The Train Ride

I breathed a sigh of relief as I slid into my seat, which was thankfully unoccupied. Plonking my belongings on the plastic table with the typical Monday-morning monotony. The familiar feel of the ridge where the seat had worn with time was a strange comfort. As the train clunked into motion, groggy as the bodies inside, my hand pressed deeper into the cushiony filling with the curiosity of a child.

***

Just in time. I catch my breath as the train pulls up. Fumbling for my ticket, a jangle of keys and coins, and relieved sigh puffs from my lips. I straighten it out, smoothing my fingers over the creases.

***


After sliding my glasses back up for the hundredth time, I dumped them on the table, perhaps a little too carelessly. The fuzzy shapes merged together like I’d dunked a painting in water and the colours had seeped into a blurry brown, vaguely resembling the original shape. I loved playing this game at night, driving through the city, watching all of the lights twinkle against the blackness.

 ***

The air is tangy with the scent of stale coffee. I scoot into the nearest seat. Beside me, behind the pages of a newspaper, is a wrinkled forehead. I wonder whether the wrinkles are from concentration or age, and settle for a bit of both. Still, the guy is oblivious to me. I shift my gaze, scanning the carriage like a bored child in search of amusement. Immediately a pair of dark eyes lock on to mine, peeking from under a thick, black fringe. Before I wonder why, my eyes wander to her mouth. Lips slightly parted, the kind of mouth that speaks without words. Just a creeping smile or tentative twist of the lips movement will tell you everything;. Her eyes are still fixed on me. She’s too far away to tell, but there’s a lost look in her. Is she daydreaming? She looks too resolute for that. Do I stare back? A wave of embarrassment flushes my cheeks. I fiddle with the ticket, smoothing out the creases. When I return my gaze she has gone.

***

My glasses bobbed up and down slightly as I hurried down the stairs. Curly black tendrils flew wildly in the wind. I’d missed my stop. A taxi was my only hope to get to the meeting on time. Why did I let myself lose track of time again? Between heavy breaths I let out curses. I needed to pull myself together. And start running.

The taxi driver asked a second time where I wanted to go. As I stared at the stranger in the car, who waited for my answer, forehead creased, I didn’t tell him the office building. Quietly, the name fell from my lips as I remembered. Jake.

***

I am walking. My legs take me to the space she left. It’s only on reaching it that I realise what I am doing. I stare at the seat, torn and faded, with stuffing poking out of the corners. Scratched into the plastic table is a wonky flower. An empty coffee cup and a newspaper. Peeking in the corner of the first page is a yellow post-it note. “Don’t be late for meeting! Bread. Cheese.” Then underneath, crossed out twice, “Break up with–.” Beside it, crossed out once, “Tell Jake.” Poor guy, I mutter. I slide into the seat, examining the long, cursive letters. My foot meets an object on the floor. A glasses case. The same looping handwriting is inside the empty case. Dorothy Poole.

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All I Saw Was You


I walked.
In the distance
The moon hung
Lonely in the blackness…
Violent flashes of neon,
Pink and red and green;
An eruption of raucous laughter,
Clattering ‘clack clack’ of heels.
The hungry-eyed pack stumbled past,
Leaving their boozy breath to linger
Among the air thick with desire
And the drifting wafts of Kung Pao.
People everywhere;
A cacophony of words
That were fired into the dark,
Like the blistering blaze of the city lights-
Whispers, shouts, fiery chants,
Sparks fizzling
Out into the throng of endless noise.
My lips were closed.
I walked, soaking it all in.
“Hey, Nath!”
I turned,
Alcohol, warm and sweet,
Greeted me on his slack mouth
Twisting into a laugh.
But before my lips formed the words,
A friendly, heavy arm flopped around him
And he was tugged away,
Eyes twinkling…
I walked on.
I heard his hearty chuckle
Dwindling away
And a smile bubbled across my face,
Shuffling along in my worn old Converse,
Immersed in the buzz;
Charged on the wild, intoxicated air
Of the frenzied night

Then her hair swung in the breeze.
That flurry of feathery blonde-
Only they weren’t my fingers
Running through the tendrils.
It wasn’t my mouth pressed to hers,
My body tangled in hers.

Someone shoved past me,
Shoulders sharp against mine,
Except I didn’t feel it.
I didn’t hear the hyena laughter,
The thud of club music,
The rush of cars.
I was drowning…
Choking on her distant,
Honey laughter.
I didn’t taste booze-laden air
Only bile,
Creeping slowly.
My hands didn’t feel the swing;
Didn’t feel the crack of knuckle
Against cheekbone
My throat didn’t feel the sting
Of burning bitter words,

All I saw was you
When the Earth stopped turning.

Dear Sleep

You lure me in with the promise of dreams…
The abandonment of the this world’s restraints
For a better one.
You tempt me with the escape
From the bitterness
Of life’s disappointments,
Like the sweet chime of a bell.
You tell me,
Do it tomorrow,
Wait for the next day.
And I listen
To your soothing voice;
I push aside the pile of books
Lunging into the comforting cocoon
Of the duvet.
I bathe in the peace,
As the last lingering grasp
On consciousness
Is slowly unfurled and I am released
Into your powers.

Then, you tear me away-
Ears pricked by the evil scream
Of the clock
I am pulled from the quiet sanctity;
Ripped into the cold air,
Staring at the harsh glare
Of the electric light.

The day is long:
It was you that told me
To wait, to push things aside
Just so you could snatch me away.
And now I am drunk-
On the lack of you-
As I stare at the blank screen
That must be filled soon;
The books laid on the shelf,
Waiting to be read.

As I stare at these things,
Which I must do before I can
Return to you
I know that it is impossible
Without you.

Without you
My brain goes numb,
My heart and body sags,
My eyes itch to close once more…

Without you
The pierce of pessimism
Stings my aching soul
And I cannot stand it.

All of my fears and worries
And demons
Flood before my eyes,
And even when it’s time
To let you back,
We battle
Because my demons are
All too often
Stronger than you
And I rise again
Sunken and weary.

Announcement!

Hello!

It’s time for an announcement! I have set up a new blog dedicated to my ramblings where I will be moving my ‘Dear Diary’ weekly installments. I will post at least weekly so head on over here if you’re interested!

The reason for setting up a new site was to have separate spaces for my creative writing and my personal posts.

Thanks,

Dreamer Girl

Image and Makeup

Being a teenage girl means that I am in one of the groups that is, arguably, under the most pressure to fit into society’s expectations of how to look. For me, the topic seems unavoidable as image is constantly the focus of the media.

The other day I was watching an educational YouTube video on one of the novels I’m studying at the moment and as I scrolled down the comments I was met with line after line not on the content of the video, but the woman’s appearance. I felt angry that the commenters actively chose to ignore people’s views and ideas to focus on their appearance. Not only this, but it seems that image decides the quality of the video. This is only one little example, but it’s an issue that I think needs to be talked about.

Makeup…

photo 1_edited

With or without?

Some people think that women and girls must make a conscious choice: to wear or not to wear makeup. (That is the question!) Those in favour of no makeup may argue that we shouldn’t feel the need to impress others or feel pressured to cover up our insecurities.

I choose to wear makeup pretty much every day because it makes me feel comfortable and gives me confidence. Sometimes its the boost I need to make me feel able to do and try things, however simple, like introducing myself to a stranger or putting up my hand in class. I don’t think people should say that wearing makeup is always a bad thing for this reason. Though I agree we should accept and embrace ourselves, including flaws and insecurities, gaining confidence often comes from ‘fake it til you make it’. Makeup is a way of ‘faking it’ in a way, and this is why it is important to me. When I see people without makeup I respect them for either having the confidence to ‘bare’ themselves or just not caring what people think.

When I’m still half asleep on a school morning, trying to get my eyeliner to look even, (which is pretty darn hard) I often think angrily, why don’t boys have to do this? That’s just one of those things that has developed in our society that is hard to understand sometimes when you think hard about it, but is so familiar to us that it just seems natural.

Makeup is strange when you really think about it. We paint our faces like a blank canvas. Yet we aren’t blank. We have these sometimes amazing and sometimes not-so-amazing features. Freckles and dimples and beautiful eyes of blue, green, grey, brown, hazel. Lips someone secretly wishes to kiss and a cute little nose. Believe it or not, someone out there finds what you call your horrible chin quite attractive. Maybe not on its own, but because it makes up the beautiful, amazing, unique, special person that is you whoever you are. It’s okay to hide those features under foundation if you want to, and it’s okay to feel happy showing them. People may judge you, but you have to let them do that and let their nasty words and  cruel looks go over your head. In my opinion the important thing is acceptance and confidence. Accept yourself as your whole self, faults and all, ‘covered up’ or ‘bare’, and you have the key to confidence!

The Endless Web

In the silver dusk the slender black limbs stretched towards the last glimmers of dwindling light. Winter had stripped leaves and cast a stony silence in the air, only to be cut by the shrill sounds of the wind.

Within the depths of the sinews below – winding ribbons the ashy shade of a thunderous sky – a movement broke the stillness. The weaving strands seemed to cavort, twisting and turning, until a spiral opened up the dry earth. Pale fingers arose. Through the haze delicate arms were revealed.

She clambered upwards, untangling herself from the silvery sinews that had entwined her body like a spider’s web. In the struggle to pull up the great plumes of her skirt, the red ribbon that held her hair neatly was ripped against the black bark of a nearby trunk. As she rose to her feet, sleek, a soft cascade of chestnut hair flowed down her back. Her startled eyes drank the scene.

Before she could step forward, a creature swept towards her with white wings, speckled with gold. The owl plunged not at the girl, but to where the twisting streams of her entrance. Exposed, the red ribbon was laid limp, like the body of a wounded soldier left to die. Rescued by the soft feathered creature, the ribbon was carried to its owner. The sharp talons left only half the ribbon in the hands of the girl. She clutched at the strand, staring first at the frayed end; then, fearfully, she eyed the huge bird before her small frame. A quiet gasp. Dark eyes rimmed with deep blue just like her own. But these had a strength to them – these eyes were wise. She blinked and yet the flutter of her eyelashes did not change what she saw.

It was at this moment, during her realisation, that her mind was cast back to the last time she had visited the forest. Her face had been even more delicate, yet to be carved with the beauty, the raised cheekbones of a princess. While her hands were not built with the strength of a woman, her slight body was able to wind its own way out of the tangled streams.

She remembered those years of stumbling through different worlds, falling into the depths as the spiralling bands pulled her dainty feet. Sinking into darkness and rising up through the next weaving ribbons of grey. Aimlessly wandering through the abandoned places until her next fall.

Those had been long forgotten memories, just bad nightmares, until now. Now there was no escape.

***

The owl had gone when she opened her eyes. She felt the prickles of sweat beading on her temples, but began to run. She was so fast, dashing to dodge the towering trees, that her feet were unharmed by the threatening looms of ashen grey. But soon she became tired. Not because her body was exhausted, but because she was lost. Everywhere was the same: desolate silver air pierced by the shrieking wind; misty grey sky shattered into pieces by the fine branches. She felt a ring of the cold grey vine snag her foot. Like an animal she had been caught. She felt herself lose control of her body, plummeting down. Soon the darkness encased her completely. She closed her eyes, to shut out this strange and haunting world. But this couldn’t stop the dizzying feeling as she tumbled through time, spinning madly. Her hands trembled, still clutching at the ribbon.

When she finally felt stable and the dizziness had died away, she opened her eyes slowly. She could feel the dim light of her next world filtering through the threads above her. This time she didn’t reach up and explore the next place. She couldn’t bear it any longer. Even the weight of the strands pushing down on her shoulders was too much knowing what it was. Knowing that in every fibre was the soul of another of the dead. That was what pulled her down every time – their desperation. She knew that if she stayed she would only join them, she would only be consumed by the darkness and become eternally ensnared in the endless web. The only other hope was to become a guardian. But hers had left her in her thoughtful daze, so how could she hope to become one?

Maybe it’s time, she thought. A last look into the pale light. For the last time, she closed her eyes.

***

Her wings were beautiful and golden.

(748 words)


This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge #14

Word prompt:

Cavort (noun):
Jump or dance around excitedly.
(Definition #1)

Visual prompt:

may-the-reunion

<img src=”http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/gg-wkbadge2.png”>