Prompt 35: “Well, to be honest, I threw it away.”
PRIVATE: Diary of Leanne Sawroski
April 1, 1986
Today is the worst day of my life. A poor, orphaned kid from Vietnam that my stupid mom adopted off the TV or something, arrives today. I’m totally bummed out. Why me????? I was supposed to make a space for her in the room, but I haven’t. Better go Diary, I hear my name being bellowed.
Later in my tragic day . . .
Happy April Fool’s Day Diary. This year the joke’s on me, and it just moved into my room. Phat Pang, that’s her name. Phat Pang. Oh Diary, she barely speaks English and completely butchers the Engrish words she does know. She says things like “me rike lice” and “I from Bietnam.” She sounds so stupid. She smells like meaty soup.
April 10, 1986
I have to help mom make food for her stupid friends. She’s invited them over to show-off Phat. Mom thinks that adopting an older orphan makes her appear very, very compassionate, which she is not – just ask my dad.
Mom decided to make Vietnamese style hors d’oeuvres. The only problem is she doesn’t know a fucking thing about Vietnam or what those people like to eat. I suggested she make American food to introduce Phat to her new diet (an improvement, I’m sure). I read somewhere they like to eat LIVE eels. It explains so much about Phat.
Clearly mom didn’t take my advice. Here’s the gourmet menu:
- Tuna Helper served on rice crackers
- Frozen eggrolls with a spicy brown (her description) dipping sauce
- Minute Rice with red pimentos
- Fortune cookies
- Bartles & James assorted wine coolers
Wow, this is going to be a gong show!
April 12, 1986
I have to take Phat with me to school and “introduce her to my friends.” Mom took her and me shopping and totally bought Phat more clothes than I’ve ever gotten and she keeps pointing out how nice Phat looks in jeans because she has “such a nice figure.” I know that’s a stab at me. So I’ve gained a couple of fucking pounds. Big deal.
April 15, 1986
Oh, Diary, what another horrifying PHAT day. I hate her so much. Suddenly her Engrish is really good with all my friends, especially Jeff. I told her I liked him, but she pretended she didn’t understand. Jeff asked her all kinds of questions about Vietnam and she never once said “me no understand” like she always does with me. She batted her eyelashes like a couple of fans on a sweltering day. It was sick. He didn’t even look at me once because he was too busy looking at her tiny ass in the tight jeans MY mom bought for her.
May 23, 1989
It’s been awhile since we talked, Dairy. Things have been really crappy for me what with my parents getting divorced and me being forced to go to a counselor because I’m an “angry young girl with behavioural problems.” Whatever.
Anyway, I’m graduated from high school today, which was hell. Phat gave a stupid boring speech that made all the emotionally unstable mothers cry. She went on and on about her supportive new family and friends and all the opportunities she has in America. She got a standing ovation. I nearly puked. And to top it off, Phat and Jeff won the couple of the fucking century at the graduation dance. Oh, and Phat is going to some fancy university in New York. Big deal. I’m going to work and travel for a couple of years. Get some real life experience before I go to school.
September 15, 1991
It happened yesterday, Diary. I gave birth to a baby girl. Her name is Alexis. It hurt a lot and I was sad I was all alone, until I held Alexis – then I knew I would never be alone again. Mom was by earlier, but had to leave to pick-up Phat at the airport. Apparently, Jeff asked Phat to marry him. Mom is all excited to help her plan the wedding. I told her not to bother bringing Phat to see my baby. I’ve got an apartment with a spare room for Alexis. I painted it light yellow and decorated it with ducks. I’m excited to show my new baby girl our home!
January 1, 2003
Happy fucking New Year! Ya, whatever. Last night was hell. Every drunk asshole in the city staggered into my 7-11. One guy called me a fat, ugly bitch because I didn’t have his kind of cigarettes. Oh, and Phat is on the cover of People. I drew a mustache and horns on her sickly smiling face to make myself feel better. To top off my crappy night, Alexis and her friend drank my last beers. Little bitches. I told them not to, but who the fuck listens to me.
July 24, 2006
Well Diary, I’m going to be a grandmother at the ripe old age of 36!!! Alexis is due in December. We’re both hoping the baby is born on Christmas – that would be totally cool.
Last night, I saw Phat hosting Saturday Night Live. Why does everybody think she’s so “amazing” and “deserved the award for her outstanding performance.” I saw that movie she was in about Bietnam and I didn’t think she was all that great.
I woke up in the hospital. There are a lot of machines around me. Everything hurts. A nurse asked me if I knew where I was. I didn’t. Then a doctor came in and told me I had been in a very serious car accident and was lucky to be alive. He told me I’d been in an induced coma for two months while the swelling in my brain went down. I asked if I could walk. He said yes.
Later the police came. I was to be charged with drunk driving. They said I was lucky that I didn’t kill someone. I disagreed. I wished I’d killed me.
What’s that saying, you can never go home again. Well, diary, I’m going home.
March 23, 2014
Diary, Phat came to visit mom. It was sickening how Phat said she is the success she is because of my mom, who soaked it up like a dirty dish sponge. Oh, Phat, you were the daughter I always wanted. Oh, Phat, you are so kind and generous and talented. Oh, Phat, blah, blah, blah. Then Phat asked me what I’ve been doing all these years. Like she didn’t know. Mom would have certainly blabbed to her about the fact that I haven’t worked since my accident; that my daughter hates me and I haven’t seen my grandson since he was born; that I drink away the hours I can’t sleep away. So, I told her, “Well, to be honest, Phat, I threw it away.” It felt like the most honest thing I’ve ever said.
13 thoughts on “PRIVATE: Diary of Leanne Sawroski”
Ingenious use of the prompt! I loved the diary style of this and the way you had a young woman full of hope gradually turn into an unhappy and bitter person. Great stuff!
TiV, I think of all your stories thus far, I like this one the best! The episodic way in which you covered this unhappy woman’s life was creative and imaginative. Good job!
Thanks so much, Kate!! I can really see some progress in my writing, so you comment is very meaningful!
This was very emotionally charged and as it swelled and roiled to its conclusion, the evocation of images was incredibly strong. Truly well written.
Gosh, thanks!! I like the idea of diary stories! I may write more!
Under the wire! I’m glad you’re writing more. Thus was an interesting piece.
I’d taken a couple of weeks off — summer got in the way! Glad to be back!
Oh my gosh, what a tragic portrait! I guess I don’t see as much humor as might be intended, as there is a fair bit of alcoholism in my family and it has ruined several lives.
No humour intended beyond that of a character’s perspective, which is how she deals with things! Thanks for your thoughtful insight in it!!
I like how the smoothly the story transitions from one scene to the other even though several years goes by. You told a whole life in a few paragraphs without it feeling disjointed. I feel so sorry for Leanne! It’s hard enough to adjust to an adopted sibling without having your mother fawn all over her.