Oh holy crap I wrote something resembling a story this evening. That was unexpected, to say the least.
I have NO IDEA where this came from, it just came...from somewhere. The oddest feeling thing is that this is not in the slightest what I sat down to write about.
Because I never ever share what I write, I've decided to force myself to start. So here it is: 628 words and 26 minutes' worth of raw, unedited prose.
Emma sat at her little table, watching, out the window, as the evening light turned from yellow, to a faint, peachy blush of a pink and eventually settled on a deep blue that washed the faces of the punters smoking outside the pub opposite into dark blurs. The door she had carefully shut had drifted open and from the living room came the muted sound of the television, voices rising and falling on the edge of her consciousness. The page in front of her was overflowing with words, but all of them sounded too much like something she had read, and not enough like the things she really wanted to say.
She was tired, more tired than she thought. Bone-tired, knackered, drained, dog-tired
, -tired phrases, all of them, to describe how she felt- danced and tumbled in her brain, round and about. It was only Monday, she realised with a grim start. Only Monday and the week loomed ahead of her, glumly tinged with boredom and dread. Four more days of typing, filing, staring into the horizon of a screen until the edges of her mind blurred into a gentle, furry static, and the dreadful need to make small talk with people she really, desperately never wanted to see again. Four more days of making sandwiches, hanging washing and not doing the one thing she really wanted to do, the only real thing that made her feel comfortable, confident in her existence.
Emma picked up the letter she had written, crossed out over and over again with increasing anger, and re-written. It explained all this. Re-reading her own sentences Emma felt steeled with admiration (but also and more curiously, with fear) for this stranger she dreamed of being, but she doubted she would ever send this letter. A band of pain pulsed across her temples. Her tongue felt suddenly dry and huge in her mouth, like a foreign, animal object stifling her, muffling her voice. Her hands clenched the paper, hard enough to tear it, crumpling her words aside as if they were a shopping list, a mere careless scribble to be discarded. She didn’t know, exactly, what she did, but the moment, the feeling was vivid as a spark.
It was too much, she thought, to believe one could choose what one wanted when, after all, there were other people to think of now. How could she know whether this desire that fluttered up unbidden within her, however much she tried to stamp it down, hide it between the routines of existence even when it threatened, sometimes, to burn its way out, immolate her if she did nothing to give it substance- how could she really trust that it was right?
She felt scared. Today, this letter, was the closest she had come to telling anyone how she felt, how if she went on saying nothing she was going to implode, or float off and fly away. Imagine that, one day, in the supermarket! In the fruit and veg aisle, perhaps, a woman, seeing her face reflected in the globes of a round red pepper, perhaps, or, lifting a melon to her ear she starts in surprise to hear the faint sound of the sea and is done for.
Emma paused, opened the letter, smoothed its creases away almost tenderly (she could not send it now, of course, but maybe in the morning she would find time to copy it, sanitise it with some changes?) and- the sound of footsteps, a child’s voice raised tearfully broke the moment with its angry cries. She clenched the paper in one fist, balled it and tossed it into the bin on the way to rejoin her family, the moment of resentfulness already as distant as the memory of a dream.