A Faithful Friend of Mine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story of 823 words inspired by The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It is a tale of a young girl's loneliness as she attempts to face the world on her own.

Submitted: January 21, 2013

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Submitted: January 21, 2013

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Alone, I stood in the big city watching life pass me by, one speeding vehicle at a time. They beeped and they shouted as the chaos of the city washed over me like the ferocious waves of the red sea. I just stood; evaluating the world around me from inside the complexity of my mind. I watched as lovers fell together and others fell apart. I longed to feel that… to go through the ups and downs, the infatuation and the hatred. I wanted to fall so deeply for someone that their absence would cause me to ache.

I didn’t belong here. There was something peculiar that drew me to the city – the lights and the glamour seemed to call you. It traps you in a whirlwind of adventure and hopeless romance. The tale was sweet but the reality was far from it, at least for me. My friends seemed to follow the pattern: they came to the city, it captured them, then a handsome man would come, steal them away and take them through the animation of emotion. From my vacuum, I would watch it happen over and over as I was left behind to be with myself – which did send me quite mad. There was something demoralising about it; watching as two people fall madly whilst you look on from a distant window.  The lustrous emotion rushes past until it becomes just a faint light in the distance.

Slowly the people around me seemed to dissolve into their own affairs. I had none. I would spend my time alone in my room, conversing with the open air. The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence. I sought company in the pages of enchanting tales – I was Jane Eyre struggling against oppression, fighting to be with the man I truly loved; I was Catherine Morland searching for excitement in the Abbey. I was everyone. I would lose myself in the excitement of the dancing words on the pure white sheets for hours. However, once I came to find myself on the final page of the wonderful stories of my brilliant friends, it occurred to me that I was, once again, rather alone. I lacked that feeling, that…

How does one come to feel so alone?

My loneliness, I concluded, was not through lack of trying, nor an air of superiority, but rather an underlying feeling that those who came would always come to leave. I had always felt different – but I hadn’t always felt so… lost. It was only when I came to move to the city that I began to lose myself. It was all well and good sitting alone in my tiny bedroom with my books and my posters and my timeless wooden clock with its beautiful grooves and rhythmic ticking which often harmonised with the blinking of my eyelids as I drifted to sleep. The city is much larger than my bedroom.

When I first came to the city I remained in contact with James. James was a son of a friend of my mothers. There was nothing distinct about his appearance: his hair was jet black and strands of it would fall rebelliously on to his face; he was quite tall; his complexion held a slight colour and his eyes were maroon with a few light flickers of hazel. Mother thought us perfect for one another and I will admit I grew fond of him. We would spend hours sharing stories and interests and I thought that one day I might come to love him. James was older than me and so, when summer reached its end he had to leave. Of course, he promised to visit, but he was always too busy. When I moved to the city I received a letter of ‘sincere regret’ that James could no longer wait for me and had decided it was ‘best for us both’ that we move on. I have come to accept that people are not permanent.

The greatness of the city had swallowed me whole and left behind a girl who lived her life largely in her mind. I found myself back at the beginning; home was nothing special, but it was familiar to me, comforting.

I had been home but a few weeks when I heard James had returned for the festive season. Mother suggested I see him and that our romance might reignite. Reluctantly, I agreed. When I arrived I stood outside for a while, not daring to knock in case my arrival displeased him. I mustered up a courage alien from my usual being. I had nothing to lose; for once I would put my hope in something other than books. The door opened and a petite young woman was revealed, wearing only a shirt which I recognised as James’.

I ran home and returned to my vacuum, shut off from the world. I was safe here. 


© Copyright 2020 Laura Emerson. All rights reserved.

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