The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes Lifestories

Crystal Moment
Tanya Hannah

Everyday she sat in the same rounded bench that hooked itself around a concrete post. She held onto the book gazing at the words. Her long brunette hair was tied back, which her mum had always brushed back and fixed into a ponytail every morning before school.

The words began to dissolve into thousand blotches of meaningless blackness. She thumped the book shut with a sigh. The heat laid such a heavy hand on her shoulders. She could almost touch the thickness of the air. The humidity had encircled her and suffocated her concentration. It swayed an aroma that hypnotized her into a deep coma.

Her eyes dropped down to the ground where below her feet were a colony of red ants going about their daily routine. She couldn’t believe the size these creatures were. She wondered if heat had caused them to be so red and so large. She smiled to herself at the thought of the ants running so quickly because of the hot concrete expanding and sweating with steam from the sweltering sunrays. With such boredom she begins to stare at the girls playing and chanting words that they created together.

Sometimes she had a longing hope that they would ask her to join in. She wished she had the courage to welcome her own presence…to make her existence known. Every so often she envied them for having their friendship. Yet when they began to squabble over each other’s timing she was glad to be in her own company. Then a strand of one of the girl’s hair slips out from under her headscarf. They both giggled as they both felt they had witnessed something so forbidden. She quickly tucked it away under the sheltered cloth. The little brunette girl wondered in confusion of the humour that both girls shared.

Loneliness was a hard stone in the pit of her stomach in which she found hard to digest. Yet as the days go by she enjoyed her own little world more and more; a world where she had her own essence of innocence which no one could hurt, or so she thought.

Uninterested at the girl’s silliness she stared at her knees where the seam of her dress rested. Her mum had discreetly broken the rule. School uniform regulation meant the dress had to be below the knees. Her mum smiled as she altered the skirt neither above nor below but half way.
"It ridiculous to make it down to your ankles", her mum proclaimed.
It amazed her how her mum always said it like it was. She never had any reason to question her. Things were just the way they were.

She started to sense that she was being watched. She looked up and caught the girl’s eyes staring at her with a sharp glint of thought. She could always tell from the eyes especially from the girls with their hair hidden under a veil. Some envied her of her freedom and some were disgusted by her exposure. It made her feel uncomfortable and insecure never the less. Her mum taught her every religion teaches us one thing: the difference between right and wrong. All the same living in an Islamic environment she felt a sense of vulnerability. Their eyes examined every bit of exposed flesh making her feel so ashamed. She got up swiftly and strolled away.

As she reached the nursery section, she opened the door to the staff room. It was always cool and welcoming. She felt so privileged. She saw her mum every other day so that she wouldn’t worry. She could sense her mum’s thoughts. She knew her mum had sometimes checked up on her. She knew her mum wished her child were strong and confident. She always dreaded the day her mum would questioned her on her loneliness and on her lack of self-confidence. Her big brown eyes gleams at the sight of her mother drinking tea with the other teachers. She couldn’t ask for a better mother. She knew everyone said their mum was the best but she knew hers was the best from all the others. When her mum held her she felt like a tiny crystal ball shining bright because she was so cherished.

Loneliness sounds like a harsh word but she had come to realize that the most important people in her world were her family that loved her childhood essence.

Tanya is studying for her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
Dreamscapes Fiction


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