“In media res”

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Writing Prompt: Start each sentence in action.

This whole semester I’ve  been told that the best way to start a story is in the middle of a scene or an action – in media res. It could be like that one time I was at a pizzeria buying a couple of slices before picking up my girlfriend at her internship. All of a sudden, I hear a lady speak up loudly. “Watch out!” she says to me. There’s a guy digging in your bag!”

Or it could be when I went back to my place after work. This one time I transferred at the usual stop in Queens past midnight when a man walked up to me and muttered in hot drunken breath, “You’re the ideal type” while rubbing my belly and nudging my elbow. 

For this particular post, I decided to go the most cliché way – waking up. Why? Because waking up is what most of us do anyways. Whether we get pick pocketed or strangely hit on, we all have a fifty-fifty shot of waking up in the morning. For those that are asleep right now, you may want to stay in bed for this one. For those that are not, please excuse the the sentimentality. 

*

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There was a bang at my door in the early morning. I reached out for my usual remote to turn on the television, but it was not there. I stood up, feeling the chill on the bottom of my feet. Slowly in the dark I tip-toed toward light switch before answering the bang at my door. With a flick of my finger, I clamped my eyes shut by the beaming brightness then opened them.

The movers had come to pack up all of my family’s belongings into a large truck the previous day. The room was empty with the exception of the mattress. I was leaving Naples in the dead of winter. Considering the fact that it was late December, the air in the room was colder than usual. 

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I tossed on a hoodie and started packing my bag at the foot of the bed. My mom and I were going to move temporarily into a hotel later that day. But first, the place had to be checked one final time. After the inspectors wrote their reports and twiddled their thumbs, they led us out of the place I had known for the last 5 years. 

My father had received orders some weeks ago that told him that him and his family had to transfer to another post back in the states. It was a terrible time to move, because I was beginning the ninth grade in a place that I had grown up for a great majority of my life. Cold is a good word to signify the indifference of the wind that constantly changes your course. Good thing I have a hoodie, right? 

I moved to Virginia a few days later.

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Ask any any military brat and they’ll tell you.  “Transition is the catalyst to adaptation. It’s the name of the game.”  One moment, you could live in a place located along the coast. The next moment you are landlocked in the middle-of-nowhere. The dramatic change of scene could make any person feel that their path is meandering around a narrow bend. At a fast and unpredictable current, it’s tough to get around unscathed. 

One could only imagine how I had to answer the question “Where are you from?” 

Holding out my fingers, I’d count each place from the day I was born. “Pay attention,” I’d tell them. 

Pretending to point at an invisible map, I point at each place where my parents took me. “There’s Japan. Then there’s California. Then there’s Washington. Next, Hawaii. Next, Italy. Then Virginia. Alaska. Back to Virginia. Back to Alaska . . . Korea. Now here”

 

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Photo by Simon Brooks

I moved to city. It only seemed right that I ended up in a city, where the movement doesn’t stop. A place where most things cannot be changed, but can change the way you are. It’s my point B for now, and there are probably more stops ahead. 

I rub my chin because that’s what all great thinkers do (right?) I’m more concerned with what it means to move. You know, to move from one place to another. For the past year, I had been living in a big city where moving could mean going from Point A to Point B. Yes, it had taken me some getting used to. With an hour commute, there’s not much you could do but sit down and contemplate what moving is really about. 

When I think about it, that’s why I moved to this place in the first place. I’m just used to all movement. 

Not only do I wake up in the morning like most people [Or getting pick pocketed, or sexually harassed by some random dude on the metro] I’m usually packing my bag, as if I was going on a trip. I can’t stop the fact that I’m probably going somewhere one day. 

 

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