The Statue. Short Story.

Ok, so I hope this works as I am slightly flying blind here. The wordpress post page isn’t showing me what I’m writing, I am writing this in a word document of course, but I’m not 100% sure it will work. It seems I have to save the post to drafts before any writing will show up in preview, so hopefully this won’t just be a blank page that no one can read.

Anyway, I hope everyones week is going well, I’m still sick, yay. I went out for dinner last night with some friends, one of whom is going away for the summer, lucky cow, so I won’t see her for about 3 months. We got ice cream too, despite the rain, and it was delicious. I also watched the football match, don’t really watch football all that often but it was interesting enough, more so because of the crowds reaction rather than the football itself. It was a fun night, though I was fairly wrecked afterwards.

I’m still without internet at the moment and have my phone tethered again, it’s supposed to be back tomorrow so fingers crossed! You’d be surprised how much you need internet and how much you don’t. For example, I’ve been mostly without it for about 3 days now, at first it was like oh, I’ll just Google this, or look this up, then you remember there is no internet and it’s a giant pain or there’s work that you want to get done, but you need to be online for it. Now it’s not that bad, more of an “oh well. We’ll have it again eventually.” I’m not really any more productive than I was before the internet went, I suppose procrastination always finds a way!

Right, I’m off to watch some kids movies and feel bad about being sick! On with the show!

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The statue started at nothing. Her eyes were open, her face twisted in grief. The statue had been there as long as anyone could remember, one day it just appeared. No notice or signs of construction. It was just there. Twin furrows ran down her cheeks, shallow grooves created by the passing of a thousand tears. Of course, that was just the legend. It was really just some clever trick the sculptor had employed, to ensure rain water would run down the face of the statue that way. But no on ever points out that the rest of the face is fine and undamaged, that there is no other furrows on the body. That sometimes, on clear sunny days, those tracks glisten with moisture.

No one knew where she came from, no one knew who created her, but one thing was clear, she was in immense pain. It was etched into her very flesh, her posture, even her cold, empty eyes screamed in pain. There was no denying it. No one knew who she was, but everyone knew her pain. Some had been known to burst into tears after looking at her for too long, some people refused to stand close to her, and still others refused to even so much as glance at her smooth, pained face. He visited the statue daily however, sometimes he sat across from her, on a little bench, staring at her face. He didn’t know why he was drawn to her, just that he was. It seemed important that he come here day after day, to acknowledge her pain. While he sat, he didn’t look just at her, he watched the people going by, how they shied away from the statue ever so slightly, how their eyes turned towards the ground or the gardens, looking everywhere but at her. He had tried to find out who had commissioned the statue, who had sculpted it, but it was useless, there appeared to be little to no information on her. No one seemed to know where she had come from or why. Sometimes he wondered why they kept her at all, seeing as so many people were put off by her, surely they would do better to replace her with something more friendly. Yet despite peoples negativity towards her she stayed and he was thankful for it, had the city tried to take her away, he would probably try to buy it himself, something about the statue called to him, told him it needed to be preserved. So he came back day after day, sitting for an hour, sometimes a little longer, while he ate lunch or just thought about the day he had. It was his spot and seemingly his alone. He had never seen another person sit on the bench, people were so preoccupied with rushing past they probably never even noticed it was there. But he knew, it became his place, his seat, where he could sit and stare to his hearts content. It wasn’t like the other statues around the park, there was no pedestal on which she stood, she was placed firmly on the ground, the statue roughly the average height of a woman, maybe a little taller. He was surprised at first, that she wore what appeared to be modern clothes, jeans and a t-shirt, such a statue called to mind visions of ancient Grecian statues, perfectly white and perfectly sculpted, but her clothing was apt, much more so than an ancient dress would have ever been. Such clothing would have called forth myths and legends, curious and jealous gods, but modern clothing made it seem more lifelike, more real. She could be anyone on the streets, those people you pass by every day and pay no attention to, the people who wear grins like makeup, plastered on their face to hide the cracks and flaws while underneath they are screaming, endlessly screaming. That was partially why he loved her. She could be anyone, anyone at all. He sometimes dreamed that he came back to her as usual, and sat down on the bench as usual, but when he glanced upon her face, she was no longer wearing a rictus of pain, her face was still contorted, but contorted in bliss, her tears of pain and sadness turned to those of joy, her heart was no longer breaking, it had been healed and lifted to transcendental heights, far above the lower echelons of this plain, she has become the face of pure and unadulterated happiness as she gazes upon the human race, that which is so capable and so callous, so loving and so loathing. He wakes from these dreams feeling an inexplicable sense of loss, an idea, an image fleeting and just there belong his minds fumbling, feeble grasp. On days like this he returns to her, hoping that maybe, just maybe he was mistaken all those times before, that something deep inside him has been unlocked that will allow him to see her gaze as it really is, a gaze of hope and love and beauty. But the gaze stays the same, as it always has and always will. He tries to stop himself feeling disappointment, but he is unable. On days like that he questions his sanity, that maybe he is more than a little obsessed with the statue, but he dismisses it as strange dreams, nothing more and nothing less.

Days pass ponderously, unending and unstoppable, time moves towards nothing and still he returns to her. People drop in and out of his life, some more important than others, and still he returns. Lovers pass fleeting like the ever shortening days and still, he returns to her. Without fail, he returns to her, always and forever.

He is older now, so very old, his joints are sore and his movements slow, yet still he comes to her. His own beloved wife, loved eternally, has long since past, his children have grown and scattered themselves across the world, visiting occasionally, some out of love, others out of familial obligation. They too pass in and out of his life, always changing and morphing. He has grandchildren too, little tots and sullen teens, they pass in and out of his life like everyone else but yet they hold a special place. They will grow old and eventually will have grandchildren of their own, he knows this with great certainty as time moves ever onward, yet still he comes to her. She with the sad eyes and painful heart. The grooves have grown deeper over the years, deep, harsh ravines, clawed deep into her face. He sits on the bench, the one meant for just him and gazes at her. Every minute detail is etched in his mind and there it will remain until his own time comes. He breathes slowly, deeply, the walk to the park has taken so much from him, yet her gaze still fills him with strength. He looks at her and she looks at him, joined forever in this moment in time. He smiles slightly and lets go, leaving his earthly body, starting another journey. The statue’s empty eyes gaze at him and his empty eyes gaze back.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 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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