Written by Vanessa Grillone on November 20, 2014
As I typed THE END to another short story, that would more than likely get rejected, I exhaled fire. My hands stopped typing and rested just above the keys, trying to keep afloat. I looked up from my laptop to a wall filled with photos, newspaper snippets, goals, and dreams. A photo of my niece smiling tugs at my heartstrings, she’s standing by the oven, posing like she doesn’t have a care in the world. A printout from the Globe & Mail gawks at me, writers living in poverty is the topic, it was sent to me by a friend. Two subway tokens mock me, taunt me. They tell me that I’ll never be that downtown girl I thought I could be. Movie stubs and receipts from date-nights are the only thing on the wall that make me smile, make me feel okay.
I stare at the wall so long that my sight turns fuzzy and I feel out-of-place. Suddenly I don’t remember where I’m sitting or how I got there. I feel disoriented and lost, I don’t know if I should be sitting or standing, if I should be coming or going. I look at my dry hands with perfectly shaped nails at the tips, they’re still hovering above the keyboard. I blink and get my sight back again. I remember what I was doing, the story I was writing about love and acceptance. I remember exactly who I was going to send it in to and what I hoped would come from it. I let myself relish in the thought of winning that writing contest. I see my name in lights, or online at least, along with a photo taken from my Facebook page. I see my parents telling the family that I won, that they’re proud of me, that they knew all along something wonderful would happen. My heart bleeds for their approval.
The scent of coffee shakes me, literally. I’ve completely awoken from my daydream but an uneasiness lurks inside me. It’s as though I’m sitting where I shouldn’t be, I’m in a chair that doesn’t belong to me, a parking spot that doesn’t say VANESSA. Somewhere else is calling my name but it’s so muffled by space and time I can’t quite hear it. I can’t sense which direction it’s coming from — North, East, South, West.
I’ve never been good with directions –
so I stay,
in someone else’s chair,
writing someone else’s story.
*The End is a work of fiction*