The Birth of Relations

She sits at the bar, the stool she sits upon rough and torn by years of abuse and minutes of faux cleaning. She gestures to the barman for another one, hoping this one may finally help her gather the courage she needs to try to speak to someone. She’s spent so long on her own, her constant fear of failure and rejection always present, always forcing her away from any attempts at conversation… from attempts at discovering community, discovering friendships and loves. She takes a small sip, she hates the taste, but the slight buzz it gives helps her build her confidence, helps her ignore the voices nagging at her, insisting she’ll fail and be rebuked. Her tumbling hair hugs her shoulders. Her shoulders are tight to her body, a habit she’s long developed to hide in plain sight, behind her own body. She wants to quickly scan the room. She wants to find a friendly face which will let her start something. She wants to start something.

She doesn’t look around, she can’t look around, she can only glance at the people down the bar, all engaged with each other. She can’t bring herself to leave, although she wants to. No, she can’t let herself leave, she’s resolute that she will do what she came for. She will find someone, someone who will help feel less lonely, someone who will help her ignore the voices, the sounds which tell her to hide. Her eyes are a dark green, a deep green which harbours her thoughts, they almost seem to swirl a darker black colour when she furrows her brow. Her flannel shirt runs down, even below the stool itself, acting more as a cape than a shirt, guarding her legs and her body from the cold of the door. She wants to say something at least to the barman, her drink is not low though, and she knows she’ll just once again gesture for more, to scared to dare let noise come from her mouth, for fear of stumbling, of falling over. She wants to tr

“Why don’t your try opening your body out a bit sweetie?”

“It might encourage people to try and come talk to you, so you don’t have to sit lonely at the bar.”

“You don’t have to be walled up and slouched all the time.”

“You’re not the most talkative are you?”

“Why not just turn and look at me sweetie, I don’t bite.”

She turned and saw a friendly half smile on the small girl’s face. She felt a surge of shyness and fear overcome her. Her body and mind insisted she turn away, she look back at her drink or the bar. She never found the source of that crack after all.

The girls smile grew larger as she kept looking.

“I’m Ashley, I’d love to learn your name, or ya know, you could just keep looking at me and I’ll try and guess it.” Ashley’s eyes became wider as Ashley spoke. Ashley just stared at her, almost daring her to say something back, to try and begin the interaction for herself.

“I’m Rachel.”

“Well hi Rachel, I hope I didn’t bother you. I mean it’s not like I could have bothered much, unless you were looking for the source of that crack, but, I mean, who would do that.”

Rachel blushed…

“It’s actually like two stools down by the way, you were getting close, but that guy would have blocked you off anyway. Hope I didn’t spoil it”

Rachel snorted a little, feeling more at ease the more the small girl engaged and spoke to her.

“I do see that, but, I think you’ll find the source is somewhere over the bar there, the crack only gets smaller from that bit” She pointed where Ashley had claimed “and then grows larger along the bar. The source is gonna be where the crack is the biggest.”

“OK, but, you seem to be ignoring the fact it could have been a really small knife jammed into the bar there, and then everyone who expanded the crack just used bigger knives.”

Rachel just stared at her.

“Listen, you’d be surprised how many bars have an open crack night, I mean I alone have added at least a foot to that crack, and I’ve always enlarged my tool as I got farther down. I started with a cleaver… You don’t know where I could get a broad sword do you?’

Rachel laughed a bit now, Ashley’s blue eyes inviting her to enjoy the comedy of her statement, confident she’d be getting the right response.

“I mean, I can’t argue with that. But I can help you with the broadsw-

The voices didn’t leave entirely, the sounds didn’t wane totally.

The glass of liquid never left the bar.

And the liquid never ended up leaving the glass.

*I hope you were able to enjoy this little story I’ve worked on as my grand return. I’m hoping I’ll be better now at getting writing pieces out at a frequency of greater than one a year. My sincerest apologies for that. Please leave any comments below, and feel free to contact me via the details left in the contact page. Thank you for reading.

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On Fatherhood

I had to wait outside, outside alone, while she was coming. I had to be outside, alone with my thoughts, while she was fighting out. I won’t be outside, while she performs her miracles.

She stands on those minuscule baby feet, with miniature baby toes and a cheeky smile engulfing her face. An oversized bear is being dragged behind her as she stomps around, it too practicing it’s discovery of the joy of walking. She laughs, strange hiccupy laughs as she wobbles around, the eyes, which were her mothers, glint with the euphoria of discovery, of successful curiosity.

She lies in the snow, failing miserably at creating an angel. Her rapidly growing hair swiftly blinding her vision for brief seconds before being shifted out of the way. Her hands, covered in red mittens, clutch at the white fluff, combining it, creating a new, far larger compound of resources which she morphs into a crude ball. She briefly throws it away, before returning her attention to the hole that is supposed to be an angel.

She looks up at me, sweet button nose sniffing the air to check there are no goodies being hidden from her. Her recently cut hair straddling the pillow, stopping just before her shoulders. Her eyes slowly close, bored and done with listening to whatever garbage story I was reading. She lay completely calm, not quite still, but rested, peaceful and cosy in her vastly oversized bed.

She releases the ball, hard, right at her mom. It performs a perfect arc and lands easy in her mothers hand. She giggles in delight and yells at her mother to throw it back. The catching is her favourite part. She watches the ball’s release intently, observes its curve, backing up slowly. Then, as it gets closer, she retreats suddenly and just as the ball looks beyond catching she dives down covering barely a foot, and snatches the ball just before it reaches the cool earth. The dive is pointless. But, she insists, it makes sure the ball is in her hands.

She lies next to me, snuggling between myself and her mother. I play with a strand of her hair, rolling it around in my fingers. She’s perfect, a trait purely from her mother. She snores lightly, her chest rising and collapsing in unison with the sound. Her hands clutch at the couch, her feet push up against her mom. Her face is cradled in my arms. Her angel face is cradled in my arms. Her face is cradled in my arms.

She’s cradled in my arms. Tiny miniature, perfectly asleep, just like her mother. I smile down at her. I promise her, I promise her I will never be outside again. I promise her, I promise her, I promise her I will make mistakes, but I will never be outside again.

Missed Connections

Allow me to preface by insisting this is not a story about missed chances at love. It is not intended to be, despite it’s appearance as one. Instead this is more of a case study, something to explore the tragedy of failed acquaintanceship.

The story starts at 5:20, normally an inconsequential time, but now somewhat important as I was not on a bus home as I should have been, now important as my tardiness would lead me to have to take an alternate route home, at a slightly later time. At 5:20, as opposed to being sat in a bus, whiling away the time I can afford to squander, I was stood in line for a different one, this one was significantly smaller, and it’s route significantly longer. It was until a minute or two later that I first saw her, quite cute, with tumbling red hair and with clear eyes staring down at the sidewalk. I looked away, not taking anymore glances as I assumed this was all I would ever think of her again, simply a pretty girl on the bus. I boarded the bus.

She chose to sit a few a seats ahead of me, such that I couldn’t really see her as she leaned into the seat. Then, surprisingly, she chose to move seats soon after sitting, she moved so that she was directly opposite me, so that we were in different rows, but right next to each other. This was the first thing that hinted to me perhaps she was interested in opening conversation with me. Then just a few seconds after she had sat down she was staring intently at me, which I responded to by meeting her gaze. After a few moments of two strangers peering at each other, she smiled shyly and turned away, facing the window. Once again I chose to ignore this as simply accidental.

As the bus began turning out of the station, I turned and looked at her, and soon once again we were meeting each others eyes and exploring what was hidden behind. I concluded she might be somewhat interested in at the very least getting to know me, but chose to leave it for a little bit, just so I could look back later and be certain that she was in fact looking at me. It wasn’t until after the next stop, as the bus started to fill up, that I chose to look over again. I really wanted to be certain that she was just as intrigued as me and hoped silently that she would meet my gaze. She did, and held it for the longer than the other times. My mind decided that I would try and move over to speak to her, I began to procrastinate over what to say and how I would be received. This is where my mistake was made, as opposed to being brave and speaking to her my nervousness and timid nature began giving my doubt of her interest, I went from certain to unsure swiftly, and soon was debating in my head how I would start the conversation. It was this procrastination that caused the missing of the connection, as I sat debating, we stopped again and a women got on, a women who chose to sit in the seat that I would have to in order to engage conversation. My chances of ever speaking to this girl had gone from decent to embarrassingly dismal.

To my dismay she did in fact get off the bus, casually looking back at me as she got out, only compounding my frustration. Now, I don’t want this to be looked on as a failed love story, or that I am pining after this girl, although there is a non-zero chance that is precisely what I am doing. I want to use this to explore human relations and their formations. It was so rare for me to be in such a situation that I somewhat panicked, and failed to achieve anything meaningful out of the events. It is intriguing to me that the majority of the people I know are either people who I have been to school with, worked with, or grown up alongside. In fact the only other meaningful relationship I have had with someone I met outside of school or work was with someone I met taking a sailing course. It is a tragedy of failed exploration or curiosity and my inability to simply engage with this girl haunts me. Not as much that she may have been a lover, but simply that she was another human being with a personality and interests that may have aligned or at the very least intersected occasionally with my own.

In my opinion it is a tragedy of human interaction that we have made up social norms and expectations that almost hinder social interaction. Or maybe this is all pointless drivel I have invented in my head to compensate for my immense timidity and fear of unprovoked interaction. Either way hopefully this story does in fact act as a case study towards the value of approaching people, and attempting interactions. Who knows what we could be missing out on.