Hello everyone. It came to my attention that after being vigorously Helled last night, that I should probably give some proof that I'm not, in fact, an unproductive degenerate. Enjoy this weirdly boring piece I wrote yesterday. It's not particularly interesting but at least it's proof that I am writing at least something, LOL.
He sat beside his daughter’s bed in the early hours of the morning, watching as the sunlight painted interrupted stripes on the walls, dust motes floating aimlessly toward their destinations. Her chest raised and lowered slowly, mechanically. She was so small. Though Ingram could remember her when she weighed all but a few pounds, her head topped with the barest strands of blonde hair and her small and pudgy fists, which she loved to wave about expressively. She had turned eight years old just two weeks ago. Ingram grew anxious with every passing year. He knew that soon, he’d have to let her loose into the world of middle school - a milestone in his daughter’s life. She would graduate from being a ‘little kid’ and get going on her way to being a big kid. Victoria - or Vickie, as everyone called her - had been so ecstatic about there being only two more years until she could go to middle school.
“Hey, Daddy,” Vickie had said, staring out of the backseat car window as the New York cityscape rolled by, her breath fogging up the glass. “I’m tired of being a little kid. I want to be a big kid! I can’t wait until I can drive! Then I’d be totally independent, and cool, and popular…”
That dream of Vickie’s had all but vanished after she came down with a mystery cough. Ingram had waved it off at first, handing her mugs of warm tea with honey and sugar mixed in to soothe her aching throat, and telling her to hack up any mucus in her lungs if she could. She’d done so with an obedient little nod, taking the mugs in her small, small hands, and stomping off to her room at the end of the hall.
“Gorgeous morning outside, don’t you think, Vickie?” Ingram whispered, brushing his hand across his daughter’s forehead as she lay asleep, pink bedsheets very nearly swallowing her whole. She didn’t reply, simply shifting in her slumber. Her breathing was so labored lately. She didn’t have half the energy to smile and laugh at him anymore, and it broke his heart. Ingram knew, somewhere inside himself, that the chance she wouldn’t pull herself out of it was very high.
Despite everything, he kept hoping.
Standing from his stool, he bent to kiss Vickie briefly on the head before heading out the door, pulling it shut with a quiet click. Mondays. He headed back down the hall and to the somehow-still-warm coffee pot that awaited him on the counter. He reached for the television remote, clicking it on so that the apartment could be awash in noise - something else other than the painfully agonizing sound of Vickie’s struggling breaths. Of course, he’d set up a baby monitor so that he’d be able to keep tabs on her, but sometimes it was nice to briefly get away from the stress of it all and just let some boring nature documentary roll over the screen, dubbed over by someone like Morgan Freeman.
Ingram poured himself some coffee, warming his cold hands with the mug. The busy sound of commuters roared down several stories below his apartment, a sound he’d grown unexpectedly accustomed to. He hadn’t been born in the midst of such a bustling, sprawling urban utopia - in fact, he’d grown up in suburban Indiana, boasting a beat-up old car and a strangely specific soda cap collection. He had always told himself he’d stay in Indiana; maybe move to the outskirts of a bigger city one day, and enjoy what little privileges that gifted him over suburbia. And now Ingram was way out in New York. Funny how that works, the little intricacies and curveballs of life.
Ingram pulled a chair out from their humble breakfast nook and sat himself down at the table, arms stretched out like a reclining cat. Flipping the top of his laptop open, he logged in quickly and started browsing the web. His agent, Ines, always sent him emails about how well his photographs sold at the galleries. Not only that, but an additional report. New York’s own Sixtysix Media magazine. It was almost a full replacement for his daily newspapers (not that the digital age wasn’t booting those out already) and it brought with it the inevitable satisfaction of constructive criticism.
He paged through the columns, noting other competitors and nearby galleries. Ingram hadn’t worried much about the photographers making the rounds lately. To them, it was all about geometric simplicity. Breaking a scene into its rawest shapes. To Ingram, photography was about composition and feeling. There was a level of intimacy, of understanding one could not achieve without conveying the mood and tone of a scene. Simply layering on sharp silhouettes and hoping that the viewer understood constructivism wasn’t quite enough for someone as abstract as Ingram.
He had hardly noticed the column written about himself - it was tucked away in the flurry of other opinion pieces and he almost skipped straight over it. Refocusing on the task at hand, he magnified the screen, settling his laptop’s cursor over the headline. “Ingram Frazer: Photography Collection”. He thought back to the collection he’d released last November.
Friendly reminder this is unfinished so please don't yell at me for the abrupt ending here. Just needed to get out of my prison.
Thanks for the feedback. It is a bit of a slow burn and it's meant to feel that way. I'm glad it had its intended effect.
The pacing up to Ingram sitting down at the breakfast nook is in line with the length of a traditional novel, which could be shortened for the CYOA format, if it ends up in one. The remaining paragraphs are a little wordy with smaller details, otherwise this is fine. Ingram doesn't seem to have any lingering sadness over his daughter's condition once he walks away, so he comes off as a dude who prioritizes work pretty close to family. Interesting writing.
I'm planning to make this into a CYOA eventually, so I'll keep what you said in mind. I am kind of proud that the concepts I tried to put into the little piece I posted here got picked up.