Friday, January 09, 2009

Entry #38

Going Up
by Sarah Wagner


A simple errand thrusts me into the bowels of hell, the press of people, their eyes shifty and staring. I try to remember that its all in my head, these strangers have no reason to look at me, no reason to stare. I’m plain, certainly not beautiful enough to appraise. I lack the curves that make a man stare, that make a woman jealous. I am nothing.

My thoughts compound the issue, whispers of imagined voices, judgmental words and snickers. But the doctor says its just my imagination that causes my blood to heat, my skin to flush, my words to trip uselessly over each other.

But they are looking at me. It isn’t my imagination. And I check my shoes - tied up tight. I check my jeans - just as they’re supposed to be. My temperature rises, blood thundering in my ears so loud that I can’t help but wonder if the people staring at me can hear it. I feel my hair, my face, but nothing seems amiss. I walk faster, frustrated that I’m not getting anywhere and there’s nowhere to hide.

How far is it to the second floor?

And that’s when I realize, I’m going the wrong way. Walking up the down escalator like a damned fool idiot who watches her feet instead of where she is going just to avoid a stranger’s smile.

I resist the urge to sit and cry and let the escalator take me back down.

13 comments:

JR's Thumbprints said...

I like your description of the crowd: the press of people. It's a strong mental image, very identifiable. I can feel the weight of everyone working against your main character.

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

That was touching,I can empathize with her so well.

Lena said...

i liked the way you describe everything going on in her head. It sounds so realistic, and at times i so can relate.
Really very well done :)

harshad said...

i was going to laugh when i read 'I’m going the wrong way. Walking up the down escalator' but the end of the same sentence is really touching...very nicely writtn.

JaneyV said...

Oh don't cry.. embrace going against the crowd. You capture the panic in your character beautifully and how she tries to reason using her therapist's voice all the while reason is telling her that people are staring.

We've all had self-conscious moments (personally I can't read aloud except to my children) so she's a character we can empathize with as well as sympathize with. Nice work.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I like this very much. Inventive and original.

Aerin said...

My sister has clinical Social Anxiety so I know this is an accurate description - really well-invoked, nicely written

laughingwolf said...

nicely done, sarah... my character goes up the down, too :)

Sarah Hina said...

Poignant story, Sarah. I cringed for her, and felt that deep embarrassment. Those whispers in the head can sometimes feel like shouts.

Very strong writing. The weight of emotion and the desperation to hide came across very well.

Tiffany said...

I love that she tells herself she's not worth noticing, but she still feels conspicuous. You did a great job capturing that panic.

Catvibe said...

Oh...
Great imagery within and without.

September said...

Great descriptions, good writing.
Good job with the imagery

jason evans said...

Great job with pacing, entertainment value, technical skill, storytelling, and voice! And welcome to the Forties Club!!

Thanks for being a wonderful part of the contest.