Her Small Life. Short Story.

She lay in bed, curled slightly, with the duvet wrapped tightly around herself. The room was dark and though she was awake, she did not bother to turn on any lights. She liked lying in the darkness. She’d need to get up soon, but had little interest, after all, there was nothing she really had to do today, there was no one waiting for her to get up, she wasn’t meeting anyone. All she’d do was laze around her apartment, maybe go out for errands but really who were they for? It was only her so it’s not like she would be missing out on anything. She had food and books, she could go out to buy more but would it just so she had something to do? Her to read pile was large and always growing larger, she’d had enough to read for at least the next three years.

She hated times like this, when she couldn’t ignore it, when she was made acutely aware of how alone she was. She could go weeks, sometimes months, without feeling this way but it was unstoppable when it hit. Oh she always knew she was lonely, but it was so easy to push it away, to ignore it. She’d go to bookshops and browse, go food shopping and buy something tasty, something that looked delicious and smelled amazing, she’d sit in a restaurant or coffee shop, happy enough to be alone, but when these feelings appeared all those things became pointless, trivial. She was always convinced people were staring at her, talking about her, about how alone she was and how she had no friends.

She untangled herself from the covers and stretched before standing. She was tired, she always was at times like these. She dressed in pyjamas, not bothering to put on proper clothes. She told herself she’d change into something after she showered, knowing that she might not bother today, after all, it’s not like she was going anywhere or seeing anyone. She went into the kitchen to decide what to do for breakfast, the apartment was bright after the dark confines of her room. She glanced at the fridge and, though it was full, she did not want to cook anything. She abandoned the kitchen and went to the sitting room, trying to decide between books or television. She scanned the shelves and pulled a book out, then sat on the couch, television remote in hand. She’d have a choice of both if one failed to hold her attention. She’d probably switch back and forth between the two for the rest of the day.

It was a few chapters and mindless TV shows later when the grumbling of her stomach forced her out of the chair. She didn’t really want anything to eat, but knew she should. After a few moments of indecisiveness, she pulled out a few take away menus she had lying around. It was easiest. After placing her order she went back to her books and television, going back to the other lives they presented. They made her feel less alone, and until this feeling passed, as it always had and always would, she would consume them in copious amounts.

The brief interaction with the delivery boy was awkward, she didn’t enjoy personal encounters when she felt like this, sometimes she thought it might help but it only reminded her how poor she was with people. She had taken the food and tipped him, trying to engage in banal pleasantries, but it was draining. He didn’t speak too much, probably thinking she was hung over. She took the boxes and returned to her sanctuary and prison. The food would do her for the entire day, she didn’t eat much normally and she had ordered a large amount of food. It might even do for tomorrow if she was still feeling this way. She knew she probably would but didn’t acknowledge it.

She sat at her table, which was by the window, sometimes on nice days she’d go out onto the small balcony and eat there, but though it was bright she didn’t really feel like going to that effort. She opened the door slightly to allow the smells and sounds of the city to enter. She was lucky, there was a nice view for her here and as she ate, she looked out at the people passing by, the couples, the friends, the families. She stopped when she was full and carefully wrapped the food up, leaving it on the counter. She closed over the door, shutting everything out and returned to the couch.

Though it was getting late, she did not bother to turn on lights, allowing the pale flickering glow of the television to light the room, it was too dark to read but she had stopped reading her book a while ago, instead opting to flick through the numerous television stations. She turned off the television, momentarily plunging the apartment into darkness before her eyes adjusted to the lights coming from outside. She closed over the blinds and turned on two lights. She was tired, but felt like having a shower. She gathered towels and a dressing gown. She turned on the shower, allowing the water to adjust, she placed the dressing gown onto the radiator, the room was warm and steam would soon fill it. She stripped and stepped into the shower, allowing the warm spray to cover her body. She tipped her head back, moving into the water, she closed her eyes and let it run down her face, luxuriating in the warmth it provided. She started her special routine, the one for when she was feeling down, using only the most expensive body washes, shampoos and lotions, washing and scrubbing her skin. She enjoyed long showers and did not hurry this time.

When she stepped from the shower, her skin felt clean and soft, slipping into the warm dressing gown she wrapped a towel around her hair, normally she’d use a hair dryer but she was still tired though she did feel better. She left the bathroom, clouds of steam billowing around her. She dried herself and changed into a new pair of pyjamas, she felt better, so much better now. She sat down and ate some more of the takeaway, eating slowly, enjoying the taste and texture, she’d finish off some of her book then go to bed, tomorrow, she’d go out, there were some things she needed to do. This spell had passed quickly and though she felt different she knew, though she pushed it away, knew that there would be a next time and next time it wouldn’t go away so easily.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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2 Responses to Her Small Life. Short Story.

  1. Scanning through a few of the short stories posted recently, this certainly comes out best. Cleanly written and with little adornment, you paint a convincing picture of the stark loneliness of modern life suffered by so many.

  2. Thank you, It is quite weird that people can live next to one another and know nothing about the people next door, especially apartments. It is quite strange.

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