An INTERACTIVE story experience where YOUR comments affect future chapters.
• (Romance / Chick-Lit) •
“Do you mind if I join you?” Mark asks as I snap back to the present.
“Of course! Please do.”
“How long do you think it’s been since we saw each other last?” he asks while taking the seat across the table from me.
“Well, my family moved the summer after my 3rd-grade year, which would have been,” I pause to do some quick math in my head, “Oh my! Nearly twenty years ago!”
“And yet, even after all this time, you still hate that scar?”
“Yeah, well, I’m not sure if it’s the scar or the constant reminder of how I got it that I hate more. At least with most people, I can fudge the details about that day, but not with you. You know the embarrassing truth!”
Laughing, he responds, “The way I recall, you were pretty daring, even if you were just trying to show up us boys.”
“What was the show you guys were recreating? The one with all the weird names, like superhero names?”
“American Gladiator! I haven’t thought about that show in ages!”
Rolling my eyes, “My brother was obsessed. He would always steal the remote to watch it.”
“Because it was awesome,” Mark exclaims, defending my brother’s love of the show that I partially blame on my scar.
I remember that day vividly. I was sent by my mom to find my brother to call him to dinner. I hopped on my bike and headed down the street to our neighborhood park where I knew he often played. I rolled up to find Brent, Mark, and Jeff using the swing set as a ‘gauntlet’ just like they did on American Gladiators. They had also given each other names similar to the Gladiators – my brother was Tank, Mark was Spike, and I believe Jeff was Bomber. The three of them were taking turns with running the gauntlet and the other two would be responsible for pushing the empty swings so that every other one would swing opposite.
Before interrupting their play I sat and watched, entranced by the pendulum pattern of the eight swings going back and forth. Then I would watch as each one would run through while the others chanted their gladiator call name. All three of them masterfully succeeded at going through the gauntlet of swings without ever touching the swings – they made it look entirely too easy, so I had an idea.
“I can do that!” I exclaim.
Brent responded way too quickly, “No you can’t!”
I was used to hearing comments like that from my older brother, but I’m also very stubborn. I love proving him wrong, too, so I replied, “Not only can I do that, but I can do it better!”
“How?” Brent retorts.
“By doing it on my bike!”
I see all their eyes widen in their heads as my brother gets an evil smile on his face, “Okay then, let’s see it,” he says tauntingly.
I approached the obstacle and they all get the swings going. I start reading the pattern, getting a sense of how fast I need to go to not hit the swings or get hit by them. Before I even get moving Brent starts jeering me, which only fires me up more. I take one final assessment before pushing my feet off the ground with enough force to lurch my bike forward. I get to pedaling as fast as I can as pass the first swing and with a rush of confidence, start going faster. I kept clearing the swings and as I approached the final swing I don’t notice the seventh swing come back down and loop onto the edge of my bike seat.
My bike is pulled to the ground while I twist my body to try to regain some semblance of balance, but it was too late. I land, shoulder first on top of the chain wheel. It tears through my shirt and my skin as I let out a holler. Mark starts grabbing swings to get them to stop moving and Jeff rush over to help me up. I remember one of them yells to my brother to get the bike as they all walk me home. I’m bawling my eyes out, covered in playground mulch, blood, and chain grease.
My mom’s dinner wasn’t eaten that night; instead, we got fast food on the way home from the emergency room. I thankfully didn’t need stitches, but I was in a lot of pain. The doctor said I was lucky that I didn’t break anything, but I would have rather had a broken arm than the huge gash on my shoulder. It didn’t take long for my brother to share how stupid I was all over school, and when the wound healed I was left with the permanent mark of my stupidity in the shape of a jagged C a little over 5 inches long.
“My brother wasn’t allowed to watch American Gladiators after my accident. My parent’s said it was a bad influence. He hated me for that and would sometimes try to watch it when they weren’t home, but I’d always change the channel,” I explain.
“Oh yeah, I remember that. He would come over to our house to watch it sometimes,” Mark recalls.
“So, not to change subjects or anything, but what brings you to Nashville?” I ask, very intentionally to change subjects…
HELP ME SHAPE THE STORY FURTHER!
Answer the following questions or leave any other input or suggestions in the comments. Check back in 2 weeks to see if I’ve incorporated any of your ideas in the next installment!
What is Mark doing in Nashville? Living or visiting? Occupation?
Does Heidi get the gig at the venue mentioned in part 1?
What style/genre of music does Heidi perform?
*Heidi is about 28/29 and Mark is 30/31 if that helps!
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