Home > This Ordinary Life

This Ordinary Life
Author: Jennifer Walkup



1


THE SHOWER IS no help this morning.

I try all the tricks that normally jump start my thoughts. Long, relaxing shower, really hot water. I wash my hair slowly and condition it twice. I even use the back brush as an impromptu microphone. But even still, the right words don’t come.

“Hi, I’m Jasmine Torres, and I am super happy to meet you!”

Super happy? Ugh.

I squirt more body wash into my palm.

“Hey there, Jasmine Torres here. And you are…”

Amateur.

“Hi. I’m Jasmine Torres, radio host at Easton High. I am really glad to be here.”

Not bad.

I say it again as I step out of the shower. Wrapping a towel around me, I grab my phone from the counter and type the words into my notes section. Lame? Maybe. But I can read and reread it, and practice on the bus.

Going on this field trip is nothing like being on the air. When I’m on the radio show, words come naturally. Broadcasting is like breathing, really.

But on a day like today, when the Easton High radio show students are going on a field trip, to WYN60, one of the biggest radio stations in New York City? When we’ll be talking about doing possible summer internships with them? Well, on days like today, I can hardly string two words together and even with my shower monologue practice, my words and ideas are still all tangled, like tangled worse than my ridiculously curly hair on a windy beach day.

And now I’m running late. Crap. Way to waste time, Jasmine.

I’m twenty minutes behind schedule by the time I dry off. I shoot across the hall to my room, sliding into the carefully chosen and planned outfit for today’s trip. It’s still school-ish, my absolute favorite shirt, a cute yellow cotton top that ties around the waist, but the black pants make it professional enough to make me look serious and mature.

At least I hope.

I’m dressed in no time, hair scrunched with product and curls somewhat tamed, before I make a mad dash to the kitchen.

On my way through the living room, I tug mom’s hair, naturally curly and frizzy like mine. Hopefully it’s the only thing I’ve inherited from her. “Wake up, wake up.”

She groans, and nestles further into the couch’s threadbare fabric. A scratching noise from the old record player scrapes, the needle turning against nothing. She must have fallen asleep playing old albums again. I roll my eyes. I wish she’d get rid of that stupid thing.

“Not today, Mom. You need to get up now.” I shuffle everything in the fridge, hoping we didn’t run out of applesauce. There was a decent amount left yesterday, but if someone got in here…

“Mom,” I yell. “Get up! You have Danny’s IEP meeting at 10:30 and I have to leave, like, now. Get up, get up!”

Score. The glass applesauce container sits behind a mostly empty bottle of wine. I pull it out, grabbing a medicine cup and the collection of meds Danny takes three times a day. The silverware drawer is empty. With a sigh, I pick through the sink of last night’s dinner dishes and bottles of mom’s apparently one person liquid-only after dinner party.

I wash the spoon and grab two plastic syringes, quickly measuring out two of the liquid meds. Caps on, reshelf. Crack open two capsules and empty in the concoction, then finally crush the last pill. Mix it all together and viola, time to wake my brother. I rush down the hall, opening the door with my hip.

“Wake up, Danny,” I say in a soft, sing song voice. Waking Danny nicely always bodes well for all our mornings.

“Dan-ny.” I snap up the shades. My seven year old brother rolls over and groans, but he smiles at me.

“Jazzy!” he sits up, rubbing his eyes, his hair going in every direction. With his eyes closed, he opens his mouth, like a baby bird, while I spoon the medicine in. Five scoops and done.

“Get yourself ready. I’ll leave a bagel on the counter. I gotta run. Make sure she gets up and gets you there.”

Danny blinks rapidly. I’ve given him way too much information before he’s barely awake. But I do have to get going. I kiss his head, and run back to my room, slip on shoes and scrunch my fingers in my hair to calm it as much as I can in about two minutes. Makeup takes another three and I’m done. I grab a glass of cold water from the bathroom and dump it on Mom’s head as I pass the couch again.

She screams, her voice threatening. “Jasmine, get your ass back here!”

She’s on her feet, bleary-eyed from the look of her, but coming through the kitchen. I smile as I close the door behind me. At least she’s up.

And me? I’ve got ten minutes to get to school.

I stop at the end of my driveway, where the weeds reach almost to my knees around our mailbox. The driveway is empty. The street too. Sebastian is nowhere to be found, though he should have been here to pick me up at least ten minutes ago. I blow breath into my bangs, fanning myself in the already too-warm morning.

Come on Sebastian. Of all days to be late?

I have three options. Hoof it all the way across town to school—not optimal as it will take way too long and I’ll be sweating like crazy and frantic by the time I get there. Or, I could go back in my house and attempt to make my no doubt pissed off mom actually drive me to school. I take a step toward the back door, actually considering it, but no amount of begging would convince her after that water stunt I pulled. I look at the faded blue paint of our small house, and the flower beds overgrown with years’ of weeds and ivy. I sigh. Getting her to cooperate is as hopeless as this place.

Last option? I can make the five block trek to Sebastian’s and hope he just overslept and is still there.

I hike my backpack up on my shoulders and turn toward Sebastian’s, shaking my head as I kick a rock that’s in my way as I rush down the street. My boyfriend is late at least ninety percent of the time. He’s lucky I like him as much as I do.

The sun presses on me like a heavy blanket as I rush down the block. I quickly pull my hair up, tying it loosely enough so it won’t leave a ponytail mark. I’ve been an alternate radio personality for Easton High’s station since I was a freshman. And with today’s trip, our radio crew is not only going to the station and learning about the internships (internships!), but will also be observing WYN60’s Get Up and Go show as well as the changeover to their afternoon team. If I miss this trip… I can’t. It’s WYN60. In New York City. The Get Up and Go show! Just being in that building will be a dream come true. And if I actually do get a chance at that internship it will mean a much bigger hope when it comes time for college applications, maybe even scoring some much needed scholarship money if I can prove myself.

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