April 26, 2011
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I wonder what each person down there on the sidewalk would say if they knew that I could see their entire lives from my window. Well, not literally-I can’t see every beast they’re fighting and every mammoth pebble they’ve thrown in their entire time of being, but I can see what is keeping them from throwing one of those mammoth pebbles at the great heart of that monstrous brute. You see, I have the ability to go where others cannot, to sneak into the nooks of civilization that nobody has ever thought of filling. There lies my power-and now to you, mortal reader, I shall relay what I have witnessed through my travels.

Take this woman down there at the bus stop for instance. She looks longingly at the man in a pin-stripe suit that’s standing next her, her eyes twinkling as a long-held ambition flashes through her mind. So let’s say this woman’s a journalist. Yeah, a really persistent and determined journalist who was the editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper and wants to have that prestigious slot on the back page of TIME magazine. She knows that this man in front of her works for that exact publication-a TIME logo inscribed onto a golden plate lies on the top left corner of his suitcase. Yet, she doesn’t casually amble up to him. Doesn’t take a diminutive sip out of the flask by engaging in some small talk. Doesn’t gradually mention that, Oh yeah, I do write some stuff and you can take a look at it in the South Ozone Park Oracle if you want. No, she just stands there, dumbstruck, as a genie with three vacant wishes walks onto his levitating carpet and rides away into the distance. It really makes me want to slap the chick, you know? She looks at the bus until it is invisible to the naked eye, then diverts her gaze down to a flattened piece of gum on the sidewalk. One that has been spit out when it was void of any more flavor and then repetitively trodden upon since it really was no use to anyone anymore. There is no benefit to picking it up-after all, there are so many like it, and nobody would ever want to place a piece of insipid, grimy gum in their mouth. There is not a doubt in my mind that becoming that piece of gum is this woman’s largest source of trepidation.

You may now say, Why such an irrational fear? Well, you have a point-it is highly unlikely that the man who works for TIME will use all of the talent she has for his own gain and then throw her aside like yesterday’s steak. Most people are good willed. However, what is usually the case in a situation like this is that what people think they fear is not what they fear at all. It is just simply an excuse.

Still confused? Then let me delve even deeper into this sea of conflict; when you walk past her on the street, all you see is a thin woman whose brown hair drapes down to the tips of her shoulders. What you cannot see, however, is what is so imperative. There is a dark, looming specter that has latched itself onto the back of that woman, a spirit unrelenting in its ability to restrain her arms when she is reaching for the Heavens. It does not possess her constantly, just at the times when she has the ability to make decisive actions that can make her ambitions of fantasy become reality. When she hears a story on her way to work that she wants to cover, the specter possesses her vocal chords and makes them remain silent while the boss walks by her office. Every day the specter possesses her fingers and makes them freeze when they hold the phone that can land her a conversation with the Director of Admissions at the Columbia School of Journalism. And the specter just possessed her legs when she stood still as yet another chance at becoming her ideal self slid right down the drain.

It-the Specter, I mean-was born just about one year ago, on the day that she first stepped into her cramped office at the Oracle. There was a meeting-a very imperative meeting, too-that was transpiring that day, and she received an invitation to attend it from her boss, who had heard that she was an unfathomable well of ingenuity at her college newspaper. So she stepped into the room, dressed in a freshly laundered pants-suit, and sat down between two rather important-looking fellows who she thought must have been editors. The boss came in and delivered his whole spiel about the latest triumphs of haphazard journalists working for the paper, then sat down and announced that the time for suggestions had arrived. Unimportant chatter that had previously ensued was expunged, and for our friend the curtain had suddenly opened. Out of respect, she waited for two other long-time incumbents to enunciate their thoughts on new sections to add to the Oracle, news methods to advertise, and what not. Then, though, it was time for our young journalist to pull down the jaws and widen the eyes of every person in the audience with her performance of the highest exquisiteness. She stood up.

“I have a suggestion.”

The air between the stage and the seats did not prove resistant. She looked down upon her elders.

“Well, I was thinking that so many souls in the city have endured many hardships, you know? Some are immigrants, others people who are just trying their best to make ends meet. They all have stories to tell. What we could do is find some people who are willing to tell those stories-maybe by putting ads out or something-and interview them. Or they could even write pieces on their own that describe these intriguing experiences. I really think it would bring both a personal element to the paper. ”

She closed her eyes and took a gargantuan breath as if the air she inhaled possessed an insinuation of what type of response would await her. The last minute completely replayed itself in her mind-she now realized that there were some awkward pauses here and there plus a mispronunciation or two, but these doubts were expunged when the woman tranquilly exhaled.

Suddenly, she wished that her breath had not been so short.

The boss was looking at her in an almost pitiful way, his eyes melancholy and his mouth in a perfectly horizontal line as one of the editors beside him stood up. “Thank you for the suggestion, but I highly doubt any of our readers would appreciate that sappy memoir crap. Next time you take up some of our precious time by suggesting some pointless idea, please think it through.”

But that was the problem-she had thought is through.

I continue to look down upon the one-winged fledgling as she waits eagerly for the bus that will take her wherever she may need to go on this day of undeserved life. As I am about to leave my perch, I am shocked to see yet another man with a TIME logo on the top right corner of his briefcase standing idly under the plastic roof of the bus stop. And that horrible woman in not using that one precious wing she has left to even nudge the guy. I can’t stand this anymore.

My wings burst out from both sides of me as I swoop down from the window sill and into the frigid, winter air. When I have descended about twenty stories of the apartment building, I adjust my position so that I soar straight ahead towards the small enclosure with giant ads on its walls that is the bus stop. In one swift motion with the wind slapping me in the face with every inch forward, I hover so close to the woman that she habitually dodges to the right. With a squeal. Right into the man whose briefcase has the TIME logo on it. I know I should not be doing this since she and all others like her must learn to murder what haunts them independently, but nevertheless I do not regret my action. A look to the scene as I am rushing forward towards the nearest pretzel stand gives me the satisfaction of knowing that the specter is dead, its ruins carried away by the whistling wind. This woman has been freed from herself.

You humans are the ficklest of beings.

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silentperson00 said...
May 10, 2011 at 8:44 am
a unique kind of story. very well written and love how it is written
UomodiSperanza This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm
Thank you so much!
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