Perspicacious Solitude

April 23, 2013
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Alison was the runt of the family, born small and ill-favored, and by the time she was thirteen, she was still small and ill-favored. Her brothers mocked her.

“Weak,” they told her. “Puny is what you are. Look at those eyes.”

And Alison would look, stare into the mirror and scrutinize her eyes. Set deep in her thin lined face were the most peculiar eyes, a mismatched set of green and brown. When her brothers Sam and Matt were mean, out of the brown eye she saw only cruel brothers. But the green eye saw more; it saw that Sam thought he was too skinny. He had just broken up with his girlfriend. He was failing math. He was angry.

The green eye, her witch’s eye, as she privately liked to call it, saw that Matt was also alone and bitter. Insecure. He had just argued again with their father. He had a boyfriend and was afraid to tell anybody.

So she understood, and took on their pains.

Alison’s eye was not selective. It saw everything in everyone. And the more she saw, the more her skinny shoulders hunched forward.

“Witch Alison,” the kids at school taunted. “Your eyes don’t match. You’re skinner than an ant. You look like an old woman.”

And she did. Her green eye could only see, but because she saw, she could do.

Despite outward protests, she hugged her brothers when they most needed it. She tutored struggling classmates, quietly and without contempt. She offered longed-for smiles to strangers she passed once on the street and never saw again. But when nobody was looking, her expression sank back into weariness.

People said she had an old soul, and Alison thought she knew what they meant.

Her parents tried to convince her to take an interest in her own life. And she replied,

“This is my life. This is who I am, this is what I do.”

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

readaholic This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm
Really enjoyed this piece :) If I had to say one thing, I'd want you to write more! On a different note (and I mean no offense to you at all), but how does Teen Ink decide "Today's Top Voted articles"? I mean, this one was #1 (and very deserving, no doubt) but no one has commented on it (their loss :)).  Just confusing... Well, whatever.  Great job!
Arkanian replied...
May 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm
I'm glad you liked it! As for how it got to be #1, I don't think the system is very reliable. It's by rating. I rate all my own work highly so that it gets posted more visibly, meaning that more people read it. I like feedback. So I guess only a few other people's writing got rated, meaning that mine turned out on top by a pleasing fluke. 
smokeycat replied...
Jun. 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm
I just got back on to my account so I decided to read some stories and I came along this one and I liked it it
Site Feedback