When I woke up late this morning, my migraine was still present, but not as intense. It returned full force when I ventured to the mailbox. I had filed for unemployment insurance on the advice of my father and sister because I haven’t been working this summer and thought some extra money in the bank wouldn’t hurt if I relocate. However, I did not realize that the Board of Education in Manchester has me on file for the remainder of the maternity leave, which runs through October. I freaked out because I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to make a fraudulent claim or cheat the system or anything like that. Truthfully, it was an oversight that I tried to rectify by calling the office but I was put on hold, transferred, put on hold again and was then informed it would take two hours for my call to be answered. I just sent in the requested document and will try to call again tomorrow. It stressed me out so much; the pain was in the back of my head, my neck and the small of my back. My hands felt swollen and numb, and for the life of me, I could not breathe at a normal pace. I thought I was going to make myself pass out. My mom kept telling me to relax, to help myself and I couldn’t, and then I thought she was mad at me, so I started crying. I went and retreated to my bed and resigned myself to just watching the ceiling fan revolving slowly, around and around. I don’t know why I get so wrapped up in my own head and delude myself into think I am responsible for and thus have control over everything. It’s kind of narcissistic – I’m so self-involved that it’s killing me; taking a substantial, physical toll on my body. Or maybe it isn’t as bad as all that, and I’m romanticizing everything like I always do because the haunting reality is that me and my life are mediocre at best, and that scares me because more than anything else, I want to believe that I am unique and deserving of special recognition.
I’m doing it again, aren’t I? I’m thinking too much and am about to trap myself in my own head, right? Damnit; I’m a glutton for punishment, dude.
The picture to the right accurately illustrates what my migraines feel like. Unfortunately, it does not accurately depict my features. My teeth are far from straight and my eyes are a muddy kind of brown, a shade that would make a domestic goddess hurl if it were plastered against a new, white carpet (which is my subtle way of hinting that my eyes look like poop).
Tonight’s prompt is about bowling. Now, I have nothing against the sport or the people who participate, but I do not play it. I have no desire to bowl, really. That’s somewhat amusing because the last two times I’ve gone bowling, I’ve done really, really well. I defeated someone who was in a league and a boy who was trying to impress me. Figures, right?
Enjoy it if you can, but I won’t blame you if you don’t.
PROMPT: A man aspiring to be a pro bowler loses to his young daughter.
PIECE: Bob was sitting at the end of the designated lane in a grotesquely-colored and wildly uncomfortable, plastic chair. The chair was one half of a pair and sat before the dated computer monitor and accompanying keypad that allowed bowlers to enter their names and, if need be, adjust their scores. The scoreboard had been expertly composed by Bob, who was not putting on the required bowling shoes, which always felt too large, smelled bad and looked clownish. Despite the obvious drawbacks, Bob loved bowling. He had recently gotten it into his head that he not only could but should become a pro bowler. He had been getting closer and closer to bowling a perfect game during league nights, and was making quite the name for himself on the local circuit. Enjoying a day off, he decided to bring little Melanie down to the lanes with him for some practice. It’d be beneficial for the dream he was embarking on, and it would be nice to spend some time with his youngest daughter. Melanie had trotted off to find a pink, perfectly-sized bowling ball and now she was returning, sweating and panting from the effort. “It’s heavy,” she complained, cautiously stepping down the two steps. Bob went rushing over.
“Mel, if it’s too heavy, you can’t bowl with it,” Bob said, smiling.
“But it’s the only pink one I could find, Dad! Please let me use it! Please!” Her brows were gathering at the center of her forehead and her bottom lip was slowly sticking out further and further. Bob was no fool; he knew a storm was fast-approaching.
“Okay, okay, you can use it,” Bob soothed.
“Yay!” Melanie erupted, now beaming. She dumped the ball onto the contraption in the middle of the lane and looked expectantly up at her father.
“You’re going to go first, okay kiddo? We just have to wait for the bumpers.” Bob looked around anxiously, searching for an attendant he could flag down. Upon requesting and paying for the lane, he had mentioned that he needed the bumpers for his young daughter. That had been some time ago, at least ten minutes, and there were no padded rubber bumpers on the lane.
“Why do we have to wait, Daddy? I don’t need bumpers, and you definitely don’t need bumpers.”
Bob’s smile returned, wider than before. “Are you sure you don’t need bumpers? You liked playing with them last time.”
“I’m a big girl now, Daddy. I don’t need them, I promise.” Melanie was at her cutest when she was pleading and Bob understood it was dangerous. It was okay now, when she was seven and Bob was the only man in her tiny universe, but one day, all that would change and he’d be in a world of trouble.
“Okay,” Bob acquiesced as he always did and probably always would. “Go ahead then, little darling. It’s your turn.”
Melanie stepped up to the start of the slick, wooden floor. She held the pink bowling ball in both hands and though she was clearly struggling, she stuck out her bottom lip and attacked the line at something of a gallop, sliding to roll the ball down the lane after swinging it back between her legs for momentum.
The boll rolled dead center, crashed into the pins and knocked them down – every last one.
When all was said and done, Bob had scored an 80. Melanie had scored a whopping 152.
Next week, Bob wasn’t at the league games. Instead, he had stopped at a department store on the drive home from work, and purchased a chess set. He thought maybe he could be the next Bobby Fisher.