Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Breeze from the Past

I was looking through some high school files from my old laptop when I happened upon a language and composition assignment from my junior year. This was one of my favorite assignments ever, and my teacher, Mr. Trainer, had made it into a contest. The assignment was to write a fictional scene based on Pierre-Auguste Renior's 1881 painting, Luncheon of the Boating Party. I remember spending so much time (out of enjoyment) writing and editing my piece and being furious after handing it in when my teacher announced that he eliminated any piece that used the word "wifebeater" or "beater," claiming that it was inaccurate to use that term since they did not exist back in 1881.
I was so mad. I wanted him to at least recognize how well thought out my writing was and to receive some acknowledgment for my talent, or at least my hard work. It's funny but thinking about it gets me a bit tense even now, haha.

Anyways, here it is for your perusal! 

Rebecca Zhang
Mr. Trainer
Lang and Comp
3 December 2009
Pierre-Auguste Renior’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881
Finally, she had some time to talk to him. Well, if only the man hovering over her would walk away and reunite with his admirer, the flushed-face girl who rested her lovely face and hands on her elbows by the railing. The young woman eyed the man above her kindly and politely, pulling the corners of her lips apart in a tense smile. She wore a cerulean afternoon dress, most appropriate for resembling the waves made by the boat she was on for the luncheon. The dress was decorated with a patterned, frilled lapel and she wore a soft, brimless, sailor-themed hat that limped on the top of her burnt-orange curls. Her scalp must be protected from the beating sun, as her mother had reminded her. Across the small table, her sister, only eleven of age, sat alone, still too shy and naïve to relinquish the staged infatuation over her puppy and introduce herself to the many eligible bachelors.
            The young woman could see from the periphery of her view her childhood companion whom she had not talked to in years. He seemed happy. Unlike her, he was content with just sitting next to her on the rocking ferry and staring out into the lake to rest his eyes on the rows of sailboats and trees floating there. She wanted to talk to him. He had taken off his catering uniform and was wearing a relaxed white wifebeater and a boater just like the rest of the workers. He was leaned back in his seat with his hands anchored on the antlers of the wooden chair to secure himself. He smiled just as he had when he was only a boy, with the ends of his lips slightly curled up as if he could see many happy events happening in the near future. She didn’t know why he hadn’t stopped smiling. His father had left his mother and his mother died soon after-from heartbreak they said. He has been earning his own livelihood since then. And he catered for all her dining needs this whole morning while she indulged herself with imported champagne and sweet fruits. What could she say to him- “I’m sorry?” For what? Maybe it was better to allow the other man to keep talking.
            The towering man wore an ivory knit sweater over his clothes and no boater, probably to stand out among his workers. One of his hands wrapped around the far side of her chair and the other gripped one side of the chair beside her. His hand was too close to hers. She wasn’t even listening to the smooth words scurrying out of his mouth. How could he be trying to impress her when he knew he was slowly breaking the heart of another girl?
            The scratchy white fabric of her dress was itching her skin- was it the heat? Her thin hat could slip off her head at any time. She wished the burly man would stop leaning over the railing. He could tip the boat over. There was too much chatter and … she needed a break.

No comments:

Post a Comment