© 2012 Linsen. All rights reserved. IMG_0724

Belonging

At the suggestion of the awesome Helené and in the hopes of writing more often, I’ve signed up for writing prompts from figment.com. This is the first one, and hopefully there will be more to come.

Suddenly everything fell into place. It was like clouds unexpectedly breaking on an overcast day. A ray of light pouring golden to the ground. She felt as though she belonged.

For as long as she could remember, she had been an outsider. Her earliest memories were of being teased about her wild red hair that defied any attempts at order, and watching enviously as the others played games of hopscotch that left her legs hopelessly tangled. High school had been a long line of parties she wasn’t invited to, lonely breaks spent in the library and a few disastrous dances that left her sitting awkwardly at the table as her date whirled around the floor with other girls.

Even at university, when everyone else experimented with new lifestyles, redefined themselves and found a niche where they could just be, she remained an outsider in her own life. The older she became the more she felt like an intruder, as though she had stumbled into someone else’s mind, someone else’s body, someone else’s life.

The day had started much as any other, with a jumbo choc-chip muffin and a takeaway coffee. On the way to class she passed, as usual, the law students in pullovers and white collar shirts sharing a nervous cigarette, nodded to the man selling newspapers at the entrance to her building, and glanced lightly over the brightly coloured mess of the notice board inside.

And then she looked again, something grabbing her attention. At first she wasn’t sure what for, seeing nothing aside from the permanent array of last week’s bands, upcoming touch rugby tournaments and faded election posters for failed student council candidates. But there had definitely been something different – she looked again, more carefully, and at last she found it.

It was a small sign, disappearing at the edge of the board. Printed on bright green paper, in large, bold letters it read Think! Intrigued, she copied down the time and venue, the only other information on the flyer. It was that evening, in one of the newest of the town’s ever-changing array of cozy, eclectic coffee shops.

The day blurred past, class after class washing over her and leaving barely a trace. It seemed mere moments later when she suddenly found herself standing in front of the little restaurant, unsure whether to go in or not. Inside she could see a small group of people gathered close around some tables, candlelight reflecting on half-empty wine glasses. They all seemed so sure of themselves, as though they knew exactly who and where they were.

She lifted her hand to the door, hesitated, then let it fall once more. A moment passed, and she raised her hand a second time. Suddenly she became aware of her hand, her faded bracelet, the shapeless knitted jersey she’d put on without noticing.

As her courage deserted her and she was about to turn away from the door, it opened and soft conversation spilled into the street. In front of her stood a young man, with soft brown eyes that seemed to know her at a glance, as though he understood within moments far more about her than she had discovered in twenty-five years.

“You’re here for the discussion group,” he said, somewhere between a question and a command. “Please, come in. As there are a few new faces, tonight’s something of a introduction; a starting point for real philosophy, for really being and understanding. Existing, you know. We’ve only just started, so you’ll be fine”

Unable to resist, she followed him inside and sat down in an open chair at the edge of the group.

At first she merely observed, letting the conversation pull her mind back and forth. Before long, though, she found herself caught up in the lively discussion, watching the conversation dance from one topic to the next.

Suddenly everything fell into place. She joined the dance, giving and taking and learning and teaching. Others laughed at her comments, warmly and with welcoming eyes, and she laughed at theirs. She completely forgot herself, forgot who she was and all that she hated about herself, and was nothing more than a part of the conversation. She sparkled, her gestures loving and elegant and her face beautiful with enthusiasm. She was transformed into a creature of light and joy.

For the first time, she belonged.

2 Comments

  1. Posted 18 Jan ’12 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    hi linsen,
    like your blog, and enjoyed this piece of writing.
    ever want to visit my humble blog page (long outdated writing, as i haven’t done in years): http://.irize.punt.nl/
    cheers, irize

  2. linsen
    Posted 18 Jan ’12 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks Irize – I’ll defintiely go and read your writing (even if it is outdated) :-)

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