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Glass

Here is the story of how my life changed forever... That was an idiotic thing of me to say. No one cares about me…and even if someone does, like my parents or something, its not like I will be remembered forever. Neither will you. Not unless you do something so amazing that people just ogle at you when you walk down the street—like building the first flying saucer or finding a way to capture eternal youth. Anyways, unless you do something amazing and magical like that, which I doubt, because if you were going to do something like that, woulddn’t be reading this stupid little memoir and instead wouldd be working on the serum for ever lasting life and getting all sweaty and gross like my brother does in P.E. class while you work in your garage building a model space ship—wouldd never be remembered for more than four generations, tops. And even then, probably as an old faded picture in a drawer, or an explanation why the family owns an old fashioned lamp or something. The parents will say, “Oh, that old thing! That lamp is an antique! It belonged to your great grandma, Martha,” and then the little kids will nod, their eyes kind of cloudy as they zone out, and the parents will say, “She is that old lady in the picture on that desk downstairs…do you know what I’m talking about, Sweetie?” and the kids will nod and still have no idea what in the name of ice cream—which, to kids, is the equivalent of God, pretty much—their parents are babbling about. And then you are lost.
“Gwen! Get your sorry a** down here!” My mom, Joy, called out, her normally perfect mousy brown curls unruly (and a bit frizzy, to be honest). This was pretty much the most important day of her life, as far as she was concerned…it always was. I ran down the stairs, my own dark hair flying out behind me as I jumped the last few stairs. I forgot I was wearing high heels, at the time, but as soon as I left the floor I remembered the heels on my shoes—too late, of course, as I hit the bottom and had to grab onto the thin iron railing that lined the dusty and creaking stairs to keep from crumpling to the ground from the pain that just shot through my long legs. Biting back a curse, wincing slightly, I quickly let go of the rusted metal, flattening out my dress a bit awkwardly, as Joy came out again from the bathroom, her hair perfect again. “Gwen, really?” she sighed, her icy eyes roving over me critically. Nothing new there. “Go brush out your hair again,” she dictated, pointing a finger at my unruly curls, tumbling long down my back, to around my elbows if I held my arms down at my sides. I sighed, a bit irked. I hated all this crap. Joy rolled her eyes, handing me a brush she kept in her purse. Of course it would be my mom who always kept a hairbrush in her purse. How did she even get this thing in there? I thought, almost asked, but decided better of it as I lifted the hulking hair brush from her spindly hands, looking from the hairbrush, with its large wooden handle and bristles as long as the space between my fingers if I stretched my hand out into a flat palm, which is pretty damn long for a hair brush bristle, to the tiny little thing, almost a clutch, that she was carrying with her. Giving a sigh of disgust, I reluctantly swiped the brush through my dark hair, not even wincing when strands were ripped out of my head…I had a hard head. Now, I would just like to take a moment of your valuable time to talk to all you people who scoff and say, “What? Pulling out some hair with a hairbrush? What are you…two?” No. I am not two, all you moronic losers out there. Go ahead and take one of your big fat hands and take a nice handful of your hair, and then just give a healthy yank, as hard as you can. Go ahead. Don’t start crying, now, we only just started. Okay, good job, now, instead of taking a hand full of hair, like someone would do to you if you were in a fight or something, and instead, take only a clump of strands. Not a handful; a few strands. Then yank. That, my dense friends, is what it feels like for a girl (Or guy with long hair) to brush their hair every single day. Now tell me this; could you do this everyday? Morning and night? Not to mention all the crazy things people are doing with their hair nowadays, like straightening it, and curling it, and blow-drying it, and dying it, and highlighting it, and lowlighting it, and way too many other things for me to list, as I’m only fifteen. If you ask me, we girls, at least the ones who endure so much torture for their hair, are true warriors.
Anyways, back to my reverie.
I was brushing my hair, and Joy had already collected my younger brother, Arthur, and somehow gotten him into a suit, combed his hair, which was just like Joy’s; wispy, light brown, and curled in perfect ringlets. Joy always told me mine was just like my dad’s, whoever that b****** was. She said he had this nice, dark, wavy, thick hair…and I guess, lucky me, I got it. As I combed the last knot out of my hair, I threw the brush on one of the beat up red chairs in the living room before running out to the car after my mom and half brother. Arthur had already claimed the front seat, damn him, so I shoved myself in the back, severely wrinkling my dress in the process. As I tried to smooth it out unsuccessfully, my mom picked up the phone began to call her fiancé…soon to be husband. “Yea…yea…sure, honey, anything.” She purred like a fool over the phone to him. I rolled my eyes, sitting back in the car as we drove by trees and rivers and hills with the speed of an ostrich. Ostriches run pretty fast. Sometimes I imagine that this beat up old car, is an ostrich, and that I’m riding on top of it in the Sahara, or that it’s a cheetah, and I’m hanging on to it for dear life. My favorite though, is when it is a gazelle—they are one of my favorite animals, gazelles. They are so graceful, so calm, and they don’t hurt anyone. As Joy continued to fall over Mark on the phone, and Arthur played some gory video game or another, I closed my silvery grey eyes, trying to fall asleep. I had been up practically the whole night last night; doing homework and cleaning my room for Joy’s big party tonight. Now, you all might be wondering why people, unless they are as nosy as you can get, which they are, would be coming into my room. The answer, that Joy and I shared a room. Mark, and all his things, shared a room with Arthur…even though he wasn’t his dad. Arthur’s father, I knew for a few years. He was a nice guy, but he didn’t know what to do with a kid. Who does? He went away and joined the army, I think, but I don’t know if he ever came back…he didn’t ever call again, but that could mean a lot of things. No, Mark was the new man in Joy’s life. The one who was going to help her “clean up this mess of a life,” and get her “back on track.” What had gotten her off track to beginning with, and made such a mess with her life, don’t ask me. You don’t want my answer.
So, Joy is having this party tonight, for her and Mark’s wedding and all, and I get the honor of cleaning our room! Lucky me! Not only that, but it doesn’t help this is my first year of high school, and I literally feel as if my head might explode one day…these teachers of mine want it on a platter, I’m sure of it.
Soon we arrived at the church, a roundish building, with thick walls and not a lot of space that had one small steeple coming out of the centre of it, making it look like a giant thumbtack to me, though I wouldn’t tell that to Joy. She wouldn’t understand. As we pulled up, I was already blushing, the redness clear as crystal on my pale cheeks. I blushed because, there, in the little assembly for the wedding, were all my friends—and there were not a lot, either—family, and pretty much everyone in town. Despite how much Joy annoyed the crap out of me, apparently she was pretty damn popular with the rest of them. Why is it that all the b****es in the world are the popular ones?
Becca, my best friend, a short girl with fair hair and a bit of a chubby face, though she was gorgeous when she smiled, waved to me, her deep green eyes sparkling with excitement. She must have thought I was happy. Before I knew what was happening, I had been pulled into the throng of bridesmaids, in all their grotesque splendor, with the handpicked-by-Joy dresses made of a muddy brown color and a huge, obnoxious bow at the color in pale cream. I tried again to straighten out the fabric, some weird silky material that wrinkled whenever you tried to move…or breathe, for that matter and made you feel like you were suffocating because the color was so high on your neck. I failed, yet again, and gave up, content with looking on at the ceremony of Joy and Mark. I’m not afraid to admit it, I did zone out during the service. It was way to long for me, practically three hours of Bible reading and vow giving and mushy looks and slideshows. Lucky for me, I guess, was that I was aloud to check out, since I had no duties to perform. I wasn’t even the maid of honor! My own mother getting married, and she chooses some rich friend or something to be her maid of honor! Not her own daughter. Is that messed up or what?
Soon the service was over, and I only came back to reality in time to watch Joy make out with Mark at the “You may kiss the bride,” part. Great. What a perfect wake up call, right?
The entire party Mark and Joy held hands, Joy’s other hand holding a fashionable cocktail, letting her long white gown drag in the ground. What did it matter, after all? Its not like she was wearing it again…at least not for another few months. The party, pretty much, was all the guests coming up to Mark and Joy and giving these huge, happy smiles for them, congratulating them and shaking Marks hand and embracing Joy. I would have vomited if I had been closer, but I had refused to go down, so I watched from the balcony above. It wasn’t really a balcony, but it was like an old greenhouse on the edge of the apartment complex we lived in, though there weren’t any plants in it anymore. It was all empty and dusty, the glass framed in grey dirt and cracked. I liked it up there; the glass blocked out some noise, and the grate floors felt good on my bare feet (I had taken off those s***ty high heels as fast as I could as soon as we got back, and hid them under my bed in a box, where I knew no one could steal them. Not that I would have minded much, really. I hated them with a passion, but they were kind of expensive, and Joy would have killed me). As I heard the muffled voices of the crowd directly below me, I leaned my head against the window, looking out onto the treetops and the horizon, the bright stars setting in tiny reflections in my light eyes through the thick glass. I let a deep breath inhabit me, and I gave a slow blink. The smell was of coffee beans and soil, with maybe a hint of sunlight. The smell of sunlight is the most wonderful smell you will ever find, it really is. It smells of morning, of dusk, of happiness and of wonder. In the nighttime, when something smells of sunlight, it is almost magic.
The beer I had snatched from the party felt warm in my hands, and the buzz had worn off long ago. I thought vaguely, as I pulled my bony knees up to my chest, what it would be like to run on top of the trees’ canopies into the horizon forever, and never fall. I daydreamed about that for a moment, about running off on the trees, running on them until the trees ended. I didn’t even see the thick and cloudy glass that separated the trees and me that night; all I saw was my route, and my safe haven. With these last thoughts I fell asleep, my warm beer spilling out of my hands and draining on the grated floor. My head leaned back on the dirty glass, eyes closed, my dark hair falling over my pale and bony face as I slept through the night. I woke in the morning, after the party, to the sound of Joy’s voice screaming mine, “Gwen!! Is this where you’ve been all night! I’ve been looking for you!” She yelled, having found me in my haven. She slammed the green house door behind her, and I could smell her cheap perfume crawling through the air. I tried to look up at her, but she was standing in front of the sun, and it blinded my pale eyes. As I looked away from her, ignoring her, to her outrage, out towards the forests, my eyes raw with the hazy feeling that people get in the early mornings when they are woken up, I saw none of the splendor I had seen before and that I head dreamed of in the forests; but my eyes were blocked by the stained glass in front of my eyes, the cracks and blemishes becoming more clear to me than the green forests beyond. Joy was still lecturing me, but I paid no heed. With a trembling hand I traced a long jagged crack in the green house window, seeing only the thick glass in the clear morning light, the green beyond blurring and twisting to distortion behind the cracks and dust, which was suddenly so clear to me. And for reasons I couldn’t understand at the time, my eyes started to bubble over with tears, and I couldn’t even hear Joy’s roar anymore, not even in the back of my mind as she told me off. I tried a last time to find the forest again, but the glass was too thick, and the perfume burned my nose, turning all the soil, coffee, and sunlight to ash. I couldn’t see anymore through the tears building up in my eyes, and at last, just before I would have given up and cried, Joy took my arm in her hand, and she hoisted me up, not gently either, though I never realized it, and dragged me out of the green house. And, even if she would have let me—I would never go back.





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