So Called 'Bull'

May 15, 2010
By , Portage, IN
I walked into Starbucks, pulling my wallet out of my messenger bag. It was one of those mornings where I couldn’t just get by on first period Creative Writing.

Normally, when I go into Creative Writing class, I become someone else. I feel like Agatha Christie or Sylvia Plath, sometimes even George Orwell. Analyzing every small word as something full of infinite meaning gives me a rush.

Today was not one of those days.
We were given a sentence to start a short story. What I got was awful.

I couldn’t get him out of my head.

It was so cliché. So boring and so predictable. I didn’t know where to begin. A young girl lacking self-confidence bumps into an attractive, but mysterious young man. From there, she goes on a search to find him.

That’s what I call ‘bull’. Yes ‘bull’. I was completely worn down from trying to put together a plot that I liked. Everything was too confusing, too boring, too… not me.

As I rose to leave from class that morning, my teacher called me up to the front of the room. I strode toward him, pushing a few papers into my notebook, “Yes, Mr. Gardner?”

“You seem to be struggling with the prompt,” he tapped his infamous purple pen on the desk. “Is anything wrong?”

I shook my head, “No, I’m just really tired.”

“You know,” Mr. Gardner had risen and crossed his arms. “Sometimes you just have to look around you. Take what’s interesting in your life and create your story around that.”

“Yeah, I know. I just can’t relate to this line,” I took the small sheet of paper with the sentence on it and bit the inside of my cheek.

He raised his eyebrow, “Oh, you can. You just don’t know it yet.”

I said my goodbyes and left in a rush.

So there I was, Starbucks. I stood in line, tapping my foot to a Pat Benatar song that filtered through the speakers.

We are young, heartache to heartache

We stand-

“Excuse me,” a dark voice from behind me echoed in my ear.

I turned around to face a tall man with piercing blue eyes and dark brown hair. He pointed at my bag, “I couldn’t help but notice you were carrying a copy of Catcher in the Rye.”

I blushed and smiled, “I’m rereading it.”

“Rereading?” he smirked.

“For like, the twentieth time since I was a freshman in high school,” I patted the book against my thigh.

The man replied, “Salinger was a genius.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I turned back to the counter and ordered a tall black coffee.

He followed with his order and held out a ten dollar bill, “It’s on me.”

I looked up at him, “I don’t even know you.”

He held out his hand, “James Hill.”

“Celia Mason,” I accepted his hand.

James shoved his hands in his pockets, “Now you know.” He waited for his drink calmly. A few notebooks were piled in his arms.

When our drinks arrived, I took a small sip and said, “Thanks.”

“Have a good day,” he bowed his head.

I was surprised, but I couldn’t get a word out to express my emotion. All I knew was I had to get to History of Literature. So off I went, back to campus.

The coffee didn’t help. My professor went on and on about political documents by Machiavelli, Marx, and the rest I didn’t remember. James plagued my brain, his confusing antics and dark persona.

I couldn’t get him out of my head.

Oh, bull.

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