Yellow Sweater

United States

Zinnia | she/her | bi | agnostic | 18 | WA

2021-2022 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate

Elitist Atlantic Subscriber (jk, but I do think the Atlantic does some awsome journalism)

I don't necessarily agree with my own assertions

Message to Readers

I might have set this story in the early 2000s just so I could reference my favorite band... Also, I was watching a lot of Gilmour Girls.

I have started editing and re-publishing some old stories, because, well I am a bit bored. I hope it isn't too annoying:)


April 17, 2021


Suffocating in the stiff silence of the fish course, I blurted it out. “I finally decided on a major.” 

“Oh yes? What is it going to be? Economics, Pre-Law... Please don’t tell me you decided to go for History. Useless subject.” My father looked up from his halibut. “I understand that undergrad is a time to experiment, but its primary purpose is to prepare you for graduate school. I want to be sure I am leaving the company to someone at least partially competent."


My mother pursed her lips, setting down both her knife and her fork. “Theater.” She repeated slowly. She sat there for a while, unsure of what to do with her empty hands. “When have you ever shown any interest in acting.”

“Theater isn’t just about performance. It’s the study of how we present ourselves. We explore the line between seeming and being by becoming.” 

My father scoffed. “Philosophy is even worse than history.” 

“I am not majoring in philosophy or history. I am majoring in theater. ” 

“Theater is something you take a class in, dear, not something you major in.” My mother laughed nervously. 

“You can check Cornell’s syllabus. Theater is listed as both a major and a minor.” 

“Then why don’t you minor in theater? And major in something a bit more… practical.” 

“Because he is an absolute idiot. The only reason he was able to attend college at all is because we are paying his way in!”  

“That's true. I remember my high school GPA. It was 3.35 precisely. So I might as well make the most of the experience by majoring in theater. God only knows how much you would have to pay to get me into grad school if I majored in economics.” I grinned, pushing in my chair and kissing my mother on the cheek. “The fish was lovely.” 

“Sebastian, dear, why don’t you take some back to your dorm? Your father and I are exhausted from that ridiculous charity gala last night and we are feeling like an early night.” 

I smirked. “I’ll just head out now. The cafeteria makes excellent fish. I wouldn’t want to keep you up. I’ll probably just head to bed as well, I have an audition tomorrow.” I sighed dramatically. “See you sometime?” I sighed again. “I suppose that question is entirely rhetorical.”  

My mother tried to walk me to the door, but she couldn’t keep up. I snatched my coat and slipped out into the freezing November night, collapsing into the driver’s seat of my Porsche. There was nothing more exhausting than dinner with my parents. We shared the same excruciating mannerisms, but our ideologies couldn’t be more different.

They appreciated Reagan and thought Bush was the best thing to ever happen to this country; I was a dilettante socialist with a closet full of Armani. Yet still they expected me to take over the company. I had to admire my parents' stead-fast commitment to their mafia-like corruption of capitalism. I hardly even knew what it was that my father did. It was something that involved the stock market and lots of lawyers.

I scowled in the direction of my families’ manor. It was immaculately boring, with its brick walls, tidy climbing vines and well groomed driveway. I started up the car. Dinner couldn’t have gone much worse, but in some ways it was a relief. Simple defiance was much cleaner than diplomacy. I hoped they wouldn’t invite me back for at least the next couple weeks. I followed the medieval yellow lanterns out onto the dark highway. 

I drove back towards Ithaca on route 81. But after only a mile or so, I pull off to the side of the road. I needed a soundtrack. I reached into the glove department where I kept all of my CDs. Elliot smith? No, too depressing. The Velvet Underground, too depressing as well. Belle and Sebastian? Just depressing enough. Ever since I had found a copy of If You're Feeling Sinister in the back of a run -down record store in Brooklyn, I'd become obsessed with the Scottish Indie Rock band. It was probably in part because my name was Sebastian, but listening to their music was like curating a persona. And that was what college was about. That was what acting was about.  

A light snow began to fall as I sang along to “A Century of Fakers”. I turned up the heat, tapping anxiously on the steering wheel, the endless rows of almost barren trees fading into a blur. I was worried about what I would wear to my audition the next day.

It was around eleven when I finally pulled into Cornell’s parking lot and crept up the stairs to my dorm. My roommate was still awake sprawled out on our dilapidated couch with a bowl of popcorn, watching Friends. I collapsed onto the couch. Raising my eyebrows, I gestured to the screen. “Missing me?” 

He shoved me away from his popcorn. “No, I am missing my actual friends. How was dinner with your parents?” 
I smiled. “I don’t think they will be coming to my audition tomorrow.” 

“Probably for the best. Seeing you get cast as a tree wouldn't improve your case.”

“If 19th century France was grim for humans, it’s nothing compared to what the trees were going through. They had no concept of sustainability back then.”   

He chuckled. “You are really taking that ecology class to heart.” 

“Of course, I want to better understand my characters.” 

“Honestly though, what part are you hoping to get.” 

I lunged for the popcorn, dodging his swat. “Jean Valjean obviously, who wouldn’t want to be the lead.” I smirked. “Though I do think I would make an excellent Cosette.” He laughed. “You are far too privileged. Jean Valjean would feel guilty for stealing my popcorn!” I grabbed another fistful. 

“Enjolras then, I would start a popcorn revolution!” I reached for the remote. 

“I would cast you as Marius. Even when your revolutions fail, you end up getting all the popcorn.”
Previously published on Reedsy. 


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  • April 17, 2021 - 9:13pm (Now Viewing)

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  • The_Sunrise_Queen

    this is awesome! are you planning on writing a second part?

    3 months ago
  • Nyla

    "My father scoffed. “Philosophy is even worse than history.” " -are these my parents? lolll
    "mafia-like corruption of capitalism" was an incredible description and "tidy climbing vines" -why is that so idyllic?
    "tapping anxiously on the steering wheel, the endless rows of almost barren trees fading into a blur" -I could totally imagine that.
    And I love how you focus on something as simple as popcorn at the ending. This story in general is pretty amazing because I love how you tie in the injustices in our society (like having people able to pay their way into ivy leagues- there was that whole soccer scandal right) and at the same time I find it kind of funny that the parents want their kid to do something practical when if you look at some people who are set up for life stick to studying things like art history. But I guess this kid is probably new money not old which explains that. Anyways, as usual, I love this! And HAHA, the song part with the "just depressing enough" made me instantly love this character cause I mean, same haha

    5 months ago
  • JonesyL123

    This story is so brilliantly written! You built atmosphere so well with the snow and the manor house, I felt truly immersed in the setting. The scenes and characters felt so realistic that I felt as though I was sat there with them.
    Keep writing :)

    5 months ago