Hi, I'm new (:
I've been looking for a writing community for ages, and I've just finished writing a short story as part of my English coursework so here it is. Its called Company, and its about an extremely cynical person having an epiphany. Its the first piece of writing I've written that I've been really happy with :D
Throughout my life, I have been told by friends, relations and even, on occasions, complete strangers that I am an incurable pessimist, a hermit in the making, a killjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had compliments too-a whole bunch of compliments in fact-a dry sense of humour and curly eyelashes are always going to get you those, but that’s beside the point. Compliments are empty; just because someone praises one particular trait, doesn’t mean they like you, and I’m not the sort of person you like. I’ve never warmed to anyone and in turn no-one has ever warmed to me. At least, that’s how it used to be.
It was a pretty normal evening. Work had been uneventful as usual, I’d just come out of a phone conversation with my father in which he had told me for the umpteenth time to ‘see a damned psychiatrist’ and I had nothing much to do but sit in my kitchen, drinking endless cups of filter coffee and listening with vague distaste to various evening programmes on my crackly antique of a radio. Why I made a habit of this, I don’t know…perhaps it was a way to stave off the inevitable boredom of my existence, but the sort of pretentious drivel that seems to occupy most radio programmes has always brought out my violent side. I’m going off on a tangent now. Remind me not to do that.
It was while I was sitting there, sipping morosely at my coffee, getting increasingly irritated by the voices emanating from my radio, that I was hit by a sudden urge to go out. I couldn’t explain why; it wasn’t a particularly nice evening, but I felt like going for a walk. So that’s what I did.
The evening breeze-if it could be called a breeze- blew straight into my eyes as I closed the front door behind me . I could feel faint spots of rain on my face, too, but for some reason I felt a strange sort of determination to stay outside. It had reached that stage in the evening when it’s almost dark and everything takes on a peculiar blue tinge and I almost found myself thinking it was sort of romantic, but that thought was swiftly pushed aside. Romantic? What on earth had I been drinking?
I was rounding a corner, when I heard a shrill voice calling behind me,
“Hey! Wait up!” sighing at the thought of company, I turned to see someone I had never met before half-running towards me. She was tall, with bright red hair and looked to me as if she had just stepped out of a Boden catalogue.
“Erm…do I know you?” I said as she landed with a neat little hop beside me,
“No” she replied cheerfully, “I just wanted to talk to someone”. I was rather taken aback by this response-striking up conversation with strangers is all very well, but who in God’s name would make such a concerted effort to converse with me of all people?
“Oh” I said rather pathetically, “well…hello”
the stranger smiled and stuck out a mittened hand,
“Mint…ahem, Carol May” she said as I shook the hand, “nicknames. You get too used to ‘em, don’t you?” I hummed in agreement and started walking. I had been kind of hoping that she would be put off by my standoffishness and go away, but Carol May proceeded to amble by my side.
“So, where are you off to?” I upped my pace a little,
“Nowhere in particular.”
There was a pause,
“Well, I guess its nice weather for it” Carol May replied…and was that a note of irony in her voice?
We were approaching the town centre now; the road was lit somewhat abruptly by a row of streetlamps on either side, giving the impression of some sort of runway into the hustle of glittered shop windows and joyous socializing and aromas of coffee shops and cinnamon, more commonly known as town in the Christmas season. I hated it.
As we drew nearer and the loud buzz of conversation began to fill the air around us, my companion let out an unexpectedly world-weary sigh.
“Not to sound like a grump” she said in reply to my questioning look, “but its all become so commercial”
Well, I hadn’t been expecting that.
“Heck yes” I agreed almost enthusiastically, “that’s what I’ve been trying to tell people for years”; Carol May chuckled. To my surprise, the mood seemed to lighten then and I no longer felt that I wanted to get rid of this person, but felt compelled to talk, to converse. It was a most peculiar phenomenon.
The rest of the evening went by very quickly, a whirl of chatter and people and doing things. I was introduced to Marvin Halee, a market stall owner and friend of Carol May’s who appeared to share my cynical outlook, and the three of us spent the next few hours drinking a few coffees, browsing shop windows, complaining about the ‘youth of today,’ although we were only young ourselves. After I had said my goodbyes I walked home with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.
It wasn’t until I returned to my dimly lit kitchen to find my radio still droning away and my abandoned coffee cup still standing forlornly on the side counter that true reality dawned on me…I had actually been enjoying myself; I was happy, and as I caught sight of myself in the hall mirror I noticed that I even looked brighter. The frosty wind had burned my cheeks pink and pulled my unruly golden curls out of place and in all different directions. Something had changed. Being the madwoman I am, the next thing I did was panic; what was wrong with me? what was going on?
I ran up and down the stairs, sent e-mails to everyone I knew, drank a glass of whisky. One could say that was when my evening got interesting.
A year has come and gone and I haven’t seen Carol May or Marvin Halee again…when I come to think of it, it struck me as odd that I’d never seen them before-they were pretty distinctive and I wasn’t exactly new in town-but since that eventful evening I’ve been seeing the world in a completely a new light. I haven’t stopped being a pessimist, of course (some things never change) but I have, if you like, come out of the dark. Had an epiphany. Found myself, and that’s all that matters.