Your own statement.
You know you would rather not have come. You know they never mean harm - they meant for it to be pause, some kind of rest. That’s what they say it’s going to be, but you know you never expected it to make a difference.
It’s nice visiting family - an aunt, in this case - but a week-long stay is too much. Because from the start you knew you would only see her at meals, and then shut yourself up in your room for no other reason than to hide the fact you don’t have anything to tell her, besides the essential “What a nice meal!” and “So how is it going?“. A statement and a question. Then there’s the same inquiery you address yourself that is burning you lips and mind, the only thing you truly want to ask her: “What are you doing here?”
Because, really, what is there here? Besides old furniture crammed with old belongings in an old house... You don’t understand how she can keep looking back. You are scared being in her house will make you this way too - crammed with old and useless memories - while you try looking forward, not back.
Because, if you turn back, you’ll blame it on her - even if you know it is wrong, and unfair, too - because you need someone to blame besides yourself. Someone to blame for your downfall.
You know there’s something wrong with you - you don’t even try thinking otherwise. You pretend to be trying to do something about it, but you know it’s useless trying when you don’t believe in what you’re doing.
Everything you do is useless without hope.
And how can you get brand-new hope? Where would hope grow, if it were a plant? You laugh at the thought. You’re using metaphors now - like if you were in some sort of tragedy! You go on giggling stupidly. In books, and plays, and movies, the sad character stands up for himself, saying something like: “As long as there’s life there’s always hope!“. Or, if really he has completly given up, then somebody comes to help - a friend, a lover, some random stranger - and says something that changes everything.
But you know you’ve given up the idea of helping yourself, and you know nobody will come to help you. People are all around, and they see you and talk to you, but you know they don’t notice. You leave clues - but they don’t see them, and you are left to mourn over your state and blame them for still not noticing.
And even if they did notice and asked: “What’s wrong?” - the most enfuriating sentence! - you know you wouldn’t be able to explain, because you don’t understand it yourself.
And even if they tried doing something about it, you know it wouldn’t work; you long for their help, but your pride keeps you from accepting it. You want them to insist, and to do all the work for you using some sort of amazing magic trick you know they can’t do.
This room certainly isn’t part of the magic trick you are awaiting. You look around and sigh to add some dramatic effect. You know you didn’t need to look again to know it is ‘crammed with old furniture’. Besides, you practically knew it would look like this even before you stepped in and saw it for the first time. After all, it’s the same in every single room of this house... besides the bathroom, maybe.
You wonder over it. You want to go check. Or maybe you don’t. You don’t care, actually. What to do, now, then? You have a room, might as well make it your own. You put your bag down, you open it. You hesitate at what to pull out. In the end you take out your phone, its charger and plug it in the wall. Then the book you are supposed to be reading. You drop it on the bedside table. Then your pencil case. That goes on the desk. Your clothes... Nope, leave them in the bag. Your soap, no use putting it in shower now. You stay a whole thirty seconds bent over your backpack, staring at the piece of soap in your hand, wrapped in a plastic film like a sandwich, before putting it back.
You don’t know where to go. You walk up to the window and close it. It was letting in the cold night air - yup, that’s a good excuse. Now what? You walk up to the door. You reach for the handle, hesitate and let your hand fall back down. You walk around a bit, and then sit on the bed. You look at your bag, the desk, the window, the door, the bedside table. You take the book in both hands. The cover is a bit torn at the bottom left corner and its colors are faded. You turn it over, read the summary. But you know it’s useless, you’re already through half the pages. You open it to start from where you left off. You read:
“First he picked out a... been... had been... plenty warm, but... and packed... spring roll!”
You purposefully added a word. You haven’t understood the sentence anyways. You try reading it over. You end up adding “parking lot”, “glue stick”, “charming” and “sorrowful” to the paragraph before you get bored of the game.
You close the book and put it back down on the bedside table. You adjust it with your middle finger and thumb so its edges are parallel to the table’s. You lie back on the bed.
You let your mind drift. This house reminds you of a story from when you were small. Old and dark, and covered in dust, with a spider web in every corner. You correct yourself; this house is well-kept, there is no dust and few spider webs. The story was about this girl called Mary that moved into this creepy house. For a few days all was well, until she discovers a ghost is stealing her socks.
Told this way, it does sound very silly - like all children’s stories you reckon - but it was told in such a creepy way by your big cousin that you were holding your breath till the end. During years, you longed for a sequel; but when you looked it up on internet in fifth grade you learnt there was none.
You think it would be fun if she moved in with this guy who would actually be a werewolf, and that would love... hairpins. He would hide them under the floorboards.
Sounds silly enough to be a sequel. And since you don’t have anything better to do... Since the thought occured to you, it might as well make itself useful. You stand up, and after a moment hesitating you sit at the desk. You open your pencil case and shuffle through it, and put your pen down gingerly on the table-top.
At first you don’t understand why you’ve stopped; but of course you can’t write without anything to write on. So you stand up again and pull out blank sheets of paper, that you lay down in front of you as you sit down again.
Now, the writing. What to write? Where to start? You think about it a few moments. What is the most logical thing to start a story with? You stand up again, and this time walk over to the bedside table. The first paragraph of the book starts by a verb-less sentence. Then there’s a description of the setting. And then what people think about the place, and what it’s actually like from a more objective point of view.
As long as you know, this is a very typical start for a novel. But you see no point in making things harder. It’s not like this was a graded creative writing. And even if it was, the easiest is the safest when it comes to schoolwork.
So then, the setting. What is the setting? Not the old house already, she needs to get there first... Books are often like that. Either you get thrown directly into the plot or you get some context first. It’s what you’ve learnt in class, and up to this day you’ve had no reason to question it.
Before Mary got settled in the house, where was she? You do believe you might want to use your own arrival as an example. You would also rather describe her in a good mood, so that the change in atmosphere stands out.
Everything is about contrast.
Missed. When you got out of the train it was pouring. That certainly did not help with your mood.
Everything is about foreshadowing.
When you got to the house itself - after about half an hour of bus riding - the sun was blinding both you and the conductor.
...Just ignore the rules. Write the story.
The setting is a train station on a rainy day. First try. “Rain was pouring over the trainstation.” No. You scribble over it. What did the book start with, again? A verb-less sentence? “The greyish train station.” Even better: “The rain.”
You really have to stop fooling around.
Besides, the word “greyish” doesn’t sound like it would belong in a first sentence. Maybe giving the Time first instead of the Place would work... “The story I am about to tell you” - that’s already such a bad start - “happened One Foggy Christmas Eve.” This is so ridiculous, thank goodness you didn’t write it down. This is what happens when you get a song stuck in your head for two weeks straight.
Stop. Fooling. Around!
“It was a grey and rainy day.” That’ll have to do. You can’t help feeling pround, and it makes you smile.
“It was a grey and rainy day.”
Your own statement.
You read over the last sentence you wrote. This ended up being much darker than the story it was originally inspired from. Deeper, too, in some way.
You feel worn out.
Your look at your watch.
You need a few seconds to remember at about what time you started this. One o’clock. Then a few more seconds to decipher the numbers and make the substraction. Now it is... four o’clock. This makes...
Your aunt calls from the first floor. Several seconds to register what she has said.
Something about snack time?
You feel like if you were awakening from a dream. You stand up, and twist the old door handle. No, wait. You must have walked across the room in between. In between... standing up and twisting the handle. That’s right.
Well, this reasoning must be very complicated for you to have walked down the staircase without noticing.
As you step into the kitchen you come face to face with you aunt. She says she thought you hadn’t heard, since you didn’t answer, so she was coming to check on you, and by the way what are these papers you are holding?
Oh. You hadn’t noticed you’d brought them. You hold them up to eye level. You’ve never seen so much of your own handwriting before. You stare at the pages, who seem to be getting heavier every second.
You answer something like: “Writing.” And then you ask about the FOOD.
Now she must believe you’re extremely hungry. Because as much as you try keeping a straight face, a smile is tugging as the corners of your mouth - a smile of something that very much feels like pride.
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