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In And Of Myself (1 Viewer)

Arcopitcairn

WF Veterans
IN AND OF MYSELF


“Oh, you shame your family, Shashi, you shame us all.”

“I am not a commodity, Mother”

“You shame us, you shame us”

“I want something more. I’m staying.”

“Shashi, please.”

“I’m staying. Tell father that I’m staying here.”

“He will hate you for this. He won’t speak to you again.”

“I know, but it has to be this way. I’m going to be an American, become a citizen, and make a life here. I won’t marry someone I’ve never met.”

“Please don’t do this to us, Shashi.”

“It is done, Mother. I love you. Please tell father I love him too.”


Shashi heard the click on the other end of the line and knew her mother had hung up on her. She realized that she may never speak to her family again. Her heart raced for a second and she nearly grabbed up the phone in that instant, almost frantically dialed her mother to tell her it had all been a joke, almost gave in to her father’s wishes in a panic.

But no, her mind was set, her will was strong. But still her heart beat thunder in her chest, and she whimpered once, a gasp, like a solitary cry just loud enough to wake the sleeper from a bad dream. Shashi put her hand to her thumping breast and looked in the mirror.

Her wide wet eyes stared back at her, on the verge of tears, her blackest eyes, cartoon eyes that matched her pony-tailed and gleaming hair. Who did she see there? Who was that light brown girl with kissing lips and a strange nose that people looked twice at to decide if they liked it or not? She was beginning to recognize that girl. She felt as if she could reach into the mirror and take her reflection’s hand. She smiled at herself, knowing her mirror image was the person she wanted to be, and was becoming, knowing that that dream of her was simply waiting for Shashi to come around.

She touched the mirror and could feel the spark, the stirrings of a better awareness, and she believed, wished her dream image into her reality. She could almost hear herself changing, freeing, as she closed her eyes, her heart beating in her ears like distant distress signals from inside her life’s cocoon. The thumping lessened and she couldn’t hear it any more.

When Shashi opened her eyes, the image that stared back was just that, a reflection. In denying and defying everything that had been decided for her, she felt the first step to becoming who she wished to be had been taken. She felt new.

She looked around her dorm room, reveling in all the meager things that were hers alone. The small few possessions that were the building blocks of her new life sat, unaware of their importance, the knick-knacks and clothes and books that would accompany her to freedom.

She ran her fingers across the spines of her many books, her teachers, her friends on a lonely night. They were hers.

Fingers trailed her packed closet, clanging hangers of clothes she loved and others she loved the idea of, but would probably never wear. All hers.

The window, her hands parting the gaudy purple curtains that all her friends hated, outside she smiled at trees wet with rain and the students scurrying through the courtyard. Again, all hers.

Finally her reflection again, on the window that led out to the world beyond. That was hers too. She owned herself, nobody’s property, and she looked appreciatively at the woman she was. She nodded knowingly, and her reflection nodded back.
 

kc1082

Member
I think your story idea has potential but I don't get a good sense of who this character is from what I've read.


Her wide wet eyes stared back at her, on the verge of tears, her blackest eyes, cartoon eyes that matched

This description kind of confused me.

She ran her fingers across the spines of her many books, her teachers, her friends on a lonely night. They were hers.



Fingers trailed her packed closet, clanging hangers of clothes she loved and others she loved the idea of, but would probably never wear. All hers.

The window, her hands parting the gaudy purple curtains that all her friends hated, outside she smiled at trees wet with rain and the students scurrying through the courtyard. Again, all hers.

The part about these things being hers seems a bit repetitive.I'm not sure what you're trying to say.
 
Last edited:

dolphinlee

Senior Member
This is a very brave piece to attempt and overall I think you have done well.

When I read this I liked the way Shashi is unsettled but is moving towards her image of her future.

The dialogue is good but it sounds a little distant. For example I am not sure Shashi would use the word commodity. This is such an important conversation I would have liked more begging/wheedling from the mother.

I think that it might help to shorten some of your sentences. There are times when I think that the extra information does not help with the flow of story. There are examples in the next paragraph.

Shashi heard the click on the other end of the line and knew her mother hadhung up on her.
(is ‘on her’ necessary?) Sherealized that she may (might ?) never speak to her family again. Her heart raced for a secondand she nearly grabbed up the phone in that instant (is ‘inthat instant’ necessary?) , almostfrantically dialed her mother to tell her it had all been a joke, almost gavein to her father’s wishes in a panic. (is ‘ina panic’ necessary?)

But no, her mind was set, her will was strong. But still her heart beat thunder
(thundered?) in her chest, and she whimpered once, agasp, like a solitary cry just loud enough to wake the sleeper from a baddream. Shashi put her hand to her thumping breast and looked in the mirror.

She touched the mirror and could feel the spark, the stirrings of a betterawareness, and she believed, wished her dream image into her reality. She couldalmost hear herself changing, freeing,
(freeing herself? Being freed?) as she closed her eyes, her heart beating in her earslike distant distress signals from inside her life’s cocoon. The thumpinglessened and she couldn’t hear it any more.

When Shashi opened her eyes, the image that stared back was just that, areflection. In denying and defying everything that had been decided for her,she felt the first step to becoming who she wished to be had been taken.
(maybe to make this sentence more emphatic you could adjust it slightly so that the verb taken is closer to the beginning.) She felt new.

She ran her fingers across the spines of her many books, her teachers, herfriends on a lonely night. They were hers.
(Previouslyyou describe her possessions as few, now you have many books)


I like the way she focusses on her possessions as if reassuring herself that she had something with which to start her future. I felt it was almost a reevaluation of the situation.

At the end I was left wondering who would pay for her to stay at college or if she would have to give it up and go to work. The phrase ‘accompany her to freedom’ only hinted ather future.
 

Arcopitcairn

WF Veterans
Thanks so much for you thoughtful critique! Totally right on. Something like this is way outside my comfort zone, but I thought I'd give a whirl as an experiment. If this gets rewritten, all your advice is getting used:)
 

Mike63031

Senior Member
I'm not a fan of italics beyond a short phrase of emphasis, but you've used them to, I beleive, separate Shashi and now from the past even if it was only moments ago. Even if your reason was something else the italicized conversation was effective.

R/Mike
 

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