Friday, May 28, 2010

Scrambling for a Scrapbook

This week's StoryCraft challenge was to use an ordinary incident from my life to write a 500-1000 word piece which taps into the reader's emotions and gives us a payoff at the end. The more banal the incident, the more kudos to you for making it riveting! Let me know what emotions you get from this story. I felt a number of things myself.

Now, I have been making scrapbooks since I was pregnant with my son in 2007, so I have gotten pretty good at it. I mean not Martha Stewart fancy, but I do all right. It is so much fun trying to find stickers and whatnot to go along with the theme of the photos I have taken.

November of 2008, Kevin, one of my co-workers, asked me to make a scrapbook for him after seeing some of my work. Up until that time, I had only been making scrapbooks for myself and as birthday or retirement presents for my friends. Kevin became my first paying customer.

Kevin didn’t bring me his photos until February or March of 2009, sometime after the Super Bowl. I remember that because he wanted to include articles of his team winning. At that time I was waist high in homework, house work, motherly work, and work-work, so I had very little time to dedicate to his scrapbook. But I promised Kevin I would make time. Every time he saw me, he inquired about my progress.

“Do you need any money for anything?” he asked one afternoon.

“Well, I was at the craft store and found this nice book that I think you would like.”

“How much is it?”

“I think it’s about $25 but I’ll double check.”

“Well, here’s $20,” he said, pulling the money out of his pocket. “If you need any more let me know.”

“I sure will. I’ll bring you the receipt when I get it.”

“That’s fine.”

The next week, Kevin asked if I had gotten the scrapbook I had told him about. I told him that I hadn’t gotten a chance to get to the craft store but that I would definitely go that week, which I did. So when he came to ask about the book again. I handed him the book and the receipt. He gave me another $10 and told me when I needed more to let him know.

It took maybe a month for me to call his cell to tell him about some design ideas that I had. He told me what he liked or thought we could do without then we ended the call. Another month went by before I brought him the book with only a third complete.

“I like it. So, how much longer do you think it will take? I have some newspaper clippings that I would like for you to add.”

“It won’t be too much longer. Just bring me what you want added. I may have to buy another book for the articles, but I’ll bring you a receipt like I did the last time.”
“Okay,” he said.
I could tell he was sick of me giving him the run around. I really felt bad that it was taking me months to do what used to take a couple of weeks at the most. During my Christmas vacation, I was able to put a nice dent in my work in progress, but when school resumed, I fell behind.
Now, a year later, I’m still not finished with the book and Kevin is getting antsy. Last week I told him that I would complete the first scrapbook this week during my vacation. He looked skeptical but he nodded and walked away.

Last night, I tore up my storage room/home office trying to find Kevin’s scrapbooks and materials. All I found was the empty b I had bought for the articles, but the one with the pictures were nowhere to be found. When I was packing for the move to my new place, I just knew I put his stuff in a bag by itself so it wouldn’t get messed up. But the bag wasn’t in the room, or in any of the closets. I had changed cars since then, so it wasn’t in the trunk. Kevin was going to kill me and I couldn’t blame him.

I called his cell phone a few times, but didn’t leave a voice mail. If he was going to yell and curse me out, I would have rather do that on the phone, so by the time I went back to work he would just be rolling his eyes at me. Since I didn’t have his work extension, I called my friend Keisha, who used to date him. I told her about losing the book and the pictures. Keisha told me to look through the stuff in the room again just in case I had overlooked it.

“But, it’s not here. I looked everywhere. He’s gonna be mad isn’t he?”

“Yeah, he really wanted that book,” Keisha said.

“I know and he’s been so patient. What am I gonna do?”

“Just look again, that’s the only thing I can tell you.”

“Something told me to scan those pictures, just in case…”

“See, you should have followed your first mind.”

“I know. You know what? Maybe I left Kevin’s stuff at the old house.”

“Girl, you know you should have cleaned that house up before you left.”

“It’s not like that; I mean I think I forgot to put it in the car when I was moving. The house is still vacant. I’m gonna go by there tomorrow and see if it’s still there.”

“You didn’t turn in the keys?”

“The landlord didn’t ask for them. She lives in California. I figured she would have someone here change the locks or something. I’ll go by there just in case.”

And guess what? The locks hadn’t been changed. As soon as I opened the door, I saw the bag with Kevin’s scrapbook and clippings laying on the room floor right where I had left them, two months ago. Lord have mercy!

I will definitely have the first scrapbook complete and the second one halfway done by Tuesday when I return to work. Never will I ever take on another project that I know I can’t handle.


ganymeder said...

Emotional impact achieved. My stomach clenched when you said you couldn't find his pictures, and I can imagine how irritated he was waiting so long when he paid you and it seemed like you were blowing him off. Post a follow up about when he gets his book; I need to know it worked out okay!

I really hope he likes the books you made! You are lucky that you were able to find everything. Whew!

Susie McCray's On the Scene said...

Thanks for reading ganymeder. Sorry I took so long to respond, but I will post and update of the scrapbook fiasco within the coming week.

Mizzez Melly Mel said...

I'm glad that you found his things because I was getting scared for you!

ShayShay said...

I bout fell out when you said..."A year later." You pulled the story right up to the present conflict. I like it!

Susie McCray said...

My schedule was so hectic then, but I'm glad things turned out okay. Hopefully, I'll have more time to dedicate to my next business venture.