Short story offering #5 – “The Window”

This particular piece was also included in The Book that I made recently for family and friends.

I wrote this piece for a flash fiction class I took back in 2010. I have edited it slightly from its original state, because in its original state, it would have given something away. But it’s not a bad edit – the story is now timeless in that regard.

More after the story.

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THE WINDOW

Marnie was in a gymnastics state of mind that summer, because of the Olympics. She was eleven years old, and wanted nothing more than to be a gymnast. Her parents said she was too old to start gymnastics, while her older sister said nastily, “All you want is to be like them.” It wholly depressed her, but it also made her angry. So what if she wanted to be an Olympian? She would have been something at least.

Earlier that morning, she’d been brooding, tapping at the window closest to her bed, looking for its weak spot and hoping it would break like it did in cartoons. Little white spindly cracks would appear, rush all across the pane, then the glass would drop straight down with a delicate tinkling sound. It was going to make her parents angry, but then she was angry too, so that would make them even. Besides, she would say it was an accident. I didn’t do it on purpose!

The summer’s day of bicycle riding, swinging on the swings, and general rough and tumble play with her siblings made her forget about the window, though all day she’d been attempting to carry herself the way a gymnast would. With the help of a few friends, she taught herself how to do a back walkover. Her sister had rolled her eyes, but Marnie decided she didn’t care what her sister thought anymore. By the evening, she was in better spirits, twirling and posing around her room as if she were performing a floor exercise. Her backing music was Queen. Her father and brothers were downstairs watching their own sports program. Every now and then, she would glance out the window, waiting for her mother to get home from work. She couldn’t wait to show her mother her new trick.

When she glanced out the window for the millionth time, she saw her sister walking down the street with her friend. They glanced up at Marnie’s window and looked as if they started giggling. They were talking about her, laughing at her. A mixture of embarrassment and anger rose in her. She pounced upon her bed, intending to knock on the windowpane and get her sister’s attention. Then she would do her back walkover unaided. That would show her sister she could do it.

As soon as her hands met the glass, her reflection disappeared. The glass popped, silently, like a bubble, and was gone. Her sister didn’t seem to notice. The only indication something was wrong was the trail of blood on the windowsill. Marnie was absolutely frozen in place. She’d faltered on the floor exercise.

Her right wrist began to throb with pain. Morbid fascination caused her to turn it over. The gash was oozing with blood.

Unseen by anyone, she threw her arms in the air, finishing her “routine,” then she rushed out of her room, screaming. On her little radio, Freddie Mercury began to sing, “I want to break free.”

No pun intended, she thought.

(c) Mouse, 2010

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With two creative exceptions, this story is 100% based on true events. This is essentially the story of how I put my hand through the window, on “accident.” It really was an accident. But I’d had the thought in the first place, so it counts.

So, you know, now you know that story.

Want to know the two creative exceptions? “Inquiring minds want to know” and all?

One is the whole back walkover thing. I never taught myself such a thing. I just thought it’d be cool for Marnie to learn it.

The other exception was the sister and the friend walking down the street and laughing at Marnie. What actually happened was I saw a friend across the street, and I was going to knock on the window to try to get her attention to wave at her. But the sister thing works for Marnie.

So, you know, there it is.

The Window

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