Writing Exercise: A Glimpse


INI311 – Exercise 2 – A glimpse (Novakovich ch. 1, ex. 1)

Logan Bright – Professor Sharon English


The engine idled but the woman in the driver’s seat had a ballcap pulled down over her eyes, head resting imperiously against the back of the bucket seat, hands folded across her middle. Her lips, framed by drooping jowls, were turned down at the corners, as though the private visions behind the cap were distasteful to her. A light in the cabin was on, a pool of warmth huddled against the coming autumn night.

Her minivan was stopped on a quiet street jammed between two loud ones, across from her daughter’s apartment building. It was tall and beige and unremarkable save for each unit’s massive windows facing onto an empty schoolyard to the north.

Her eyes were still closed when the click-thunk of the passenger door announced her daughter’s arrival.

“Hey mom, sorry I kept you so late. I was just getting ready.” Her daughter, in rich, dark makeup and fashionable jacket smiled as the woman pushed the cap back on her head. “I hope you weren’t waiting long? You could’ve come up, you know.”

The woman returned the smile and made an it-was-nothing gesture. She leaned over the stick shift for a hug. “Just resting my eyes. You’re looking healthy.”

“And feeling even better! How was your week? We’re gonna have so much fun tonight, you’re gonna love it. The people, the colours, the atmosphere. Hey, where’s the music?” Her daughter snapped the radio on and set to tuning it, left and right, no snatch of melody catching her ear from between bursts of static.

“Where should we park, sweetie?”

“Oh anywhere really, or we could just walk from here if you want.” A strain of heavy bass and synthesized steel drum came through the speakers. “Oh I love this song, let’s drive a bit. Some of the streets are closed, of course, but we should be able to find somewhere to park closer downtown, maybe Nathan Phillips? Are you excited?”

“You know I love art,” she said. “Not sure I can stay up all night with you kids, though. Not anymore at least.” She clicked the cab light off and, checking her mirrors for cyclists and jaywalkers, pulled the van away from the curb.

Her daughter laughed. “No worries there, mom, we’re just here to have fun! ‘Sides, I don’t think I can either, not after last year. But it’s Nuit Blanche! Beautiful weather, good company. I can’t wait.” She turned the music up and her torso danced in her seat.

To stifle a yawn, the woman said: “Long week for you, sweetie?”

“Oh my god, we had a crazy screw-up in accounting and then some of the proofs I’d ordered for review before the site went live were gone; missing, or late, or whatever. I put Adrian onto it – you remember Adrian, from when you came to visit that time? Short guy, sideburns? So he’s looking into it, y’know, two phone calls at once and emails on top, and finally I was just like, it’s Nuit Blanche, guys, my mom’s coming to visit – I’ve gotta go! And here I am. I’m so glad you’re here! How’s the school?”

“Well, you know, the kids are the same, making messes they can’t clean up.”

They listened to the music for a time. The song her daughter liked was replaced by a bossa nova piece with electric keyboard but the volume stayed the same.

“Nowhere to park,” the woman said, passing an unbroken line of sleeping vehicles. The sidewalks were thronged with young people hurrying south.

“Well keep looking,” her daughter replied, watching the crowd. “I’m sure we’ll find some.”

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