So this year I have undertaken my first unit in creative writing as an add on to my degree. We had to write an excerpt from a short story and so here it is for you all! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it. X
Trials of the Pass
Anne shuffled into the bathroom pausing briefly in front of the mirror, she barely recognised herself these days. Each day had appeared to take their toll as she closely examined the lines that now streaked her tired face. Her once dark brown hair that had reminded her of rich chocolate was now a faded memory taken over by the grey stricken muck that now replaced it. The only thing that seemed familiar to her was those emerald green eyes that always seemed to show more emotion than anticipated. She remembered the first day they had moved here, the light that had shone in his eyes, the creases that formed at the sides of his cheeks as he smiled at her eager to tackle whatever the city folk might throw at them. She had always admired his thrill for life and the comfort that she had felt in facing the crowds with him by her side. Anne quickly steadied herself as she grasped the hand basin, it had been a week since she had thought about him and it was enough to take her by surprise. She knew now that his memory would haunt her for the rest of the day creeping up on her when she least expected it, she sighed deeply at the thought of it, at the thought of him. Once his image had faded from her vision she shuffled her way to the front door and braced herself for yet another dreary day. It was the stepping out that was always the hardest for Anne as the fear of being swallowed up in to the sea of bodies plagued her mind. The faceless mass of people scared her as they all seemed to be pushing their way to somewhere better only ever stopping to throw the remnants of their liquid breakfasts in the bin or to put out the light of their cancer sticks as she liked to call them. Slowly she joined the mass and began her journey deeper into the heart of the city center. Apart from a few passing grumbles that she had in time had learnt to ignore, there was no real sense of familiarity. It was this particular characteristic of the city life that troubled her greatly, no matter how many times she walked the same path to the Maxwell Cafe there was no real sense of intimacy. No two faces were the same and there were no features that she was able to recognise; and so in time she began to stop looking and allowed herself to slip slowly in to the background. Finally she arrived at the Maxwell a little out of breath as well as a little dishevelled as she had to pick up the pace to avoid her consumption in to the crowd, there had been a lot more people out and about this morning which made Anne more nervous than usual. Leaving her fear at the door she headed inside and over to the pleasantly small table, and nestled herself into the comfort that that the seat was able to provide her. It wasn’t the first time that Anne had ventured to where she was now patiently waiting for the delivery of her menu; in fact Anne had been coming to the Maxwell Cafe for well over a month now. Each day taking refuge at the exact same table, number twenty.
Just like she thought there he was creeping up on her again, she was thinking about how Albert would of liked this cafe as it had all the characteristics that he had thought a cafe should have; just enough light so that you weren’t eating your food in the dark or from the glare of the sun, enough people were dining to know that the food is good and accompanying this rhythm of conversation and the clanging of cutlery to plates are the soft melodies of Frank Sinatra playing somewhere in the background. Anne secretly never cared much for Sinatra but she always made sure at dinner time that she had the tape playing just so that she could watch him smile as he nodded his head swiftly in time to the music. “Good morning Anne, how are you today? Would you like me to place an order for your usual or would you like to take a look at the menu this time?” Startled by the waitresses presence Anne was snapped back to reality once again leaving the memories of Albert behind. She quickly replied in a somewhat awkward manner “Oh, hie Ella, ah yes I’m ok thanks, how are you? Ah no I don’t think I’ll look at the menu today I’ll just get my usual for breakfast thanks”. The waitress smiled sweetly as she replied “only ok, that’s no good Anne I hope it picks up for you, me oh I’m great thanks I honestly couldn’t be better, well maybe if I wasn’t at work” she chuckled melodically at her attempt at a joke and assured Anne that it wouldn’t be too long a wait until her food would be served.
Anne always looked forward to her conversations with Ella, no matter how fleeting, the truth was that Anne normally found most forms of social interaction difficult these days and as a result avoided it as much as possible only ever speaking when spoken to or when it seemed necessary. However with Ella it was different, she wasn’t sure if maybe it was simply that she was just good at her job or if there was more to the situation the she realised. Anne examined Ella watching closely as she bustled around the other tables leaving a trail of smiles in her wake. It was hard not to smile when you were around such a charismatic character as Ella; Anne too had caught herself similarly to that of the other customers smiling after some of their conversations. An action that now felt somewhat foreign to her. Ella however always seemed to be smiling; it was one of those smiles that lit up the entire face, her bright red lipstick stained lips was an image that Anne could never forget. And one that she admired. Anne many a times had examined Ella like she had done to herself earlier that morning. She was a pretty young lady Anne had thought, and over time she had come to the conclusion that Ella wasn’t plain like she was; she supposed that Ella was what the youth might refer to as trendy; always sporting bold necklaces and other jewellery that seemed to match the particular shade of lipstick that she had selected for the day, her lush blonde hair was always pinned neatly on the top of her head providing Anne with a constant reminder as to how old she was becoming. Before Anne could get too lost in thought Ella had returned to the table and in one swift movement she placed the plate in front of her, and just as quickly as she had arrived she was gone leaving Anne to eat her breakfast in peace.
She looked at the plate closely, one piece of dry toast; two eggs slightly runny; one piece of crunchy bacon and to the side the most important component a dish filled with barbeque sauce. She loved barbeque sauce and had for as long as she could remember. She ate it with just about everything and chuckled slightly at the comments that Albert had always made about her need for it, her defence was that it was the only thing that made her meals interesting. It was the only argument that they both were able to agree on. She shook the thoughts away before taking a bite of toast. Anne had actually many a time thought about looking at the menu to see if there was something a bit more adventurous that she could try but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. She’d become content with her choice and she couldn’t see the point in ordering something that she potentially may not like; and it was this truth that allowed Anne to forget about how boring or plain her meal may seem because in all honesty it suited her just fine. She had come to terms with her simplicity a long time ago and her breakfast was now just one reflection of it. She didn’t see the point in dressing up in fancy clothes and applying masks of make-up, she was happy with her plain white shirt and black slacks just as she was happy with her plain culinary decisions. The reality of the matter was that she’d come to rely heavily upon the safety that these routines provided, and so she sat in silence at table twenty watching the waves of people passing by slowly scraping up every mouthful until like Albert it was gone.
"I need someone to pour myself into."-Sylvia Plath (via drunk-on-books)
"I just wanna hold your hand."-6-word story (via heartsofanchors)
Layered screen print, 2012, 1/20
A collaboration of letters and imagery that I received in the post. Bit of an oldie.
"Don’t get mad. Don’t get even. Get stronger, faster, and more powerful. Fill yourself with
-Apollo Anton Ohno (via franki-e)
knowledge and empathy and an indomitable spirit because no one else can do that for you.
In the end, it’s your life, your choice, and your world. Give 110%, always."
One of my newer faves.
(Source: bearandtheboat / Jon G:))
So I guess for me I am proud that I tried. Not crying over spilled milk is hard but if anything it’s taught me to keep my heart strong and to be content with the fact that I tried even though there was a risk of failing. This new found confidence in myself has made me hopeful and I know I can hold my head high and just forget it. There’s someone out there and when it happens it’ll happen. I’ve always been one to hold on to shit whether that be people, clothing, junk, books etc. never in an out of control way more the stigma or emotion behind them. I love to remember and sometimes find it difficult to forget it, even when I know it’s best. So for now I’ll happily take this new outlook and simply forget and move on, knowing that I am a better person because of it.
Print 1/100, Original Art work, 2013 graduate exhibition, “journeys of passing”