Z is for Zunay, Alice – A to Z Writing Challenge

My Saturday morning sleep in, after a tough but good week at the coffee shop, was interrupted by an unfamiliar morning ringing that was also very familiar.

My cell phone.

With half blurry eyes I made out the phone number I had grown up with.

Home!

“Hello,” I said half-asleep.

“Alice? Are you up? It’s 10 AM!”

I moaned and my dad, listening on the other phone, laughed. “Still not a morning person, eh A?”

“Fraid’ so dad…. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” replied my mother in that bright cheery voice which I both was glad to hear but not at this hour of the morning.

“We got your grades in the mail this morning and thought we would tell you the bad news.”

I could hear the teasing smile in my dad’s voice.

“Okay, give me the bad news.”

“Wait, this is not you. It says on the report, Zunay comma Alice!”

“Mom, tell dad to stop it!” Laughter entered the phone call from three different points.

“Well, you passed! You had three A’s and one B this term but your GPA is at 3.75 for the year! Congrats Sophomore!”

Feeling relieved, I knew that I now had to focus on my class schedule for the new year and thought it was about time to tell them that I had decided on a major.

“Well I have decided to major in business and minor in non-profit development.”

“Any particular reason why?”

“Yes, coffee and Jesus!”

Y is for Yeshua – A to Z Challenge

 

The campus was much quieter than I thought it would be in the summer. I did see some students and one of my professors walking between buildings but she was headed into the administration building.

I was headed for the chapel.

I was not sure if the door would be open when I pulled on it but it did open and I walked it. After a moment of adjusting to the light I made out a figure at the far end of the chapel. It appeared to be Father Mike.

As I started to walk toward him I spotted a table with a flyer on it. The title of the  flyer was in bold print and said, “Who is Yeshua?”

“Yeshua? Hum…”

My mind was turning the term over in my mind when Father Mike startled me.

“Alice, isn’t it?”

“Uh yes, it is. Wow, how did you remember it?”

“I make it my business to remember,” he said with a smile.

“How are you Alice? More important, why are you here?”

I explained to him that I worked at the coffee shop and lived the lady which I had helped during the winter.

“So then why are you here?” and he swept his hands in a opening motion.

“I have been thinking.”

“About?”

“Life, death…by the way my mom had a heart attack a few months ago but she is doing well now.”

“Well you have dealt with death this past year, if I remember, your dog, correct?”

“Uh yes, and then there was Irina and mom…”

My voice trailed off.

“Alice, are you afraid of dying?”

I paused in a way that surprised me.

“Uh no, I’m not. I guess that I am afraid of living.”

“Afraid of living? Why?”

“All of this study and living and dealing with Irina and mom and Daisy’s death has just made me think less about what I think about life, death, faith, God…whose Yeshua?”

“It’s another name for Jesus, more of a Hebrew derivation of it.”

“Derivation?”

“A derivative.”

“Oh.”

“Alice, who is Jesus to you?”

“I am not sure. Well I am sure, I think. I think he was god, but god with a capital ‘G.'”

“Okay. But who is he to you, Alice?”

Thus began an inward journey I am still on and gratefully so.

 

X is for Xanax – A to Z Writing Challenge

 

As my thinking and balanced returned to normal after my fall, I was able to move back to Cartersville and return to working at the coffee shop. But something was wrong and I noticed it during my first day of work.

 

It was Mrs Lundi, the wife of the shop’s owner. She seemed to be distant and sad.

 

A group of teachers had come to the university for a day long workshop and during their afternoon break, they filled every table inside and then spilled out to every table outside.  The three of us kept busy for the hour filling their orders so I did not have time to process what I was seeing.

 

At the end of the day as I prepare to leave, Mr Lundi called me to a table for a chat.

 

“Alice, you may not have noticed that Ariel is not the same as she was when you left for home.” I had noticed but was not sure if I should say anything.

 

“I am telling you this because I will be gone most of next week to visit some new suppliers. I am putting you in charge of the store and you will have help from the two high school students we hired in the spring. I am not sure if you will see Ariel next week.”

 

As if anticipating my thoughts he continued. “Ariel received some devastating news the day after you left. Her youngest sister who lived in Argentina was killed by thieves she surprised as she returned home one afternoon.”

 

Both of my hands went to my face as I processed the words I had just heard. “Her husband worked for a large French company and it is believed that they were also being targeted by extremists to cause problems.”

 

“Is her husband, her family alright?”

 

“Yes, they are. They have returned to France for now. But Ariel has not been the same.”

 

Mr Lundi paused and then pulled out a prescription bottle, opened it, then proceeded to take a small white oval tablet from the bottle, and with a glass of water he swallowed it. Once he drained the glass of the water he seem to remember that I was there.

 

“Oh, I just remembered to take my Xanax. With all that is going on with Ariel and having to run the shop, for the most part, alone, I have not been sleeping well.”

 

 

 

 

 

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W is for Writing Review – A to Z Challenge

 

 

With my job at the coffee shop being assured until I was cleared to work by my doctor, a week at home (at least) was a welcomed break. At first I could not read my emails, Facebook updates, or my Twitter stream for more than fifteen minutes at a time and I watched television in spurts.

But after five days, I began to read with less discomfort and decided to revisit the blog I had created for the A to Z Challenge in Dr Brubecker’s class and look back at what I had posted throughout the year. I realized as I read that while my posts were frequent up to spring break, I had written nothing since my trip to New York with Irina.

I wanted to remember this year and all that happened to me and so I started writing. I remembered my motion sickness on the train, and the wonderful time with Sasha. I never thought that a trip to New York would be part of my first year of college.

Writing a few days later also helped me process mom’s heart attack and my thoughts about quitting. I am glad that I did not.

And then there was Greg.

What do I do with Greg?

And then the conversation with Greg came bursting into my conscious thought. A conversation we never finished.

Anger burned again, the same anger that drove me to leave the diner in a hurry and forget where I was walking. I quit typing for a few moments.

Then the question which grandpa had asked me, “Where is God in your life?” made its appearance.

God. Faith.

“Maybe it is time to think about what you think about these things, Alice.”

Yeah, maybe it is.

V is for Vaccination: A to Z Challenge

 

I never saw the step as I ran out of the diner angry at what I had just been told.

But I did feel the pain and see the blood gushing my head as I tried to sit up.

“Alice, ALICE! Are you okay?” Greg shouted.

“Uh, I am not so sure…there’s uh blood and I, uh, don’t feel so good.”

Immediately I saw Greg go by as I seemed to be riding a magic carpet back into the diner.

But the magic carpet had two sets of large arms, one with a medical symbol tattoo on it. Eventually, I realized that it was an EMT and a police officer who had carried me back into the diner and set me on the floor.

A terrific headache had set in and the medic and officer were working on get ready to work on me.

Where was Greg?

I panicked briefly and then was able to make him out a few feet away sitting in a booth. From what I could tell he looked shaken.

Then another scene played out in my mind.

“Alice, Alice,” the sound of my name was almost audible and when I opened my eyes I saw Greg standing over me and I felt his hand in mind. I blushed.

“Are you okay? You took quite a fall.”

“I know I did. I never saw the step or whatever it was.”

“It was a step, babe.’

Did he just call me “babe?”

Soon an ER nurse, who looked familiar from my time with Irina a few months ago, was asking me questions. Answering them, or I should say, thinking about them, made my head hurt.

“Young lady you are very lucky.” Her voice turned masculine very quickly. Then I realized that the ER doctor had joined us.

“You have a nasty concussion. Is there a place other than your dorm room you can stay for a day or two?”

“Yes,” I said. “I have a friend here in town. She will keep me I am sure.”

“Can she come and get you?”

“Uh, no, she can’t but I can get her there.”

“Very good. I have a couple of prescriptions for you, a pain med and a shot.”

“A shot? A shot of what?”

Stifling a laugh, he simply said, “A vaccination… for tetanus.”

“Uh, why?”

“Well according to your parents you have not had one in a long time. So you need one. Shelly will give it to you.”

I began to sweat and I gripped Greg’s hand hard. He looked at me with a grimace of pain. I barely had time to get nervous as I have not had good experiences with needles.

Then it appeared.

I was okay until I felt the prick and heard the name of my voice fading from my hearing as I passed out.

 

 

U is for Ubiquitous Greg: A to Z Challenge

With classes done I still had a full day before Dad and Grandpa Zunay came to get me. Sleeping in was a luxury I could take advantage of for the first time in a long time.

But it was not to be as the ringing of my cell phone had me awake at 7 AM. It was Greg.

“Hi Alice, how about breakfast at Marvin’s?”

The smile in his voice was enough sunshine to stun me awake. I thought for a moment.

“Sure.”

The drive to “the best breakfast in town” took us through parts of town that I had not seen during the year. In fact, as I thought about it, my daily travels covered just six blocks to and from the coffee shop. Cartersville, I would later realize, was a typical small Midwestern college town that grew up in the late 1800 and early 1900’s as the population moved across the county and toward the west coast. The establishment of the colleges such as Francis University in such places were designed to minimize temptations and maximize learning.

But while the town exhibited the classic layout and architecture of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Marvin’s was a step back to the 1950’s diner. The lighting, the colors (bright red for the booths and a black and white checkered floor), and layout said, “1950’s diner.”

‘Get what ever you want.”

I decided on scrambled eggs and toast and smothered the toast with a raspberry jelly. The coffee, while less spicy than what was served at the coffee shop, was rich though mellow.

After I finished my last bite, I realized how hungry I was.

“Famished? Order some more toast! The food at school gets worse after breakfast today. Leftovers galore!”

“Really? I uh, uh, well…”

Before I could answer, Greg told the waitress who was refilling my coffee, “Two more orders of toast.”

Then that smile again.

“Why is it that I think I know you from somewhere else?”

“Uh, Alice you do.”

“I do. I do?”

“Ally Zunay and Brad Pareekay, sittin’ in a tree,  k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes Ally with the baby carriage!”

My left hand kept my mouth from both flying open and falling off my face.

Him. Bratty little Greg Stevens. 

“How…How… uh…how di…”

“Did I know it was you?”

All I could do was shake my head.

“Your grandfather Macklin showed me your picture last summer as I stopped to deliver something from my parents. He told me you were coming here and to look out for you.”

Suddenly I wasn’t hungry anymore.

 

T is For Tests and More Tests: A to Z Challenge

 

 

I had never heard the coffee shop this quiet. Every table was filled with students, some I knew as regulars, others as fellow freshmen and some as students in some of my classes.

Talk was non-existent as faces glowed in front of lap-tops and tablets. Phone usage was rhythmic but not obsessive. It seemed to me that texting was the norm and was done only for academic reasons. But I could not tell. Even the regulars, who never seemed to take studying seriously, were bent over their text books.

As I struggled to stay awake, I began to ponder my own test schedule. Chemistry, thankfully, was done earlier today. I felt good about my effort and think an ‘A’ is not out of the question.  But tomorrow for me, like those who sit slumped in the familiar pose of students cramming their brains, is the final push. US History, Physics, and Psychology await me.

I push my iPad to life and scroll to my history text book. Tapping the icon brings me to my review page where I been an hour before the most recent rush had occurred. I join the glowing faces from behind the counter.

As I become engrossed with the names, places, and faces of history which still scroll across my screen when I read the news from my Google app, I forget where I am until suddenly I feel, then see, the shadow in the reflection of my iPad’s glass. I look up.

It’s him.

Greg.

My mind rushes to thinking about when, where, I saw him last. Irina’s that night? No. How about coming back from home after being with mom. No.

But he’s here. Now.

“Hi! It’s been a while.”

“Uh, yeah, it, uh, has.”

So how’s life? How’s studying? And I would like a chai tea with lime, grande, please.

“Ah, Greg. Greg, Greg, Greg. Who ARE you? Why is it I think I know you?”