Hey, everybody! I’m writing for 15 minutes straight on something other than my novel.
Here are the results:
One-word suggestion – “Jostle”
My parents placed me in boarding school when I was eight. Killington Prepatory School for Misguided Boys. I don’t understand why they did. I was never sent to the principal’s office. I had nearly perfect attendance, save a few sick days and Grandma Penny’s funeral. I liked school, and yet I was sent to a boarding school for troubled youth.
Frankie was my first and only roommate. We bonded immediately over Power Rangers and that we both wanted to be the green one. He was from Madison, Wisconsin. I grew up in Janesville. Midwestern kids get each other. They’ve experienced each of the four seasons to the fullest. Manners were ingrained into us from the moment we could talk. I was regularly pegged as the “shining example” by Mr. Jostle, the school’s headmaster. Manners made me stand out enough already. Being touted as a goodie two-shoes did little to stop bullying.
Anyway, my time at Killington Prep was enjoyable. I learned how to start fires, write in cursive, avoid detention through blackmail, etc. I went home to visit my parents for winter holidays. They always had a new hobby they were obsessed with each year– one that usually took them to travel places around the world. I always voiced my desire to join them, which was always met with quiet dismissals. They were sure to shower me with gifts from their adventures. Many had to stay at home as there was no way they would fit in my dorm or my carry-on on Amtrak.
Frankie saw the snow globe my parents brought back from Amsterdam one New Year’s Eve and said, “George, your parents suck.”
“I know,” I replied.
For years, they sent money to me on holidays and birthdays, as if that would make up for them housing me somewhere else. Their cash-stuffed envelopes were constant reminders that it was easier to parent from afar than to put their lives on hold for me. So, we all grew up and apart together, in a weird parallel.
When I graduated Killington, they offered to bring me along for once. They had tickets to Morocco and wanted me to experience the cuisine first-hand. These distant relatives wanted to take me on a trip across the world. I politely declined, as they had taught me at a young age, and I traveled the country with Frankie and other friends. Many of us were seeing America for the first time ourselves. We valued that.
Mom and Dad sent postcards to our old home, hoping I’d swing by and pick them up during my journey. I fell in love with mountains and they with Italian vineyards. So much that decided to move to one themselves. I helped them pack up their house on moving day. I packed up all their memories. In two large boxes, I packed up my childhood bedroom filled with my souvenirs from their vacations. I drove them to Killington Prep for Misguided Boys and donated them to the social studies classrooms, to the kindergarten classroom, to the teachers who acted as my parents for all those years. I gave them what I had to show them what they meant to me.