’t been there for you like you needed me. I’m going to be better.”

“Okay.” The lump lodged at the back of my throat makes speaking difficult.

“And I’m going to do some thinking about this Micah problem,” She says, letting go of my hand. “You’ve definitely gotten yourself into a weird situation, but I don’t think this has to be a lost cause. The fact that you’ve been real about the big stuff is going to help you.”

“He’s going to think I’m a total freak. He’s going to hate me.”

“Well, with that kind of attitude.” She smiles. “Seriously though, Sum, we’re going to figure this out. I’m sure he’ll be at least a little upset, but I’ll do some serious thinking about how we can do this with as few causalities as possible.”

“Should I keep talking to him like normal until we come up with a plan?”

She thinks for a second. “That’s up to you.”

“I don’t want to stop talking to him,” I admit.

“I figured as much. It feels weird to tell you to keep up the game though.”

“I know, but it would be weird to ghost him at this point without an explanation.”

“You’re right. Do whatever you feel you need to do and then we’ll figure out how to undo the damage.”


Telling May the truth lifted one rock off of my back, but despite her optimism that somehow all of this will work itself out, I can’t help but think that coming clean to Micah will mean the end of Micah and me. He’ll have every right, but it won’t make it hurt any less when he does. And if I were smarter, I would scale back, talk to him less, prepare myself for the day when he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. But I’m not prepared to give him up.

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416 Reviews

Points: 66168
Reviews: 416

Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:48 am
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Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey again Carli! Tuck back with another review.

I really liked the way you conveyed emotion throughout this piece and the way you guided us through Summer's emotions. It was clearly expressed what she was feeling at different places throughout the piece and, even better, you showed us instead of just telling us. The pace felt appropriate and even throughout, which was well done, and I felt like you gave us enough clues about location that I knew exactly what was going on and where throughout.

However, one area I thought you could improve is giving more physical clues about emotions. You have a tendency to use a lot of back-and-forth dialogue with no other information, and while there's nothing inherently wrong with that, I think it would strengthen the emotion that you're working so hard to convey in this story if you gave more physical clues or gave the reader some body language to work with. It would also engage more of the reader's senses, which would improve your description. Two for the price of one ;).

I also thought that May seemed unusually pessimistic. She was trying to encourage Summer, but she made it seem as if, at best, there was a chance that it could work. I would have thought she would be more optimistic and encouraging about the whole situation. I can see how this would help you make it clear to the reader that Summer is in deep water here, but it felt a little out of character for May. Just thought I'd point that out to you :)

Overall, this was a well-written chapter, and I look forward to reading more from you! If you have any questions about this review or if there's anything else you'd like me to focus on in my reviews, just let me know and I'd be happy to answer them!



Carlito says...

Thank you again!! (man I really got behind in responding to reviews. I feel bad!)

Super helpful thoughts and insights as always <3

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1140 Reviews

Points: 5339
Reviews: 1140

Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:35 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...

Hey Carlito!

I liked this chapter a lot. I liked that May and Summer had a heart to heart. As I read more of this story, there's a podcast I think you should listen to. However, I think it's just great general advice about story structure that's just as applicable to novels. I've listened to it a few times and it's really helped me think about how I structure things, especially in terms of how they relate to the main character and the journey that they undertake. I think you'll find it useful as it pertains to this.

Summer's growing from where she was at the beginning of the script, but she doesn't want to admit it yet. I'd like to see May and Summer's relationship survive and thrive by the end of this.

I'm certainly invested.


Carlito says...

Thank you so much as always <33 I'll definitely give it a listen!!

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325 Reviews

Points: 18805
Reviews: 325

Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:20 pm
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Liberty wrote a review...

Heyooo Carlitooo!

Hope you're doing well today or tonight, depending on what side of the world you're on, obviously. ;) I'm here to give you a review! Let's get started, now, shall we? Yes we shall. :smt023

Okie. So May and Summer talk. Now I feel bad for Summer, lol. <3 I wanna try and help, but like, I can't do nothin' but read, review, comment and wait for the next chapter.

The mood that you've set for this chapter feels absolutely right. It's so perfect and I could tell what May and Summer where thinking the entire time, ya know? Yeah. Anyways, just one mini thing I need to get out of moi system. (:

But I’m not prepared to give him up.


Yeeeeee! I'm so excited nowwww. I shall now move onto the next chapter because now I have finished my review. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me anytime and anywhere!

And as always...

Keep on writing!


Carlito says...

Thank you again for your comments <3

Liberty says...

Sure thing! ;)

Sometimes I'm terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts.
— Poe