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     How did I come to this week’s blog? Well I caught up on some television watching and came across a quote to open a writing project…practice. Then I watched a movie, and scrapped the firs blog, to write a new more personal blog…as I began to write it, I remembered giving elements of that story in prior blogs, bits and pieces, but elements of the same story just the same. Therefore, I went back to my first idea, and that is still in the works, therefore I grabbed a practice piece about bystanders or witnesses to a scene in Blue Lines.Reader be warned, there is some strong language and content.

      Jason rubbed his head and pulled his coat collar to his neck.
       “Damn I didn’t know it got this cold in San Fran,” he whispered as he darted across Howard to get to Starbucks. He looked out to see if his co-worker Will was waiting for him at the coffee shop. After Jason was positioned under the awning he shook off and wiped the water from his sunglasses and face and frowned. The sky was an electric blue and rain fell ferociously.
      “Damn my head is killing me.”
      “What’s up,” he was interrupted by Will. “Let’s go and grab a cup, what happened with to you last night? That girl was hot,” he nudged with his elbow.
      “S–t,” Jason shook his head from his hangover. “I don’t remember a f–king thing,” he answered still wondering why his hotel room looked like a war zone. All he could recall was them leaving the bar at the Marriott, other than that, nothing. “Damn,” he sighed looking at the line extending from the side door of Starbucks. “Want to find another one?”
     “No, this is fine. You look like s–t, are you going to make it through the sessions today?”
     “Yeah,” Jason grunted as the stale scent of coffee beans crept into his nose, as the made it through the threshold of the store.
     “Mocha Frappuccino for Keri.”
     “Non-fat Caffe Mocha for Lynn.”
     “What will you have?”
     Jason’s head spun and he felt sick at various moments, but held his composure. He shook his head.
     “So, seriously you don’t remember anything? That girl was hot. Blonde,” he began hoping it would jog Jason’s memory. “She said she liked it rough,” he offered. “Damn, nothing,” he shook his head, “whatever.”
     “Yeah, whatever,” Jason quickly panicked and checked his wallet for his money and credit card. He sighed in relief that everything was still in place. “This is fucking ridiculous, no coffee is this good,” he opined.
     “Then why do you want it,” Will replied to Jason’s silence.
     “F–k you,” Jason grunted jokingly as a girl chain smoking in the rain wearing a goose down jacket caught his eye.      “F–k is she doing,” he pointed out for Will as the line slowly trudged along. He noticed that although she had a hood, her head was uncovered.
     “S–t, I don’t know. Can’t afford any coffee,” he chuckled acerbically.
     “Well, did you get any last night,” Jason tried to start a conversation.
     “Shit yeah. Man she did everything. Lick, s–k, f–k, whew,” he exclaimed laughing, “last night was great. At least what I remember,” he continued to the visible disgust of those around.
     “Soy latte for Chris.”
     “What about your fiancé,” Jason glanced over with his hand against his head.
     “S–t, we’re not married yet,” he laughed and a woman standing in line before them frowned and looked away. “Yeah whatever,” he shot to Jason, but truly meant it for the patron. “Dude, I won’t do it once the wedding happens, just gotta get it out of my system,” he laughed. “I would say, ‘if you saw her,’ but you were done. S–t you don’t even know if you got any. I hope you don’t end up populating San Fran,” he laughed.
     “May I help you sir,” the barista asked Jason behind a display replete with Danishes and breakfast sandwiches.
     “Uh, whatever your bold is, add shots,” he answered caught off-guard. “I don’t need room for cream.”
     “What’s your name? Double Shot in the dark for Jason,” the barista yelled out.
     “Jason,” he simply answered.
     “And for you sir?”
     “Caramel Macchiato and one of the sandwiches,” he pointed.
     Jason paid for both, out of happiness that he had not been robbed. He looked up as he replaced his wallet in his suit jacket and noticed that the girl was still standing in the rain. She was a black girl with a sandy complexion, which made him think that if he liked black girls, she would look similar to that. He noticed that he could not make out her upper body due to the bubble jacket she wore, but that her features seemed “soft” to him, although her face was very tense. Her jeans fit her body well and he noticed their curve around her legs and they flared slightly at the bottom.
     “Double shot in the dark, Jason. Caramel Macchiato, Will,” their completed order was called out.
Jason leaned near a tall small table without chairs and sipped the dark beverage.
     “Want a little chocolate,” Will laughed, having noticed that Jason had looked at the girl outside again.”
     “No,” he sipped.
     “She is kind of hot, I guess, if you like that sort of thing,” Will countered.
     “Dude, you’re an ass,” Jason responded semi-shocked at how Will’s comments revealed the prejudices of Jason’s prior thoughts. He noticed her shake her head and then turn from the rain to walk toward a table where another young woman sat, visibly affected by the cold. Then he noticed that although she was standing in the rain, her eyes were red and swollen and her face was covered with tears. He could not place the feeling exactly, but he was deeply saddened.
     “She’s crying,” he uttered and Will looked up. His cockiness seemed to subside and he seemed bothered. Something that Jason had never seen in Will’s face.
     The sadness he felt was layered. He had always thought of himself as a “good” person. He did not dislike people because of their race, he had told himself. Yet, in this instance, he had looked at the young woman, and first saw her as “black” and “strange” for standing in the rain. When he had noticed her the second time, he thought about whether he could “fuck” her. Stared at her “ass.” But it took a third time to see that she was a woman, a person. Seeing her a third time led him to see that she was hurting, and from the looks of it far more than he could imagine. “What could he do,” he thought.
     “Man, just stop staring,” Will offered as he pulled a stool that had just been left.
     “Yeah, okay,” Jason obliged as he watched the girl walk back into the rain. Her crying had begun to shake her body as he assumed that she was using the rain to mask her pain. He shook his head.
     “Yeah man, I don’t remember a thing from last night. Well I know that I drank way too much.”
     “You spew,” Will asked trying to lighten their deflated moods.
     “No, but I felt like it a few times in here.”
     “You almost fell out last night…you could barely walk. Man, I can’t believe you don’t remember.” Will’s eye caught the girl again. “Man, I’m sorry but I can’t take this. This is killing me, I’m going to ask if she needs anything,” he said getting up. “I’ll be back.”
     As Jason watched him walk toward the exit, the girl’s friend got up, whispered something into her ear and walked her to a cab at the curb. He saw Will stand in the same spot as the cab drove off shrugging his shoulders as he had missed her.
     Jason felt that he had lost and gained something on this day. He had lost some of his self respect and knew that he would now question himself and his thoughts and actions. He had gained a better respect that differences were more individual than by color of ones skin. He almost laughed at the “After school special,” thought of it in his head, but he did believe it.
     “Jason, let’s go to the first session,” Will offered as he grabbed his cup from the table. He shook his head and quietly they left Starbucks.

     The manuscript Blue Lines is the fictional coming of age narrative of my protagonist a young California woman KLW, and her 2 year growing journey through school, love, and life. A period piece, written by Kenneth Suffern, Jr., taking place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between the years of 1997 – 1998. Loosely based on true events, and experiences during that time, told through the eyes and voice of the main female protagonist, a freshman first attending the school.