Short Story via Creative Nonfiction: The Expedition

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013

Roll: 4,6. Result: Short Story, Creative Nonfiction.

When I wrote this category as an option, I had to look it up to make sure it was a real thing, and also so that I knew what it meant. Turns out you just write about something that has happened (to you), but you dramatize it and make it exciting to read without lying per se. This could actually be considered creative nonfiction if I went on about the time I looked up a definition of creative nonfiction. Alas, my creative nonfiction is actually going to be about…

The Expedition: Going To CVS For Hand Lotion

I was here, sitting at this computer when it started. I stared at the paragraph of text I’d written in preparation for a creative nonfiction piece that would be about something I hadn’t yet experienced. I racked my brain for ideas, but none appeared, so I decided to disengage from the project for inspiration. I spun around, rising up for a stroll, cloaked with the off-white blanket my sister had given me. I paced in contemplation, briefly, before collapsing into a puddle of deflating blanket on my bed.

It was there, in my cave of wistful memories and snuggly retrospect, that I decided I’d make my adventure one that hadn’t happened yet. I was, after all, in need of hand lotion, and I’d forgotten until the sun began to go down. That would save me the effort of remembering something random and justifying it against all the multitudes of other possibilities, while also getting me that hand lotion when my current supply was running so low. I’d sliced open the bottle to get at the lotion the tube pump wouldn’t pick up; the experience of groping around in a cut-open bottle for goop to rub all over my hands was starting to get to me.

Sitting in the twilight of my blanket-cave, I ran my hand across the plush fabric’s interior, contemplating its majestic intimacy while Mumford & Sons cried out in the background. Yes, I would surely head out to CVS, just after I rest a bit, and enjoy this pleasant diversion. I laid down my head now, feeling my breaths deepen, the air in my small fort depleting itself of oxygen. I closed my eyes. Then, almost ashamed to be enjoying a blanket-fort by myself, I tossed it off, feeling the fresh cool air storm into my lungs. I threw on my coat, crammed my pockets with the daily pocket crammings, and flew downstairs.

“I’m going to CVS,” I declared to my father, seeing that he was fully engaged in a Battlefield 4 session and silently acknowledging that he would ask me to pick up something for dinner, since I would already be out. I sighed deeply, in annoyance, but thinking of this story, I accepted. Nobody wants to read about how I spurned my father’s request to go five minutes out of my way to pick up the food he would later cook for me like he does every night. I also would have accepted his request anyway, but this certainly made it easier. Who knew what surprises awaited me at the supermarket?

In the jeep, ignition. The radio popped on as I peeled backwards out of the driveway, shifting, pushing pedal to the floor to get up to the 35 mph I drive in my neighborhood. No cars out tonight. Turning off my road, I heard our beloved classic rock station release a surprising announcement: Now playing the top bands from the 90’s! I couldn’t believe it. This was huge. Ever since I started listening to that station, I wondered how long classic rock would be classic rock, and how long before new rock became classic. After all, recorded music is relatively new, especially rock.

Before long, I was parked, hollering to whatever song was on, before opening the door and realizing that the few people around me in the lot could probably hear my excellent voice, and not the radio it went along with. Despite this, I managed to play it cool, because who cares? Then the next dilemma. Italian squash, was that the same as zucchini? I remembered a time when I’d accidentally got zucchini instead of cucumber when I was little, and my mom made me eat some of it. That zucchini was long and thin (and gross). The italian squash I saw tonight was plump, like squash. But I knew that it was zucchini, I knew it was! I contemplated calling my sister to double check, but then I just googled it. For the search term “italian squash” a picture came up labeled “zucchini,” so that was that. Once I had the squash, the chicken was easy, although I did have to get two and a half pounds due to egregious packaging.

I paid and booked it. I turned on the radio leaving the parking lot and heard Green Day. I almost cried, thinking that I was on the classic rock station, but I was listening to the alt-rock one, so I chuckled, breathing a sigh of relief. And then I was at CVS, letting an old Asian man and his two blonde girl-children cross the parking lot in front of me. Lotion, check, deodorant, new scent! (check), toothpaste, check. I failed to present my CVS card and the phone number look-up didn’t work (again), so I got $4.00 in Extrabucks for a card which “doesn’t exist!” as the old man helping me said. We laughed. I left.

There was a moment, coming out of the parking lot, where there is an awkward lowercase-k street junction, when I thought I’d never get home. It was like double-stacked traffic. But really after about 30 seconds I was out and got straight home.

Then I threw the food in the fridge, put away my hygiene supplies, and sat down to write about it.

And I lived happily ever after.



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