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When I Was Anna - 18

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 was too anxious to talk to him or tell her friends about it. She made a profile on Chat With Me (you can only talk to people at your school and the conversations can't be tracked) and they've been talking (except Summer is pretending to be someone named Anna). They grew close, Summer finally came clean, and Micah wasn't exactly thrilled...

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

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Group chat - Bryn, Camilla, Katya, Summer

Camilla: Holy shit Summer is it true????????

Summer: Is what true?

Camilla: You know what I’m talking about ;) ;)

Summer: I really don’t think I do….

Camilla: Micah!!!!!!!!!!!

Summer: What about Micah?

Camilla: I heard you were secretly talking to him????? SPILL.

Summer: What?? Who did you hear that from?

Camilla: Don’t play coy ;)

Summer: I’m not being coy. Who told you that?

Katya: Kaila.

Camilla: You heard to?????

Katya: Duh.

Summer: Can someone please explain what’s going on? I’m confused.

Camilla: Well it’s about you so don’t pretend you don’t know about it ;)

Summer: Well obviously I don’t.

Bryn: Leave her alone and just tell her what Kaila told you *rolls eyes*

Camilla: WELL. Last night after the competition I was hanging out with Fernando. We were about to start fooling around (ya know :p) but then I get a text from KAILA and she’s like MICAH just told ME that SUMMER has been messaging him for like OVER A MONTH but saying her name is ANNA and he just found out tonight. She wanted to know if I knew anything about it and I was like NO. But that’s all Kaila knew too I guess.

Summer: Kill me.

Camilla: SO IT’S TRUE?????

Camilla: IT’S SERIOUSLY TRUE????????

Camilla: Here everyone is judging me about FERNANDO and in the MEANTIME little Summer who doesn’t have a crush on ANYONE she SWEARS has been CATFISHING MICAH TURNER.

Camilla: I’M DYYYYYYING.

Katya: God Camilla.

Camilla: What????

Katya: You’re being annoying.

Camilla: HOW? I’m just speaking the truth. Something YOU GUYS obviously don’t know how to do.

Camilla: Hahahahaha this just made my weekend.

Bryn: Because your friend got hurt? I don’t get it.

Camilla: Micah has never really been my friend…

Katya: She was talking about Summer you idiot.

Camilla: Well Micah was the one who was LIED TO.

Katya: Give it a rest. You’re being really annoying.

Bryn: Yeah, I’m sure Summer feels bad. Lay off.

Camilla: I’m just saying what everyone is thinking :P

Katya: GIVE. IT. A. REST.

Katya: I’m literally about to start a new group chat without you because you’re so annoying.

Camilla: Do it then! See if I care.

Group chat - Bryn, Katya, Summer

Katya: Much better *rolls eyes*

Katya: For the record we’re here for you Sum!

Bryn: Yeah! I don’t really understand what happened here, but I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation :)

Summer: How many people know?

Katya: I don’t know. I heard it from Kaila too. She must have texted all three of us. No idea if she told anyone else though.

Summer: I’m dying of embarrassment right now. This is a nightmare.

Bryn: If you don’t mind me asking, what happened?

Summer: It’s a really long story and I don’t really want to get into it right now.

Katya: That’s okay. We, unlike some people, DON’T think it’s hysterical that this happened, and we’ve got your back.

Summer: Thank you <3

I’m dead. Like really dead.

This is beyond my wildest nightmare of what would happen after I told Micah the truth. He told someone. And that person told people. And who knows how many of those people told more people. The whole band will probably know by the time the day is up.

I have to go to school tomorrow.

What do I do? Do I transfer schools? Change my name? Erase all of my social media forever? Move across the country? The world? How can I possibly recover from this?

Everyone is going to know. Everyone is going to be talking about me, speculating why on Earth I was messaging Micah Turner in the first place, let alone by pretending my name is Anna Blackwell.

I’m going to be a laughingstock. Everyone is going to think I’m a total freak. They’re going to be looking at me. Whispering at me.

I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know how to do this.

What if he releases the messages I sent him? What if he takes screenshots and puts them on the internet for everyone to see and poke at and laugh about. Stupid, stupid Summer.

I need May so bad. She has yet to respond after I sent her that voicemail last night. But she’ll call. She has to call. I won’t go to school until she does. I can’t face this alone.

#

I only leave my room for meals and the bathroom. My mom comes in to check on me a few times and I just tell her I’m not feeling well, which will be a nice cover should I decide it won’t be possible for me to go to school tomorrow.

I avoid my phone, too afraid of what the damage may be and who might be talking and what they might be saying.

I’ve never been more embarrassed in my entire life. And while, sure, it’s great that Bryn and Katya are being supportive, how many more reactions like Camilla’s am I going to have to endure?

May finally calls in the afternoon after I’ve managed to choke down a PB&J for lunch.

I’m so surprised to see her name light up my phone screen, it takes three rings before I actually pick up my phone.

“May,” Is all I say. My voice is scratchy and weak from hardly using it so far today.

“What’s going on Summer? I just saw your message. I was out last night so I didn’t hear my phone ringing.”

As I expected.

For all this time I’ve been waiting for and anticipating her call, I don’t have the story prepared. How do I begin to explain the colossal nightmare of yesterday afternoon and the new level of horror from today?

“Well…I told him. After the competition yesterday. And his exact words were…don’t ever talk to me or message me again.” The lump bubbles up in my throat again.

“Oh Summer.”

I manage to tell her all the details. The look on his face. Is this a practical joke or something? Holy shit Summer is it true? This just made my weekend. I manage to tell her all of the details without crying. Maybe I’ve cried so much there’s nothing left in the tank.

When I finish, I’m numb. Like maybe this is still a nightmare or an out of body experience and it’s not actually happening to me and I’ll wake up soon and realize the competition hasn’t even happened yet.

“Okay.” May finally says. I can feel her brain whirring through the phone trying to figure out how I can possibly salvage myself after this. “Um…well…”

She has no idea what to do. I managed to screw up so badly that not even May, the fixer of all things, can fix it. Terrific. Maybe I really should look into moving to a different country.

“This is pretty bad,” She says. “No use dwelling on what happened or what ifs or what could have been done differently. We’re just going to move forward from here. Okay?”

“Okay.” Even though what she said implies that there are things I probably should have done differently.

“First of all, you need to apologize to Micah.”

“How? Did you miss the part where he said don’t ever talk to me or message me again?”

“I got that, but he said that out of anger. He was hurt and embarrassed, so he wanted to hurt you back. After the dust settles, you need to give him a sincere apology.”

“How?” I practically beg. “What do I even say?”

“Well, I would suggest an in person apology and saying something sincere, but I know that will be overwhelming for you,”

I cut her off. “I can’t do that. I’d probably get in front of him with all of these things I intended on saying and then end up being so overwhelmed that I either say nothing or say all of the wrong things.”

“Right. So, write him a letter or message him an apology for now. We’ll practice a real, in person apology later.”

“I have to do both?”

“Yes. The only sincere apology is an in person one.”

I know she’s right, but that doesn’t stop my stomach from writhing in terror.

“Okay, so I have to write an apology now, and then whenever he consents to speak to me give him an in person apology then.” I hope she doesn’t notice the panic in my voice.

“Perfect. Then, you have to explain the whole situation to your friends. Maybe not Camilla, I never really liked her to be honest, and it’s annoying that she didn’t take your side. But Bryn and Katya need to know your side of the story so they can back you up. You don’t want them to hear the rumor mill and form their own opinions and then not believe you.”

She’s right again. Just what I wanted to avoid doing in the first place. Cool.

My throat constricts thinking about all of these impossible things I’m going to have to do. There are so many things that could go wrong once I tell Bryn and Katya the whole story, I don’t even know where to begin.

“Got it?” May asks.

“Yes.” I groan.

“Like today. Or tomorrow. Don’t wait forever.”

My stomach responds with a twist and a stab of pain. “Okay.” She knows me too well. If I didn’t have a deadline, she knows I may never actually get around to doing it, even though I know I have to.

“Last thing,” She says. “You’re going to school tomorrow. I know you’re in bed right now pretending you’re sick so you can tell mom you don’t want to go to school, but you’re going to school. If you don’t, it’ll just make the rumor mill worse, and it’ll just make going back to school harder when you do.”

How does she do that? I peak out my window and check my closet to make sure she hasn’t secretly stashed herself in here.

“And when you go to school tomorrow, you’re going to walk with your head held high and you’re going to channel your inner me and be confident and strong.”

Channel my inner May? Maybe I won’t be able to go to school tomorrow if my stomach manages to chew a hole in itself before then.

“I know you’d much rather fade into the background and pretend you don’t exist. But not tomorrow. Not the rest of this week. You will hold your head high and you will fake it until you make it.”

“I don’t know how to do any of that,” I admit.

“Go stand in front of the mirror and practice. Put your shoulders back and hold your head high and smile. Go practice right now, I’ll wait.”

At first I assume she’s joking, but when five seconds pass and she hasn’t said anything else, I realize she’s serious. So I drag myself off of my bed and to the hallway bathroom.

The first thing I notice when I look in the mirror is that my hair needs to be washed and my face looks pale and lifeless. I’m hunched over from the pain stabbing my stomach, but I force my spine to straighten. I roll my shoulders back. I think about bunnies and force my mouth into a small smile.

“Did you do it?” May says. My phone is still clutched in my hand.

“Yes,” I rush back into my room and the safety of my bed.

“You can do this Summer. I know it feels like the end of the world right now, but I promise it’s not. This is survivable. It will all blow over. I promise. And until it does, don’t let it bring you down. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s okay. You’re okay.”

I’m about to cry again.

“Come to school with me tomorrow?”

She lets out a short laugh. “I wish I could. College is great and all, but sometimes I miss being at that school and in that band.”

“Well you’re always welcome back!”

She laughs again. “I appreciate the offer, but you can do this on your own, Summer. And if you feel stuck, just think about what I would do, and do that. Channel your inner May.”

“Will you keep your phone on stand-by in case I need some moral support?”

“Of course.”

“Thanks, May.”

“Anything for you, Sum.”

#

Welcome to Chat With Me!

Sunday, 07:42PM - You’re chatting with: MICAH TURNER.

Summer (07:42PM): I know you said you didn’t want me to talk to you or message you again, but I want you to know that I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you or embarrass you. I wasn’t trying to lie to you. I promise I was 100% myself. The only things I lied about were things that would reveal my identity. The only reason why I didn’t tell you the truth about who I am, was because I never imagined that someone like you could like someone like me.

Summer (07:48PM): I really do like you Micah. I know that you’ll probably never want to talk to me again, and I get that. But I just want you to know how sorry I am. I hope that someday you’ll be able to forgive me, and maybe someday we’ll be able to be friends, because I really did love talking to you. I’m sorry.


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Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:48 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...



Hey Carlito!

I enjoyed this chapter a lot, and the group chat between the friends. As I say every chapter, I'm excited to continue reading and eventually follow through the story to its end.

The main thing I noticed in this chapter that I'm going to challenge you on going forward is raising the stakes. One of the things that intrigued me about this story from the get go is its title. "When I Was Anna" suggests that this story is being told from the point of view of an older, wiser Summer. And yet, reading through this, I don't get that sense. It doesn't have to be obvious, but can occur in little, subtle ways. The best example I can think of is To Kill a Mockingbird. Jean Louise is telling this story from long ago, when she was a child, but it never really comes up other than the book being clearly told from the point of view of an adult.

While I enjoy and am invested in your characters, in reflecting on the story so far I don't feel like a lot has happened. I suppose the story isn't over it, but you're almost to the conclusion, and Summer hasn't really suffered in any real way from deceiving Micah. You hint that it's distracting her from her relationships with her friends and family but never really go all the way. I like that now the entire school knows but I'd want to find ways to heighten the conflict even more.

It's unclear as to whether or not Summer and Micah have any classes together. If they do, perhaps she could overhear him telling someone about this girl he's been talking to, or something like that, or it could even happen in band class. I haven't gotten the sense that she's facing any accountability for what she's done yet. It seems to me now like she's only sorry she got caught, and not because she actually feels bad for deceiving Micah. We'll see if that will change though.

See you at the next part!

Cheers,
Elinor




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Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:28 pm
Liberty wrote a review...



Heya Carli!

Hope you're well today or tonight, depending on what side of the world you're on, obviously. I'm here to give you a review for RevMo and to find out what happens now! Let's get started, now shall we?

ALRIGHT!

Camilla: Do it then! See if I care.

Group chat - Bryn, Katya, Summer

Katya: Much better *rolls eyes*


LOL! XD

I’m dead. Like really dead.


<33 I'm sorry you are, Sum.

I have to go to school tomorrow.

What do I do? Do I transfer schools? Change my name? Erase all of my social media forever? Move across the country? The world? How can I possibly recover from this?


NO. Stand up for yourself. Stay at that school and show 'em your strong self, Summer Rhodes! Do it! <(^-^<)

Whispering at me.


Whispering at you? Or whispering about you? I'm pretty sire the latter, but correct me if I'm wrong. :)

I managed to screw up so badly that not even May, the fixer of all things, can fix it. Terrific.


"The fixer of all things, can fix it" or "can't fix it"? <3

“Last thing,” She says. “You’re going to school tomorrow. I know you’re in bed right now pretending you’re sick so you can tell mom you don’t want to go to school, but you’re going to school. If you don’t, it’ll just make the rumor mill worse, and it’ll just make going back to school harder when you do.”


Aww...! This is so cute. Love you, MAY! (:

How does she do that? I peak out my window and check my closet to make sure she hasn’t secretly stashed herself in here.


XD That's what I was thinking, lol! ;)

“Well you’re always welcome back!”


Teehee. :P

“Anything for you, Sum.”


AWWWWE! <3

I loved everything that happened here! The emotions you have showed is amazingly awesome! This was a great chapter.

Alright, done with my review! Hope this helped, and I'm onto the next chapter. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me whenever.

And as always...

Keep on writing!

~Liberty





Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we're quoting.
— John Green