Glass Houses

This short story was written for Wicked Young Writer Awards 2016, was I was placed in the top 20 of the country.

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“This one is Hillary. She lives on her own, but she doesn’t mind because she loves dancing in the snow.” Jordan explained to his mother for the fourth time this week. He tugged and tugged at her hand attentively to make sure she was paying attention.

“She’s an ice skater, mammy, did you know? Look at her skates!” He pointed out the sharp-looking blade at either end of the tall, silver woman’s feet. Her face was even less than a blank expression, but she was happy in her Glass House. She told Jordan she was!

“Oh, really?” His mother ruffled his short golden hair, smiling at him as she pretended she hadn’t been told this several times before.

“And this one is Adam and Chelsea. They’re best friends, but not boyfriend and girlfriend.” Jordan had to cover his mouth to hide his giggling. Adam and Chelsea were dressed in the same colour clothing: they both wore a thick red coat with black buttons running down the middle, black trousers and light brown boots with black laces. The only difference was that Adam’s hair was short, and Chelsea’s was long and tied up. Adam wore a blue striped woolly hat, while Chelsea wore a pink striped woolly hat, both had a fluffy ball attached to the top.

Jordan leant in to take a closer look at them, letting go of his mother’s hand so he could gaze into the dome. He didn’t like to shake the Snow Globes for fear of scaring the people who lived inside. He may have been only six, but he had a large heart. He loved to collect Snow Globes and share his own home with the residents he called “small people”. As his mother brought a new one home for him, he would carefully place it next to the latest Globe, and instinctively know both their name and story.

The latest addition to the family was Marvin and his Border Collie dog, Gavin. They sat together on a park bench and smiled as they watched snow drifted by freely.

“You guys must be cold!” He said to the pair.

But of all the Glass Houses that Jordan had, one of them was his favourite, and he moved on to inspect it closely, this time without dragging his mother over to visit; this globe had a shiny glass dome and a light blue base decorated in tiny specks of glitter of various colours, and in the centre, through the thick of the white, was a boy who stood alone with his hands deep in his pockets, his head down and hood up. His navy blue coat was exactly like the one Jordan wore almost every day, and he was around the same age. Jordan knew he was, because he just knew.

Jordan’s mother often found her son talking to the boy that Jordan didn’t name. He would often talk about his day at school, what was making him happy, what was making him sad, and most upsetting to his caring mother: how he wished he had friends – and he did this almost every night. However that night was different; she found Jordan kneeling on the carpet in the living room in his red pyjamas, sobbing his eyes out whilst hugging his favourite Snow Globe.

“What’s wrong, Jordan?!” His mother instinctively ran over and clutched Jordan close to her, wanting nothing more than to make it all better. But she couldn’t this time.

“I just wish they would wave back at me.” He wept as he slowly waved his tiny hand at the small boy inside of the glass house, who kept his hands in his pockets. Jordan thought the boy’s hands were even deeper in his pockets than before.

“Come on,” His mother began, wiping the tears away from Jordan’s soft cheeks. “Let’s go to bed. You can stay in my room.” She smiled down at him, and he smiled back. And for a moment, he felt better.

Jordan then carefully placed the small boy back in his place amongst the others, and left the room hand in hand with his mother, closing the door behind them to head off to sleep.

But just as Jordan had turned his back on the Snow Globes, the small boy lifted his head, took his right hand out of his pocket, and waved goodnight to Jordan just before the door clicked closed, just like all the residents of the Glass Houses had done every night since the first day they were brought home.

 

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Is This Goodbye?

Perhaps I’m just over thinking. Perhaps this isn’t the end. Or is it?

The sound of trains screech as they depart the station. Hurried passengers pant and groan as they make their way through the thick crowd of people, but all I can hear are the world coming from his lips. It seems strange, that we miss the people we claim we care about, as though they give out lives meaning. But do they really?

His lips seems to move so slowly. Or is that my head trying to keep hold of the moment? Whichever it is, it’s painful to watch as he bid his farewell, possibly for the last time. And I can think of nothing other than the next time I set my eyes on his, if that moment is ever to occur again.

Distance is the biggest challenge of all. Loyalty is just a great a risk. Love, is the biggest killer. My heart both flutters and wails, refusing to sway to one side. It’s almost too much to bare.

“Tell me when you’re home safely.” I force myself to say as I hold back the tears. I don’t want him to see me cry. “We aren’t having a sad goodbye, this time.” I keep repeating in my head. But he always knew a sadness would fall upon me. Deep down, he knows how much I care for him, and I almost believe he cares too.

“I will. You too.” He checks his watch, comparing it to the time of the train’s departure. “I’m going to head off now.” He smiles, yet it fades as his eyes examine my face. It’s as though he can see the tears that have now built up behind my eyes, even though they refuse to step into the light.

I hug him tightly, burying my head into his should as though afraid. But I am afraid. Afraid that Once I let go, he’s gone forever. Afraid that this moment in time will fade too soon. Afraid of everything.

“Is this goodbye?” I ask shyly as I pull away from his. My hands instantly find the grasp of one-another to hide their trembling. My head has already fallen to the ground, for I cannot bare to see his face if the answer is the dreaded “yes”.

“No, it’s not goodbye. It’s see you soon.” He said confidently. I notice his weary smile as I allow my eyes to flick up for a moment, before they fall to his feet. Even if I never see his face again, I never want to look away for a moment. I find myself rushing back to his warmth, possibly for the last time. It seems to last for no longer than a second, and even though the hug is brief, I almost forget why we are here.

“Goodbye.” He spoke for the final time before turning his head, moving his feet away from me, and towards the train. I fail to say goodbye back, as my voice is caught in my dry, painful throat. I want to call out to him, and tell him that I love him, but I know he doesn’t love me, at least not truly.

He boards the train without as much as a glance back to me, yet I watch as he fades from my… And that’s it. Gone, but not forgotten. Is this the way it is to be? Forever saddened by the departure of a loved one? Or is this time different? Will I ever see him again?

Is this really goodbye?

One Moment In Time

For that one moment, he didn’t care about age, and for that one moment, he wanted the world to see what he was seeing. His wife to be.

As he looked fondly into the eyes of his lover with long, brown silk like hair, a complexion of perfection and eyes as flawless as a cut diamond, he smiled, and he didn’t wish to hide it. This was their one moment in time to be together without a single care in the world.

The man stood, hand in hand at the altar with the love of his life whom he met so many years ago on that special evening. Together they danced, smiled, laughed and stumbled as they were caught in each other’s gaze. It was almost love at first sight.

The conversed words of love echoed through the room, creating a memory in the minds of those who watched fondly, friends and family alike. There was not a single dry eye to be seen.

The man slipped the ring onto his fiancée’s delicate hand, trying not to drop the round piece of metal as his hand shook violently, but soon, it was on, and there it was to stay for the years to come. Soon, another ring was exchanged, this time given to the man by a woman who was evidently just as nervous. And then it was done. They were now husband and wife.

The day entailed with further smiles as the happily married couple drank and danced the night away. Their first dance together was almost like their first encounter with one another; the same smiles, the same wide eyes, the same everything, but now, they could call themselves more than friends.

The man wished the night would never end as he laughed with old friends, danced ridiculously with hyperactive children, and sang his heart out on the karaoke before stuffing his face with cake. It was a night to remember, a night to never forget.

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He gently clicked laptop lid closed and looked to his wife, who was now laying silently in her bed, smiling with her eyes closed. Together, they lived the happiest day of both their lives, revisiting a life full of everything other than regret. The years had passed from that one day. That one moment in time has led to this, their final moment in time together. The end of their moment had come.

The man placed his hand on his wife’s, clutching her fingers with his. He climbed on the bed which she lay in, wrapped his arms around her to hold her close one last time. He had forever told her that he would be there to hold her tight until the end of time, and now, that time had come, and his wife faded from the world, dying in the place she loved most – In the arms of her husband.

The Child That Lived

His smile could bring life to a million flowers, his laugh could light up the world. He lives in a world that frown upon those who are deemed different, different in a way that seems out of the ordinary.

His name was Leon, and to the world, he was different. Upon birth, Leon had a condition known as spina bifida, meaning his legs could never move. Many people would feel sorry for themselves, others would try to fit into a world that would never accept them, yet Leon gave a glimmer of hope to those who had already given up on the game of life.

It’s a known truth that a child’s mind will generate questions to be answered, so they can learn and grow. It was predicted that Leon would ask questions about his condition, why the other children could walk and why he had to spend his days pushing himself around in a wheelchair, however, the day never came when he questioned his difference, he simply smiled, laughed and played like any child.

A shock to many, Leon’s positive attitude showed the world just how easy it is to enjoy life, no matter your difference. It’s mind over matter, that’s all.

If you see a child in the street, cursed with something that may bring them comments of horror, remember Leon, and remember just how one small thing can make a difference.

Life is beautiful, no matter who you are.

One Night Over

It’s a universally known truth that a man or woman will always feel a deep pain when it comes to a lack of lust in their life, even if they deny it. It’s human nature. Woman are more likely to express this feeling, yet men fear that their ‘man card’ will be taken away from them if they so much a shed an inch of light on their soppy love life.

It was roughly 3am, I couldn’t really tell as it was too dark, but I got a glimpse of the clock at the far end of the room when the moonlight was caught in its reflection. The deep breathing of the man beside me seemed to grow louder in sequence with the ticking; one second passed, and he drew a breath, another passed, and that breath seemed deeper, heavier than the last. He wasn’t falling asleep, as I could feel his hands moving up and down my leg, yet I could tell what he wanted – He wanted me to leave so he could sleep, but isn’t this what it’s all about, the soft, gentle quiet that follows an amazing, and often intense, night? Or have I been lying to myself these past few years?

My eyes remained glued to the ceiling, I was looking at nothing in particular, but I was looking. My mind forced my body to find a way to focus on something other than the questions being pelted against me, taunting me as thought I were experiencing a conscious nightmare. I felt used, but in a way that was my own fault.

“Do you want me to leave?” I asked, turning my head to face a pair of eyes that looked back at me with eagerness and humour. I could tell simply by the pause in his response that he wanted me to get out of his bed, yet there was something residing in him that didn’t want me to feel bad about being kicked out at such a time.

“I do need to get some sleep, but I don’t want you to leave if you don’t want to.” He sighed as he placed his head on my chest. The warm sensation that occurred at that moment almost made me forget about what he just said. It was almost like an instant pain relief, in a way. Should I simply get up and leave? I finally allow myself to listen to the questions I pain myself to ask over and over.

“It’s fine, I’ll go home.” I finally said in a plain voice, not wanting to let him hear my upset. I should be used to this by now, but I can never truly bring myself to stop. The feel of being wanted, knowing that someone finds me attractive in the slightest, is one of the best feelings, yet I know deep down that I’m only doing it because I’m alone. Is it really worth the inevitable? Each time is the same, each time I’m forever faced with the dreaded walk home, alone, cold and distraught.

I commenced with the usual sluggish movements to get ready, slowly searching for my clothes with my hands. I took as much time as possible, just to mull over my thoughts. It isn’t an easy process, yet I put myself through it just for the satisfaction of human contact.

As I was slipping on my underwear, I felt the man’s warm arms wrap around me. It’s a pleasant feeling, and I allow it to tame my trepidation for a moment, only to see the light at the end of the tunnel which is another oncoming train.

I managed to get ready without a single word being spoken. It took me several moments to adjust my jumper, which was another excuse to linger around for longer, but I was finally ready to turn and face him to say goodbye. As I did, I saw a feel of regret in his eyes. Did he truly care? That’s a question I’ll never know the answer to, but for the duration of my stay, it felt as though he did.

“I’m sorry you have to leave. I really wish you could stay.” He groaned as he took hold of my hands. There was almost a pain in his voice that suggested his words were true, yet I refused to allow them to touch my heart, which was forever cold.

His lips found their way to the skin of my hands as he kissed me softly before looking into my painful eyes. I could make out a hint of a smile that said so much.

“Text me when you get home, please? I want to know that you’re safe.” He continued, moving his hands to my arms. This is what I dreaded; the cute, soppy goodbye. It was almost a poetic tragedy, ending the same way it began.

“Yeah…” I said softly, trying to mask the regret that found a home on my tongue.

The goodbye was sweet but short, and I finally left, hugging myself for warmth, despite wearing a thick, light blue jumper.

The walk home felt longer than it was. I felt eyes on me every time a car passed me, fearing that they know the truth of where I have been, yet I know I’m just over-thinking, as I tend to do.

As I was walking through the dark streets, there was nothing going through my head. It felt like an empty dream, yet sadly this was no dream. It was a waken mistake.

As I finally entered the silent house that I call my home, I slipped my phone out of my pocket and slowly pressed various letter to form a shaky text. Do I put a kiss on the end? I asked myself as my thumb was held over the send button, but I deleted any form of affection at the last second. It was my not, not his own. I allowed myself to feel this way, to allow the tears to run down my face as I hit send.

This was yet another example of how my life had turned for the worst, how I let myself be consumed by guilt, regret and sorrow. But I knew only too well that soon I would be facing another episode of One Night Over.