She waited patiently, standing on the concrete floor, her back pressed against the cool tiled wall. People were arriving down the escalator and lining up along the tracks. Several minutes passed before the train arrived. She scanned the passengers exiting from the doors of the subway car until she finally found him. Today he wore a dark grey suit. His navy blue tie with a faint blue stripe lay flat against his crisp white shirt. A worn leather bag was slung across his body. She focused on his face and smiled. He looked healthy. She watched as he made his way among the crowd toward the escalator and then watched him move confidently on to the first stair, his back held straight, his head tilted up taking in the people and space before him. When he eventually disappeared from her view, she gathered her bags and slowly and carefully made her way towards the escalator, her eyes fixed on the ground, carefully avoiding accidentally brushing up against any of the people waiting to catch the next train.
Each week day she returned to the same spot, waiting to catch a brief glimpse of him. She had maintained this ritual for three years. In all that time, she had not once approached him, she simply watched. Every time she saw him, her heart swelled with momentary joy and as he disappeared at the top among the throngs of people, the overwhelming despair shoved joy out and reclaimed her heart. She returned each weekday so that she could experience that momentary lightness. The weekends and holidays without him were overwhelmingly dark.
He looked for her again today but he didn’t see her. It had been three days since he last saw her standing silently against the wall watching for him. She had been there every morning at his stop for the past three years. When he first saw her there he had tried to approach her, to talk to her but she had cowered against the wall, frightened and small. On other occasions, she ran away before he reached her. His repeated attempts to somehow connect with her only served to frighten her more and create a greater distance between them. After a while, he stopped trying to impose his need for her and accepted that all she could tolerate was the brief connection of shared space across the subway platform. The anger had long ago dissipated, replaced with a heart breaking sadness for all that he had lost, that they had both lost.
Her repeated absence from the spot where he expected to see her each morning shattered him in a way that he didn’t think was still possible. It was finally on the fifth day of her absence that he received the call confirming what he already knew, what he had known for the past three years. She was gone and would never return.
I’ve started a creative writing course and this is my submission for my first assignment. Let me know your thoughts – any and all constructive feedback is welcome. 🙂
40,467 words. The number of words that have consumed me for the past two weeks. 40,467 carefully selected words combined in carefully crafted sentences by me and my colleagues. Words that I have read and re-read, over and over. Words that have filled 85 pages. An astounding number of words it seems to me. An astounding number of words that have taken up an incredible amount of time and energy and space in my head and my life. But I am done. The words are done. They have been committed to paper and the pages are printed. I can walk away. I will walk away. But the words are not done. These words that I have laboured over will forever change the lives of four small children, babies still. The words will wrench the soul of the parents and the grandparents. I am done, but the words are not done. The words will continue forever. I will walk away knowing that this astounding number of words that I have lived with for weeks are insufficient to describe the lifetime of a family. The words are right. The words are just. The words are enough – but they remain insufficient to account for the lasting and profound impact they will have on the lives of four little beings and their family. These 40,467 words that now that they are written can never be unwritten, or re-written. 40,467 words that can never be taken back. 40,467 words written to protect children that will shatter a family.
I have Blog Envy. I read posts on other blogs and I think, I want to be that writer, photographer, crafter (WP says this isn’t a word) or cook. I want to have those insights into the world around me. I want to have those eyes to see the colour in the world around me, to have the crafting inspiration and the talent to create something, anything . I want to have something to write about but instead I stare at my blank, blinking screen and can’t think what to write.
I think I must have something to say. I engage and contribute to conversation every day (well most days). A large part of my work day involves writing so I know I can write . I love cooking, taking photos and creating with my hands, so I should be able to create a post right? But instead, I find myself enjoying other blogs, trying to keep my green-eyed monsters and my inner critics at bay.
My inner critics are really to blame. They raise their ugly heads and stunt all my creativity, inspiration and ideas. Who invited them any way? I need to banish my inner critics from this party (and possibly my One and Only who is reading over my shoulders and telling me what she thinks I should write). I need to follow the wisdom of the writing and blogging gurus and just start. Just write something dammit. Embrace looking foolish, boring, uninspired, and just write.
So starting now… well maybe starting tomorrow… I will write something at least once a
day week. Oh, but the rain has finally stopped, the sun is out, lazy summer days are fast approaching and it’s really too nice to sit inside….