Fun Fact: The character in this piece was originally male. I decided to change him to a her, right after typing the last word. Pushed by some forces I guess. As expected the result was completely different. Same narrative, same themes, yet the vision changed completely. A strange thing, this life thing.
From the wired netting of her window she stared blankly at leaves collectively swaying to their own gentle rhythm. It was that hour of day between 5 P.M and 6, where if you were not too caught up in traffic or closing shop or engaged in some activity that demanded a certain degree of your attention, the dimming brightness of sun slowly setting , wrapped its confused tentacles around you, forcing you into its misery. She had noticed it as it happened, and many times over, its strangeness forming around the spaces between her mind. Days when she’d turn away from her laptop screen, her neck straining from hours crammed inside the cup of her hands, as she lay on her side, watching episode after episode of some mindless comedy that barely made her crack a smile even. She would push the laptop aside and walk to the window in her underwear, her hands placed calmly on its sill, listening to the squawk of the birds, the blank crevice of time, like a paragraph in an essay, making way for the activity of evening. It was a middle child, often neglected, boring, bland, searching for an identity between “you’ve grown so big” and “you are growing so big”.
Her thoughts were broken by voices behind her; behind her door. Feet, laughter, giggling, more laughter, and then it faded away. She knew who the voices belonged to, though she had not spoken to a single one of them in what felt like an entire lifetime. In the beginning they had scouted her, the occasional knock for a broom, staying after the broom was handed them to ask about her hair, her responses always dismissive, her smile always condescending, it wasn’t too long before they stopped bothering. She wasn’t one of them, She was something else. Something plain and boring, something between the hours of 5 and 6 P.M
She stared at the note in front of her and sighed, dropping the pen she had not noticed was still between her fingertips. It rolled off the table, hit her knee, then escaped between the space underneath her bed. The place of monsters.
Her phone buzzed from somewhere inside the clustered mess that was her room, and she closed her eyes. That was the third one. Clearly no one was taking her seriously, or no one had noticed. She had 3,000 friends on Facebook at least, there was no way they couldn’t have noticed. Her heart sunk, breaking the bristle front she had been deceiving herself with into a jagged-edge-mess of feelings.
Grudgingly, she picked up the note and tore it into pieces.
She got up from behind the table and walked to the window. Her feet felt heavy with every step. Outside, two birds chased after each other, their loud squawks cutting through the silent air around her. The leaves swayed their gentle rhythm. She looked away, and at the table she had been sitting in front of. The poorly tied noose she had made with her bed sheet dropped from its edge to the floor.
Her phone buzzed again, the fourth one in the two hours she had updated her status, then changed her mind.
Her tummy rumbled as she made her way to the laptop on her bed. Soon it would be evening, she decided on noodles for dinner.
Art Credit: William Whitaker – Red Head/ Working From Life.