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When I Was Anna - 3.1

by Carlito

If you're just tuning in: 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. Summer confided in her sister, May, who encouraged her to try and talk to him before she leaves for college.

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


I psyched myself up all weekend to talk to Micah on the first day of school, but when the day arrives I feel mildly nauseous. May helped me pick out my first day of school outfit last night - purple floral short sleeve dress and tan sandals. We’re not marching today, so I can afford to put a little more effort into my appearance. Micah saw me in t-shirts and athletic shorts all summer, and I’m hoping this will be a new, good impression.

I check my wig about ten times to make sure it’s securely fastened to my head and that’s it’s positioned correctly. I know it looks natural, and no one at this school has ever said anything about it looking suspicious, but every year I worry that this will be the year everyone finds out. I know wearing a wig isn’t the worst thing, but if people find out it comes with questions, and attention, and people thinking I’m contagious, and I don’t need that.

My dad drives me to school and drops me off outside the band room. Technically, I could drive myself to school because I got my license over the summer, but May is taking our spare car with her to Purdue.

I start my day off with band, and I’ve already decided I’m not going to try and talk with Micah first period. If it doesn’t go well, I don’t want that to ruin the rest of my day.

The band room is already filling up when I slink in. Taylor is warming up on his drum in the back of the room. No surprise there, I’m sure he got here a half hour early.

I don’t spot any of my friends or Micah just yet so I put my stuff down at my band locker along the far back wall. None of us bother to put our stuff in our regular locker because it’s way more convenient to use the lockers where we store our instruments and music. I’m not even sure I could find my regular locker.

Kaila walks up beside me and says, “Hey girl! What’s new?” Her locker is two away from mine. She’s wearing jean shorts and a flowy blue top, her makeup is all done, and she looks 10x better than I do.

“Oh you know,” I shrug. Just trying to muster up the courage to talk to the person you so effortless hung out with at band camp.

“I hate that summer goes by so fast. I can’t believe we’re already back in school!”

I nod.

“And a year from now we’ll be seniors! Crazy!” She says as she collects all of her equipment.

“Crazy,” I parrot.

She and I set up our drums on stands in the back of the room near Taylor. During the band hour we practice our music, and then after school we rehearse on the field for three hours. Wednesdays are our days off, and Friday’s we don’t rehearse if we have a football game. On Saturdays we either do another three hour rehearsal or a competition. It’s a great time of year.

Camilla finds me as I set up my music on the stand.

“Cute dress!” She exclaims.

“Thanks, you too!” She’s wearing a white cotton dress and a jean jacket. She always looks effortlessly cute.

“Coffee shop after school? Katya already texted back yes, and I haven’t been able to ask Bryn yet. We haven’t been able to hang out since camp and I have Fernando updates!”

Since it’s the first day of school and we just finished band camp a few days ago, our directors are allowing us the afternoon off.

“Yeah, I’ll be there.”

Bryn comes in the door and Camilla skips off to invite her. I warm up on my drum and ignore Kaila warming up beside me. She almost immediately starts to play something she must be working on with her private instructor and I wonder if she’s trying to psyche me out or something.

The first bell rings and Micah still hasn’t arrived. I try to focus on my warm-up and not stare at the door. Surely he won’t be late on the first day. He’s a drum major.

But sure enough, by the time the final bell rings and Mr. Murphy steps on the podium to direct each of the section leaders to report whether or not anyone in their section is missing, Micah still isn’t here. I glance at Kaila to see if she looks concerned or not, but she’s casually putting her music away and doesn’t seem to notice that he’s not here.

Halfway through the section leader’s reporting attendance, Micah comes in and whispers something in Mr. Murphy’s ear before taking his spot beside Walter and Stella. Mr. Murphy doesn’t even look mad, which surprises me because everyone knows that attendance policy. Early is on time, on time is late, and late is dead.

Taylor leads us into the hallway for our section warm-up while the band warms up in the band room. The hallway is a terrible place to warm-up because the sound reverberates around us and it’s impossible to hear, but we pound out rhythms anyway. I’m sure I’ll have hearing damage by the time I graduate high school.

We file back in once the band finishes their collective warm-up. Stella takes her place front and center, Walter stands to her right in front of the pit, and Micah stands to her left. The band stands in two large arcs with the woodwinds in the inner arc and the brass on the outside. The drumline stands in the back, center right, positioning us on Micah’s side.

As we move through our rehearsal and I’m forced to watch Micah as he keeps our side of the room on time with the music, the more nervous I become with the prospect of talking to him sometime today. What on Earth am I going to say? Everything I rehearse in my mind just sounds dumb. I don’t know if we have anything in common other than marching band. I think talking about marching band or our show would be lame, but I can’t think of any other rousing conversation topics.

I know I’m overthinking and May would tell me to stop and not think about it, but that’s easier said than done.

When Mr. Murphy dismisses us approximately twenty seconds before the bell rings to put our things away, I deposit my drum and music in my locker, grab my backpack, and meet my friends at the door so we can all walk to our first class together. I lose track of Micah in the crowd, not that this would be a good time to talk to him anyway.

“My next class is literally on the other side of the school,” Camilla laments. “And Algebra 2! I mean God, what a way to start the day.”

The four of us join the herd going from the fine arts building to the main academic building. I actually don’t mind math. I took Algebra 2 last year and didn’t think it was too bad. I’m taking Pre-Calc this year and plan to take AP Calculus next year. I’m trying to get into a school with a great pre-med program.

“Honestly, it’s all about the teacher you get,” Bryn says rationally. “Like, Mr. Palmer is funny, and Mrs. Johanson is nice and explains everything in simple terms, and Mrs. Gibson has really hard tests.”

“Thank God I have Mr. Palmer!” Camilla says.

I had Mrs. Gibson last year and I didn’t mind her at all.

“I have AP French, wish me luck.” Bryn smiles when we reach the foreign language hallway. Bryn is a senior, so she’s already advanced to the top level of French.

“Yeah, time to see how much German I forgot over the summer,” Katya deadpans.

Camilla and I have Spanish together later.

The warning bell sounds as soon as they turn down the language hallway. Camilla power walks so she won’t be late to Algebra. I’m starting my day with AP US History, which isn’t my favorite. I’m hoping that Micah will be in at least one of my classes so I’ll have a casual excuse to talk to him.

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442 Reviews

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Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:04 pm
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Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey again Carli! I have consumed avocado toast, and avocadoes contain monsaturated fatty acids that are linked to higher cognitive function, so theoretically I should be smarter now and better able to review! Anyway, let's jump right into it!

I think you nailed the high school atmosphere—trying to look good for your first day, getting set up in lockers, looking around for your friends and making plans to hang out after school. It all felt very natural and casual. No interactions felt forced, and I think you settled into a good flow here.

Also, whoa, I had no idea band was that intense. I always pictured it as more of a one weekday and one Saturday commitment, although I guess if you were really trying to get good it would make sense to have to practice so much. Google is making it seem like two hours a week twice a week is standard-ish, so I would double-check that, since I'm not sure if you're pulling from research, personal experience, or talking to friends. It definitely seems to be on the more intense side.

I would also love to see Summer be a little bit more nervous, especially if you can make that come across in her actions. Today's a big day for her: first day of junior year, year she's going to finally talk to her crush, the year where she's putting a lot of pressure to do well in band to move up to section leader. I think it would be totally natural for her to fumble with her locker a little bit, tap her leg nervously, or constantly fidget with the hem of her dress, especially when she sees or is around Micah.

That's all I can think of at the moment! Let me know if you have any questions, and I'd be happy to answer them! I can't wait to read more!

All my best,

Carlito says...

Thank you again for all of your comments!! <3
Like we established in my old piece you reviewed, it's been a minute since I was in high school so I'm glad I don't sound too old :p
My high school marching band practiced daily during the band hour and we had a three hour Monday night rehearsal and then we'd practice most of the day on Saturdays (and if we were competing we'd practice before or in-between competitions). I sort of imagined the high school in this story as a mix of where I went to high school combined with the high school near where I live now/where boy went. And THAT high school practices like Summer does based on the schedule I found online O.o

Tuckster says...

oh man that's crazy intense. I thought I had it rough with robotics xD. I guess it depends on the school, then. According to my (admittedly, limited) google searching, some schools only practice a couple hours a week total, which definitely seems on the lighter end, but this seems on the higher end. Your call, just wanted to make you aware.

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Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:30 am
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PrincessInk wrote a review...

Ok ooh! So this is the first day of school.

I really liked the high school atmosphere here, the lockers, everything. I enjoyed hearing the girls chatter about school classes too! And it's nice to see that Summer doesn't mind math. I actually really enjoy math and it always makes me feel a bit ugh that many YA contemporary characters HATE it. And AP US History - good luck for Camilla! I took it last academic year and it was a struggle :P

At least, now, Kaila doesn't seem like a really bad person. She's pretty friendly to Summer and while I totally get that Summer resents her for dancing with Micah, it's not she and Micah are dating or something - I wonder if she's even aware that Summer likes him. I'm honestly hoping that Summer will get over her bias and become friends with her because I think I mentioned it before but I don't care very much for girl hate.

I'm super interested as to how Micah got excused for being late. He must have had some very good reason...I should read on to later chapters and see what happens! Also I predict that someday Summer's wig will be revealed to the whole school and I'm so nervous as to when that happens! Ahhhh.

I basically have no critiques here but that's because I'm LOVING it, and I must say that I'll definitely keep going! Hope my predictions/reader thoughts will help you :)


Carlito says...

Oh I love predictions and reactions and reader thoughts!! Thank you so much <3

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Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:41 pm
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Liberty wrote a review...


I am back! Hope you're doing well today or tonight, depending on what side of the world you are on, obviously. Let's start with the review, now, shall we?

Alright, so, not much really happened in this chapter except for the part where Micah was late. Wonder why...? Anyways, I'm glad to see that Summer is kinda bringing up the courage to go talk to Micah. To be honest, I don't see why she's so shy. I'd go right up and start talking. Or maybe that's just me. Probably.

She’s wearing jean shorts and a flowy blue top, her makeup is all done, and she looks 10x better than I do.

Cuuuuuteee outfiiit! Also, instead of writing "10x", I'd probably write "ten times". (:

Early is on time, on time is late, and late is dead.

LOL. I love that rule. xD

I’m sure I’ll have hearing damage by the time I graduate high school.

Oh no. That sucks. Lol. But I like the way she's telling us that "this is how loud it is".

Anyways, great chapter. Going towards the next part of this chapter...!

I loved reading this. Hope my review helped in one way or the other. Of course, if you've got any questions, feel free to ask.

And as always...

Keep on writing!


Carlito says...

Thank you for the review!! :)
Haha my band directors truly had that as a motto - to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be dead. We never dared show up late :p

Liberty says...

Anytime! LOL. XD

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Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:39 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...

Hey again Carlito!

Like EternalRain said, I didn't feel like a lot happened in this chapter, so this review will probably be short.

The one thing I really liked is that Kalia is friendly with Summer. I'm reminded of this girl who was dating this guy I had a crush on in college that still likes every single one of my instagram posts and was always really nice to me in person. The point that I'm trying to make is that it's refreshing to see women interested in the same man interact in a way that isn't confrontational. In Kalia's version of the story, Micah is a guy that she really likes, and she's probably hoping that he didn't have anyone else that he was interested in.

I'll echo the comment that I made in the first chapter that I want to see a little bit more distinction in the personalities of the friends, as they're all sort of blending together right now. Do they each have a trait that we can identify them by, a way that they talk or act or respond to things differently? Think of Mean Girls. The four central girls all have very distinct character traits. Before I Fall is another great book in that vein.

Great job, and I can't wait to read more. Feel free to reach out with questions!


Carlito says...

Thank you again!!
There will be a twist involving Kaila later on, but I won't give any spoilers ;)

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Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:17 am
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EternalRain wrote a review...

Hey Carlito!

This will probably be a shorter review because I feel like not much happened in this half of the chapter - I'm guessing more is going to go down in part 2, but I'll just have to wait and see.

Anyway! I like the little exchange between Kaila and Summer, and Summer's anxious notations of Kaila's mannerisms about whether or not she's noticed if Micah has arrived. I also liked the little conversation Summer had with her friends - it was funny and realistic.

I also really enjoyed the short wig section at the beginning - I myself don't have a wig but definitely could feel for Summer her anxiety for making sure it looks alright.

And speaking of the wig scene, it reminded me of her relationship with Bryn. I really want to know why they are so tight - why does Bryn know about her wig but no one else does? We're also given the info that she's a senior which makes me extra curious about how they got to be so close. Or maybe they've just been close friends for a while, I don't know haha.

One notice I have came from the line when Summer says she doesn't even know if they have anything in common or not, which struck out a bit to me. Summer has had her crush on Micah for a little now, and (it definitely could be different for everyone) but in my experience, I don't really get attached to people from a distance - it's more from my interactions with them. I'm not an expert when it comes to love/crushes stuff though, lolol, but I would thought I'd comment on it anyway.

That's all I have to say for this part! Ready to read part 2 :)

~ EternalRain

Carlito says...

Thank you again for all of the notes!! <3
You're right, more happens in the 2nd segment :) I just didn't want to post a 3000 word monster chapter and this was the only good place to splice it :p

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
— H. Jackson Brown