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An exercise in dialogue usage.

Jaime paced nervously back and forth, by her front door. Once in awhile, she’d hear a slam and the woman would run to her window, but always came back, dejected, before resuming her pace.

She was so preoccupied, in fact, that she didn’t even notice the crisp steps on her sidewalk or the knock on her door. She jumped in surprise at the sound, smoothed her hair nervously, and opened it.

A young woman in her mid 20s of medium height stood in the door frame. She sported mousy brown hair, much like Jaime’s, and gray eyes.

For a moment, the two women stood staring at each other, as though in shock. Finally, Jaime spoke. “How did you get here? I didn’t hear your car.”

”I walked,” the young woman said in a high pitched tone. “I took a bus to your corner. I walked.”

Jaime nodded, accepting this, and immediately terminated their first opportunity for conversation.

They stood staring a little while longer. Finally, blushing profusely, Jaime stammered, “Forgive me- my manners- won’t you come in?”

She stepped aside and the woman cautiously entered. “Thank you,” she said, eyes darting around Jaime’s home.

Jaime took a deep breath. “You look good, Carrie.”

”Thank you,” the woman named Carrie responded. “You look good too.” Her eyes remained turned away from Jaime.

A pause. Then, “Mother said you were married.”

”Yes,” Carrie responded, a note of pride in her voice. “Just last month we celebrated our first year anniversary.”

”Oh,” Jaime said, thinking aloud. “I was finishing up my grad school work last year.”

”You went back to college?” Carrie asked, turning to look at Jaime.

”Yes,” Jaime said. “I wasn’t aware you knew I attended college at all.”

”Mother told me.”

”Of course.”

Another silence. Finally, Carrie cleared her throat and asked “How’s Dad?”

Shocked, Jaime looked at Carrie. “You mean, you haven’t spoken to him since-“

”Of course not,” Carrie said irritably. “I promised Mother I’d stay loyal to her. That bastard walked out on us.”

”He didn’t exactly walk out,” Jaime corrected. “They got divorced. He took me with him. Legally.”

”Yeah,” Carrie said, turning away. After a moment, she asked “When did you get in touch with Mother?”

”About eight years ago,” Jaime replied. “When I started my undergraduate work.”

”You know, she was really proud of you for going through with that.”

”I suppose so,” Jaime said. “She told you about it.”

”She said from the start she knew you’d achieve your dreams. Since you were born.”

”How could she know what my dreams were?” Jaime asked, a little angry. “I haven’t seen her since I was 10 years old.”

”You hold a grudge against her!” Carrie said, incredulous.

”I do not,” Jaime snapped. “It’s just hard- a hard life- growing up without a mother.”

”Likewise,” Carrie agreed. “Growing up without a father.”

Another silence. Then Jaime said “Anyway, Mother wanted me to get in touch with you so I did. It’s been 15 years-“

”I know.”

”Too long.”

”No,” Carrie said. “It’ll just take time. To get to know each other.”

Jaime laughed. “I’ve never said things like this before. Feels like I’m in a movie!”

”Yeah,” Carrie chuckled. She looked at her watch. “Ahh, shit. I’m horrible with time. I gotta meet Darien- my husband- in half an hour-“

”Of course!” Jaime said, blushing and moving toward the door. “I’ll see you out.”

”We’ll talk more next time,” Carrie promised. “I’m sure we can arrange something.”

”Yeah.” Jaime watched Carrie’s departing figure move down her sidewalk. “Hey, little sis?”

Carrie turned. “Yeah?” She had a look- was it happiness?- on her face.

”Let’s not wait another 15 years to get in touch.”

”OK.” Carrie grinned and suddenly Jaime thought she looked eight years old again. “It’s a promise.”

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