A Well-Lit Darkroom

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A simple one-shot, thinking about life and the choices we make to attain our dreams. It was written in early 2006, so I was, I believe, twelve at the time. Yep. Seventh grade. Twelve.

Submitted: October 04, 2008

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Submitted: October 04, 2008



She sat in the lit office, the bright room a stark contrast to the midnight sky. Her desk lamp burned its image into her eyes. When she closed them against the light, a bright circle blazed through the pitch-black of her lids, fading quickly. She blinked and reached to dim the lamp. In front of her was yet another paper, chosen from the multitudes sitting atop her desk. She looked to her right and left and smiled. Not at any personal trinkets or souvenirs--no, her corner office was bare of those--but at the fact that her pending pile was rapidly dwindling. In a move uncharacteristic of the young woman, she set down her pen and rubbed her eyes with a weary hand.

As she lowered her left hand, her eyes fixated on it and she began twisting her ghost of a wedding ring round and round her finger. It was a place a ring had nearly occupied, thrown off by the woman in her climb to the top. No, trinkets had no use in her world, the one she had made.

Her pale fingers, pale as the rest of her from routine midnight workdays, began to shake. She reflexively clenched her hands, flinching as she felt her polished nails dig into her palms. She quickly spun around in her chair and held her injured hands over a wastebasket, filled to the brim with paper refuse. Red drops slowly formed and fell onto the paper, a garish red smear against the pure white. Carefully grabbing a tissue, she wiped off the blood and let the sodden item drop into the garbage, pushing the trash underneath her desk.

The young woman closed her eyes to the gruesome scene, but was confronted with one even more terrifying beneath the cover of her closed lids. A young woman whose still-smooth features carried lines of anxiety had hermited herself away in her high-rise office, even as the sounds of yuletide celebration drifted in from downstairs. The girl, barely a woman, had traded her youth's very existence for a paycheck and benefits. She had spent her young life trying to earn money that she would never be able to spend on anyone but herself, pushing away any man to climb the corporate ladder. Both the young woman's dreams and nightmares had come true, swirling together in mad fantasy until she could barely tell them apart.

This scene, her present, was etched into the woman's corneas like a darkroom negative. It burned her blessedly with its ferocity before it, too, faded from sight. The woman opened her eyes and slowly looked around the wood-paneled room, as if making a final judgement to see it all her sacrifices were worth it, if she should simply drop her paper and walk out the door to sweet and utter freedom. Was it truly worth it?

She reached for the next paper, and prayed for a knock at the door.

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