Above is the photo prompt for the Writer Wednesday blog hop. Below is the story I created around it. Enjoy!
Mandatory words: dictionary, ladder, Sparrow, spinach, café
It’s hard to imagine the dark space blanketed in dust and cobwebs sits only steps above the town’s most popular café— vibrant and alive with the buzzing chatter of young people drinking sugared espresso and talking about the latest movies and music. Their fancy digital devices snapping pictures, pinging friends, and lighting to life with each ring, I feel like I live within the bowels of a mechanical toy.
Back when I lived, this place was the old bookstore. It smelled not of organic spinach salads and hearty soups, but of paper and ink swirled together with the sandalwood candles Mrs. Mathaney used to light every day. The musty fragrance and cozy ambiance was inviting, warm, and comforting. This place embodied a different kind of life. Thousands of lives, really. The shelves were lined with tales of adventure, romance, and mystery. Each book held its own world told through vibrant language, woven together like the most beautiful cloth you’ve ever laid eyes upon. I would read book after book, wrapping myself up in the colorful stories of people and places far away and long ago. This was a place of quiet peace. A refuge away from reality.
I spent hours composing prose up in the attic. Mrs. Mathaney was like a grandmother to me, and one day she set up an old writing desk and rickety chair for me in the upper space. I am still confounded as to how she got it up the narrow wooden ladder. She encouraged me to write about my own world and to create new ones. There was a window right above my desk, round with four rectangular panels etched into the glass. As I leaned back in the chair one morning, pondering the next great American novel, I watched a sparrow land on the outside ledge of the dirty pane. I found myself imagining the freedom it must’ve felt being able to glide through the world and landing wherever it wanted to. I remember thinking, if I were a bird I would fly to all the wonderful places I had read about.
The sparrow became my muse as I wrote stories of the lands I would travel and the adventures I would experience. My characters became the people I dreamed of becoming—fearless and confident with their words, sure-footed and carefree in their actions, and known for their heroism. I poured my heart and imagination on to the pages, secretly hoping that someday someone somewhere would want to know my soul. No one ever asked. No one noticed.
I loved writing. The desk still sits up there in the dark with nothing but a dusty dictionary sitting upon it. My stories live inside the drawer with the broken handle. The building has new life, but for me I wander the familiar upper space living in the past—a refuge in my eternal reality. As I was in life, I am unnoticed in death.
Word count: 495