View Full Version : Different shades of grey

September 25th, 2010, 01:22 PM
Would love to know what you think!

To know what the mind wants in a world where there is no existence worth understanding, is painful. I open my eyes and everything I see is washed out versions of what they should be. My life stays dormant for as long as my eyes are open, taking in mundane images and detailed little rules that are needed to be believed in and abhorred to. I have nothing against the rules but I feel my personality splitting to accommodate for the world that I see when I walk in my standard 9-5 life.

My 9-5 is this; Open eyes, sit up on my sofa, reach for an aspirin and ignore the other pots of pills that sit beside it. Walk down the hall, pour some coffee and wait for my ride to pick me up to go to work. He leaves me waiting most days, three to four hours if Iím lucky. When he does arrive he plays with the cars on the road like his own little death game. That part is always fun. I am a strong believer that anyone who gets into a car like that should also have ensured they have said goodbye to all the loved ones they could think of... Just in case.

Once the journey is complete, I once again find myself in the same place I have been for the past five years. The building is grey and nothing grows around the outside. I donít blame them, if I were a plant, I wouldnít grow there either. The people inside are nice. They are pleasant and talk with a smile and nod. They ask you how your day is and laugh at your jokes, but itís the same premise every day; sit, work, eat, sigh and go home again.

So I wait for my ride to take his head out of his superiorís arse at the end of the day and brace myself for my dice with death once more. I get in the car and not one word is muttered aside from the expletives that leave his mouth when another driver dares to complain as he overtakes them on a bend.

Iím home now and the washed out day is complete. My brain has been patient all day and now it gets what it wants. I sit on my space on the sofa, rest my head against the side and feel consciousness slip silently away.

Iíve always been able to log what happens from the moment I fall asleep to the moment I wake again. Most people can only remember the dream part, if that, but me? I can see it all.

At first nothing happens, darkness takes over and everything around me is the most still I have ever known. But even this is somehow better than my day because the richness of that dark is so much more intense than the washed out colours of my living room. I bask in it, feeling nothing and expecting nothing. Itís what I would have deemed as perfect... until pure perfection arrives.

It starts with a single spot of colour, usually a deep purple or a warm orange. I watch it, perfectly spherical, pushing at the darkness around it, desperate to fill the space with what it has to offer. The bigger the colour gets, the more tones are applied, and soon there is a whole rainbow of Technicolor that sends a shiver down my spine and makes me want to burst into laughter and scream ĎI donít think weíre in Kansas anymore!í

I watch the colours wash over the newly formed ground in front of me and push their way under my feet and into the space behind me. I always make sure I focus on that when it happens so I can always have that breathtaking feeling when I look up from the ground and see what my mind really wants to see. Itís beautiful, there are intense turquoise colours in the sky and in the lake ten feet away from where I stand. The bank that surrounds the lake, shows a couple of centimetres of chocolate brown until the emerald green shade of grass takes over and continues to where I am. The trees that tower over me on both sides are rich in colour, oak to my left and the most intensely bright orange tree to my right. I step forward and pick an orange, allowing the orange peel to fall on the floor behind me as I make my way towards the lake. Once I reach the bank I see my chair, itís lilac and big. The daddy of all armchairs, and it looks out onto the lake, giving a perfect view of the action on it. I sit on it and get that feeling from my very core. Today isnít a day for watching what happens on the lake, today weíre doing something else.

The colours merge into a blur around me as the realisation hit me and suddenly Iím no longer outside, instead I am in my flat, only nothing is plain about it. Everything is rich and sparkles and the walls are somehow bigger than in my wakened state. I smile, I know where I am, I know this place, not because Iíve lived in it for eight years, but because Iíve dreamt in it for four.

I stand and take the tour of my small flat, allowing my fingertips to touch everything I pass, each touch sends a tingling sensation soaring through my body. A tear falls down my cheek as I realise the pure joy that I am feeling in this moment, I am happy, happier than I have ever been. I can feel the familiar sense of frustration near the small of my back, it sits there most nights, niggling away, never completely gone because it knows, this isnít where I get to stay.

The room shifts on me and Iím suddenly in my kitchen, only I donít remember walking in there. I know what this means, it means heís getting impatient, it means he wants to be found. I smile to myself and walk to the entrance of the utility room, peering round the side to see two legs sticking out from the cupboard under the sink.

ďEnough with fixing the sink.Ē I say. ďYou know it works really.Ē

He pokes his head out of the cupboard and smiles his crooked smile.

ďI also know you like me as a handyman.Ē

I laugh slightly at that and role my eyes. I take his hand and drag him out, sitting on the floor in front of him I pull him towards me and allow him to kiss me ever so lightly as I watch his eyes cloud over with desire. I rest my forehead against his chest and sigh, a deep contented happy sigh.

But in spite of all of this the frustration in the small of my back gives a twist and tears fall from my eyes. I pull my face away and let my hands rest on his chest. I concentrate on the fabric of his denim shirt over his white stained t shirt. I let my fingers trace over the seam and rest at the buttons, I can feel the material, I can smell his aftershave, I can taste his breath so close to mine. The frustration presses against my spine and weaves into my stomach and I cry again. Only this time I sob heavily, desperation takes over me and I claw at the man in front of me, pressing myself as close to him as I possibly can. He soothes me, I can hear him whispering calm words in my ear. I can feel his hands rubbing my back, attempting to ease the sobbing away.

I havenít opened my eyes but I know the place has changed. Heís still with me but we arenít in the flat anymore, I open my eyes and see weíre at the bowling alley, only itís outside and itís snowing. I shiver, he takes his denim shirt off and wraps it round me. It makes sense, he couldnít possibly be any colder than he already is.

Callie is throwing a bowling ball down the lane, Tim is cheering her on. Theyíre dressed for summer, Callie in a yellow maxi dress, Tim in his horrific tropical surfer shorts and a sleeveless shirt. Callie scores a strike and Tim lets out a whoop of support, grabbing her and spinning her round.

Iím frustrated today, I want this place to be the normal happy place it usually is, but it bugs me that all three of them are in the snow and donít look cold.

ďItís snowing.Ē I say. ďYou need jumpers and jeans for snow.Ē

Callie laughs at that, ďWe donít need anything.Ē She replies.

I can feel him squeezing my waist in support, without looking I know heís staring at me in concern. I wish this place wouldnít have so many holes in it to prove itís inaccuracy. All itís doing today is showing why these people now only exist here.

Callie has a scar by her collar bone, she doesnít notice it but I hate that tonight I did. The bowling ball she picks up to play is grey. I scream in frustration as I see my place crack around me.

I can no longer feel his hand at my waist, I donít want to look around because I canít stand the idea that heís not there anymore. I close my eyes and scream again and then I open them and look at the washed out colours of my small living room. I reach out and take an aspirin, ignoring the other pots of pills that sit beside it.

Ricky Jalapeno
September 25th, 2010, 05:52 PM
This is pretty good. I'm not good at being a critic because I'm too nice. So sorry haha

September 26th, 2010, 06:29 AM
To know what the mind wants in a world where there is no existence worth understanding, is painful. I open my eyes and everything I see is washed out versions of what they should be.
In the first sentence, something does not agree - the verb "is" goes with singular, "versions" is plural, "everything" is singular. Something doesn't match and throws me out right away...

The Backward OX
September 26th, 2010, 07:56 AM
everything I see is washed out versions of what they should be.

everything I see is a washed out version of what it should be.

abhorred = adhered. Abhor means hate, adhere means stick.

Richard Smith
September 26th, 2010, 08:43 AM
I'm not really sure what I think. It was a bit confusing, lines like
I can feel him squeezing my waist in support, without looking I know he’s staring at me in concern. I wish this place wouldn’t have so many holes in it to prove it’s inaccuracy. All it’s doing today is showing why these people now only exist here. are a bit confusing to me, and I think could be phrased much better. I'm not sure where the story is going, or why we need to know wht is going on in her dreams. I'm kind of imagining it would be a drug induced state, but the text before doesn't seem to indicate that this is the case. Maybe I'm just not getting it, but I'm not feeling a lot of bite from this slice of story.

September 26th, 2010, 01:48 PM
Thanks, it's built on an idea that reality is no longer where she wants to be. Her reality has been altered and stripped away and now all she has is the memory of a world she preferred. Somewhere she can only access in her dreams. The end is rushed and should be revised, I needed to end it and couldn't see it happening so I sort of stopped it.

I wanted it to seem confusing, like the mind rambling and coming to a natural conclusion but I think I probably went a little too far in places! Thanks for the critique, I shall try to tighten up where it starts to wander.

September 26th, 2010, 07:10 PM
Very well written Introduction. Your a good writer.

But it's not my kind of story..
You started with the world but then you shifted.. to you. :P Just not what i personally read.

September 28th, 2010, 08:37 AM
I'm not going to dwell on grammar. There are a few things like those mentioned already, but nothing that a good read through won't fix(preferably after a few days to distance yourself from your own writing).

The story is great. I like the concept; the theme of nostalgia and severe escapism is something that many can relate to, even if not everyone will identify it as that. However, I do feel that it's never clear enough that this is related to her past. Perhaps this is my fever talking but I didn't actually realize this until I read your reply to Mr. Smith.

Last but not least, you have several highlights that I really loved.

if I were a plant, I wouldnít grow there either
This one is just great, it has a bit of wit and cynicism but most of all it serves its purpose excellently.

I also know you like me as a handyman
A sharp reminder to the reader, just as things begin to look good again, that it's all just make-believe.

I wish this place wouldnít have so many holes in it to prove itís inaccuracy
Not so much the phrasing in this case, but the idea, the moment when the brittle dream finally breaks apart. It's painful, it's defeating and it's definitive. It's the moment when you realize you can't just close your eyes and go back. You can't shake it of. The first few times the character and the reader both just shake it all off. This time reality has tainted everything and the only option is admitting defeat.

I enjoyed the read. Go through the few grammatical hiccups, maybe add a comma here and there for rhythms sake and throw us a final draft.