On The Brightside

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Inspired by Never Shout Never's song "On The Brightside". A short story of how polar opposites can have more in common than you'd think with a message of learning to accept who you are.

Submitted: July 27, 2014

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Submitted: July 27, 2014

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“On The Brightside”

 “This world is quite vicious to us all, isn’t it?” Sam heard someone say, but he saw no speaker. He looked around his surroundings and heard a giggle. He furrowed his brow in confusion and continued on his way when he heard a loud squeak. He had stepped on a creature! In fact, this creature was so small he could possibly fit in Sam’s pocket.

Sam jumped back in astonishment and examined this peculiar creature. He was about two feet tall and was as red as one’s nose on a cold winter’s day. He was brushing dirt off his arms and did not look impressed. Frankly, he looked as if he was getting redder with each second that passed them by. He had abnormally large feet compared to his body and on these strange feet he wore weathered brown boots with the laces undone.

Sam didn’t want to upset the creature more than he already was but he had to do something. “Do you need a cloth or a towel?” Sam asked, hoping the creature wouldn’t take offense.

“A towel?! A cloth?!” the creature screeched, looking angrier than Sam thought was possible.

“Do you not think I am capable of wiping dirt off myself? Dirt which, may I add, was put on me by you in the first place! I may be small but I am bigger than a lot of people and you have no right to assume differently. I have a great personality and am nice to everyone and I am sick of giants like you with monstrosity bodies walking all over me!” The red creature was puffing at this point and looked like he was ready to pass out. He was the colour of an exotic pepper. The type of pepper that you’re afraid to put in your mouth in case you, well, die...

Sam was now very frightened. He was terrified of angering people. The creature was sitting down, still panting, with his head in his hands. He was shaking it slowly while tutting.

“Oh, it’s no use!” he cried, and looked at Sam through watery eyes. His eyes were glistening and he was breathing heavily. Sam didn’t know what to do, but he sat down beside the little creature and held his tiny hand.

“Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here or anywhere. It feels as if I’m passing through all these tall creatures that have hopes as high as themselves. It makes me feel like maybe my hopes are as small as myself and it makes me want to disappear.” The creature looked desperate and Sam felt his own heart breaking.

Sam did not know this creature’s name, nor did he know anything about him. He was just there. But Sam believed that this unusual creature was here for a reason even if they did not know of it yet.

“You’re only as tall as your heart will let you be and your hopes will be as big as you want them to be. The world may make you feel and seem small, but really your own opinion is what defines you. I believe that if you have a low opinion of yourself, then how can other people have a high opinion of you?”

  The creature had now spread two of the fingers covering his face and peeked through the gap at Sam, puzzled. His lip began to quiver and Sam waited with bated breath, afraid that the peculiar creature would continue to weep.

  “Wha- what do you mean?” the creature asked with a shaky voice. He was afraid and he was lonely and all he wanted was for people to see him as something of significance, something of importance, but most of all, he wanted to see himself as important and significant. He missed being hopeful, he missed having dreams, he missed feeling as if he belonged. He feared that it was too late for him. Too late for hope, too late for dreams, maybe even too late for anything? He just wasn’t sure about anything anymore or maybe he had never been sure about anything ever and was only just beginning to realise it. Or maybe, just maybe this was supposed to happen. Maybe he was supposed to run into a monstrosity of a boy and have his perspective whooshed, but he squashed that idea as soon as it sprung up from a dusty and unused part of his brain. He liked to keep painful thinking that evoked confusion to a minimum as much as he could. But it was too late, he had started thinking and he felt as if he couldn’t stop. His hands were shaking and beads of sweat were slowly forming on his forehead and falling towards his eyes at an almost unbearable pace. The worst part for him was realising that all this thinking had only taken place in a short period of time: merely a few seconds. The monstrosity that was called Sam had yet to even answer his question.

The creature observed Sam as he took a breath; he looked like he was preparing himself. He looked at the creature and smiled. It wasn’t a grin, it wasn’t that uncomfortable smile that one pulls off when they’d much rather be somewhere else, it was a real smile. Sam smiled kindly at the creature and almost shyly. He lowered his gaze to the ground and picked up a stone and began passing it from one hand to the other.

“A man, and a very wise one at that, gave me the same advice that I have just given to you not too long ago. I was very uncomfortable in my own skin and felt like I didn’t belong and as if there was nowhere at all for me to belong, but I now know that that is not true. I may be tall, but that doesn’t define me, it doesn’t make me any different than you. What defines us is how we treat people, how we cope with things, who we are, what we believe in,  how we can manage to get up every morning and find something that keeps us going because God knows, we need that something. Whether it’s a chance to do something good, or bad, or indifferent, it doesn’t even matter. What matters is the fact that you are still here trying. And you, my friend, are not trying.” Sam let out a breath and looked at the creature through squinted eyes.

The creature’s eyes widened with anger and he shook his fist at Sam indignantly. “How dare you!” he sputtered and Sam grinned, causing the creature to become even angrier.

 “You most certainly are not!” Sam said sharply. He was not usually a harsh person and was fondly referred to as a ‘friendly giant’, which he did not mind too much anymore. He was doing this for this creature’s benefit.

“I just want to help,” Sam said, “but sometimes just sitting back and holding someone’s hand is pointless. Telling them to move on is pointless and will backfire because as soon as you throw that boomerang away from you it comes flying back and that will keep happening until you gain the courage to snap it in half, jump on it for a while and then finally throw it in a bin (no one likes a litterer) preferably a thousand miles away from you. There is no act such as “sweeping it under the rug.” That is faulty. That will not work. So you, yes you, bring that rug and that dust you’ve been working on back to the store and get a refund. The hurt and the shame might steer clear for a while, but it will return. It will return and it will be vengeful, it will be malevolent, it will be spiteful, it will be angry, it will be vicious, it will be angry. It will no longer be the quiet longing stirring in the back of your mind on a lonely rainy day. It will no longer be the tender ache in your heart that throbs when you hear or see something that hurts. No, this is completely different. This hurt; this pain considers them a part of you and you tried to get rid of them? The deceit! The trickery! The pretence! You tried to get rid of them, you tried to sweep them under a rug! You tried to leave them alone in the dark! And they will not approve, they will not look the other way and allow you to move on with your life. Oh no, they will be back. They will strike when you least expect it. They will strike when things are finally starting to get better. But worst of all, they will bring friends. This dust is not just depression and sadness, this dust has millions of molecules, millions of atoms, millions of feelings you didn’t even know existed and they’ll get you. They might even kill you, it depends on how badly you swept them under that rug and don’t even think about dusting and hovering that just makes them deadly, even to bystanders...

So that is why you need to destroy the hurt, the pain, the anything. You need to destroy whatever is holding you back. You need to destroy whatever has wrapped its tentacles, chains, claws, or freakishly long fingers around your neck. You need to destroy whatever has tied a noose around your neck and is just waiting for the perfect moment to tie you to a tree. You need to destroy it and you need to destroy it now. I want you to scream until your throat aches, until your bones shake, until your heart breaks from how much you’re trying. You’re going to keep trying and then you’re going to try some more. You will fail, you will fall, you will crumble and then do you know what you’re going to do? You’re going to get back up and smack that smirk off that dust’s nonexistent face and you are going to try again. You will keep trying and eventually you will succeed. It will take time, maybe even years, but all this hard work will pay off. It has to.” Sam was breathing heavily by now, he rubbed his eyes and looked at the little creature standing before him. He could see tears swimming in his eyes and saw them spilling onto his cheeks. Sam had no desire to hurt the creature; he just wanted to help him in any way that he could, even if it meant making himself out to be the bad guy.

  “I just want to help...”  Sam said again with a sigh and sat down on a nearby rock. The little creature was shaking in his boots, literally.

He gulped and stared down at his feet. “No one has ever said anything like that to me...” he squeaked. He looked up at Sam and then back down at his worn boots. Sam sighed and ran his fingers through his now tousled hair.

“That’s because most people are idiots or don’t know what to say, which is a pretty pathetic and convenient excuse in my opinion.” Sam said this bitterly and laughed without a trace of humour in his voice. “But that doesn’t mean that they don’t care,” he added quickly. “They probably just don’t know what to do.”

“But you seem to know what to say...” the creature muttered. He had begun playing with the bottom of his shirt and Sam realised that the creature really was quite timid.

  “I’m not most people. I mean have you seen someone this tall before?” Sam asked, smiling now. He was becoming quite fond of the little creature before him, even though the creature was probably twice his age.

  “But, like you said, size doesn’t matter.” The creature peeked up at Sam and grinned guiltily.

Sam laughed and shook his head. “You’re right. Size doesn’t define how much you’re worth, the only thing it defines is scientific measurements and you and I don’t really fit into the category of science, do we?” The creature didn’t answer.

Sam sat down beside the creature and held out his pinky for the creature to shake it. “Hello there, completely normal and important creature, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. My name is Sam; I do not like green eggs and ham.”

  The creature smiled and shook Sam’s pinky. “Hello Sam, it is nice to meet you too.”

  Sam stared at the creature, waiting, but he did not speak again. “Aren’t you going to tell me your name too?” he asked.

“Name? I’m afraid I do not have a name...” the creature said sadly.

“You never gave yourself a name?” Sam asked.

“No...” the creature responded.

Sam suddenly had a great idea. “Well, it’s not too late, is it? Pick a name for yourself.”

“Mushroom!” the creature blurted out and then covered his face as it had turned bright red with embarrassment. Sam did not find this embarrassing at all, however.

“Why mushroom?” he asked curiously.

“I love mushrooms, especially the red and white ones.” Sam was going to ask more questions, but decided against it as this creature was certainly from a completely different... species?

“Oh well, it’s very nice to meet you Mushroom.” Sam smiled at Mushroom and Mushroom smiled back.

“We need to go to the furniture store down the road...” Mushroom said shyly. “I need to return a rug.”

 

 

 

The End


© Copyright 2020 Gingey. All rights reserved.

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