Anna Calvaty, Preferably Spunky

February 21, 2008
By Shannon Kelly, Lincoln, NE

Yeah, I remember those days up in the old brick building. You’d think I would be fond of those memories, but I’m not. “Anna Calavaty!” They say. “You’re so lucky!” Really, am I? No, I am talented. Not lucky. And I suppose it was just meant to be.

See, I used to live in a not-so-good place. By that, I mean that you had to smother your head with your pillow at night to block out the noise of street fights.

During the day, I would stay at home with my little sister, Kaitlyn. I know, we have boring names. Blame it on my dad. But don’t be too hard because he’s not the one I’m mad at. He didn’t leave us in the dust.

Yes, it seems that my mother just wasn’t happy in our big old home with two lovely blonde daughters who adored her. She and her big job and inheritance packed up and went off to some place in California. Dad had to stay home for a while to help Kaitlyn and me out. So, his not-too understanding boss decided to “let him go.” I’m sure you’re aware that jobs are tight right now, and if you’re not, lucky you. So he doesn’t have a very high-paying job at this moment. Of course, he’s just thankful to have a job, otherwise we’d be sleeping under a park bench or begging our mother for forgiveness when she’s the one who did us wrong.

Anyway, Kaitlyn was fond of our little T.V. set so most days I did get a little me time when her favorite show was on. I didn’t know what to do with it until I met Miss Adelia Brown.

Miss Adelia Brown lived beyond the paper-thin wall in the room right next to mine. She was very old and very big. And I suspect she knew of my secret loneliness and seemed very harmless, so when she asked to come in, I let her.

She presented me with some kind of bunt cake. I smiled, took it, and never ate it. Kaitlyn seemed to get into those things pretty quickly.

After a while, we got to talking. And she said, “Anna, have you ever considered playing guitar?” And I didn’t quite know what to say so I said yes! And slowly my fingers grew accustomed to the strings and a rhythm went up in my soul. Now I have absolutely no idea how Miss Adelia Brown learned to play guitar, but she was mighty fine at it. Sometimes she would hum along and it had so much feeling behind it, even I, Anna Calavaty, sometimes wanted to cry.

A good while on, and I was being shaken awake at midnight. Dad was standing over me, smiling and holding a ripped-out blurb from the newspaper.
“Casting Call-
Semi-Experienced Guitarist
Between the ages of 12-15
Preferably Spunky”
And I was wide awake.

So you could say things were really looking up. Dad packed Kaitlyn and me into the car and we spent what little money we had on a more presentable outfit. When I got there, I wasn’t even scared.

* * *

I was tired, but thrilled. I had nailed my audition, and I do mean nailed! I was not surprised at all when I got a late night phone call. Of course, I knew immediately that I had gotten the gig. The man on the phone said I had some major ‘tude and that “the camera loved me.” So you can imagine how it rained on my parade when I got the news that Miss Adelia Brown had passed.

The one person in the world who would have loved to know this news the most, was gone. For good. Never again would there be an afternoon lesson with the sunlight streaming in through the blinds. There would be no more bunt cake or old lady perfume, or that deep humming. I felt very alone.

Well, we are all alive and well. We have enough money because of my new job. We live in a nice house and Kaitlyn and I can go to school. My good friend may be gone, we might have once been poor, and I may never know what happened to my mother. But no matter what, I will always be Anna Calavaty, preferably spunky.

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