By Pearl Flemming
Hello I'm Magnus, I fix thing because I can't fix myself, I awkwardly stare at people, I often ignore people, I don't tell people what I'm really thinking, I'm what many would call an attention seeker. I'm slow when everyone is fast, I walk when everyone else runs, and I take when everyone else gives. From what I've said so far I may seem unbelievably selfish, I guess I am. Despite what you might see, I haven't always been this way.
I could say he caressed the delicate skin or he gazed into those mesmerizing blue eyes but he didn't, it was more a cacophony of screeches and roars that came from my parents. My dearest mother and my dearest father argued when I was a infant until they were certainly not my dearest at all. Money, money, money it was always about money. I guess that's why every waking second of every day I flip this coin between my fleshy fingers. I like to see it glide and spin then tumble down and down onto the hard concrete ground. My parents never loved me, they never cared for me like other parents did and their selfish actions lead to neglecting me and making me the person I am today. When I was growing up I had to find a way of being loved like every child should. This came through my mystery. I don't like to let everything out in the open as one day someone might come who is intrigued with my life and sees that I am not just an outcast of the world. They will see that this selfish perplexing front is all just an act.
So here I am today walking down this stuffy crowded street, 100's of people yet still not one noticing me. I suppose you could say I have a few tricks to deal with this.
First I will laugh, and laugh uncontrollably, people start to wonder is that man laughing at me? Is that man okay? I love the control I feel I have. Another thing I do is fix my eyes on people, I stare at them until they feel a chill through their bones. It's a truly wonderful feeling however today is no normal day today is the day I see my parents again. I want them to know they have done this to me. I have mot seen them in such a long time it's almost like I don't know them at all so I will introduce myself to them as I did to you.
By Megan Wilson
Despite my silent struggles, the tide of responsibility drags me forward, pulling me ever closer to the fate I dread, and every second further from the one I love; the one who can never be mine.
My legs keep walking, but my heart is screaming at them to stop, to turn around and run, and keep running until I find him. My efforts are futile. Each step brings me closer to the altar, where I will become bound by a contract to live a life of regret.
I feel the burning stares of the guests on my back, pushing me forwards.
Another step closer.
I think of him, and how I would watch him from my window. How I would gaze wistfully, longingly as he worked, and dream of a future that could never be. Sometimes, he would look up from his work, catch my gaze, and smile at me. Our eyes would lock for what seemed like forever, but I would always break it after a second, scared of the consequences of what I was feeling.
I spoke to him once, when I was taking a walk through the grounds. He was there, grooming one of my father’s finest horses, whistling. I approached him, heart fluttering. The conversation was brief – my mother saw us, then oddly, hurried me back inside. I didn’t understand why, back then. Despite the pitiful length of our first meeting, I suddenly felt like I knew everything about the gentle stable-hand and him about myself.
I stare down the aisle, which now seems to have been halved in length. I have ten – maybe less – steps until I’m there. Then I’ll say the words and there’s no turning back. Inside I’m thrashing against the current, but I can’t break away. It would destroy my family.
I glance at my mother, swathed in finery, seated at the front of the church with my father. She’s watching me expectantly, eyes full of pride and dignity, yet sensing that something is not quite right. If only she knew.
They had this suitor selected for me before I could toddle. A fine man he is too, but he’s not the one I want. Does that matter though? I was brought up to do as I was told. So I’m destined to marry this gentleman, when my heart beats for another.
If my family knew that I was in love with a stable-hand, a poor, peasant man with little to offer but love, I would be in the gutter with the rest of them in a heartbeat. They would be horrified, ashamed, and heart-broken. I can’t disappoint my parents, who I owe so much to.
Which is why I’m now stood shakily at the altar, hand entwined with that of a man I can’t - could never - love. Not as much as I love the other man. The peasant. The servant.
I try to imagine my suitor’s face as the other, but it only makes the pain inside me sharpen, like a wound being reopened. My soon-to-be husband smiles at me. Part of me wishes I loved him instead, so I wouldn’t be in this horrible mess.
I tune out, and the vicar’s heartfelt words fly by me in a faint blur. I force myself to look at the man my parents chose for me. My parents surely know what’s best for me, so why can’t I feel the same way? He’s rich, handsome and kind, but he’s not /him/.
I want you, I think hard. I falter, because I don’t, not really. I can’t kid myself, force myself to love this man, no matter how nice, wealthy and good-looking he may be. I look into his eyes. Do I feel what I feel when I look at the other, the poor man? No.
It’s true love or my family’s wishes.
Suddenly the room falls silent, and all eyes are on me. It’s time. Two little words: I do. So easy to say, yet with such sacrifice.
I can’t say them, but I can. I mustn’t say them, yet I must. I won’t say them, but I have to. It’s time to choose. Go with the flow, or be the master of my own fate.
My throat is dry, and I can only manage an odd, strangled sound. I look into my fiancé’s eyes, and all I can see is the other man. I feel faint with the burden of the choice I must make.
Whispering erupts behind me, brows furrow in concern, fingers point at the bride who has lost her voice. Who can’t bring herself to marry the man she should be in love with.
I snap into focus. My husband to be gazes at me, eyes cloudy with anxiety and confusion. He loves me; I can tell. Sadly the feelings cannot be reciprocated on my part, and never will be. Suddenly I find my feet. The burning desire inside me has made my decision for me.
“I’m sorry,” I choke, tears spilling forth onto my cheeks. I drop his hand, where it hangs limply by his side. The realization washes over him, and I feel him break right there and then. He stands there, stunned, broken, as I stumble down the aisle, blinded by salty tears. I’m horrified at what I’ve just done to this man, but I know it is right. It wouldn’t be fair to have him love a woman who couldn’t ever return it. He needs to find someone who can love him back – who can offer what I can never.
I run, leaving the shocked gasps and hushed gossip behind me. My mother screams for me, but I’m deaf to her words.
No looking back now, Pearl. You’ve made your choice. You chose the servant man you barely know but you’re certain you love. I tell myself this, over and over as I run through town, startling passer-bys as I streak past, a flurry of white lace, pearls, and wracking sobs. Maybe he won’t even love me back, but it’s too late to think about that now. If he does, we’ll have to leave. Run away, live our lives as outcasts, away from disapproving eyes.
I reach the manor, and I push the wrought iron gates open, not caring about the dirt on my soft, slender hands. I must look a sight for sore eyes; muddy, ripped wedding dress, face tear-stained and red.
I know where he’ll be.
I run through the grounds, until I come to the courtyard that lies beneath my bedroom window. He’s there, a horse at the ready.
Like he knew I wouldn’t go through with the wedding. Like he knew I’d come for him.
By Una Ghelani
If you had the choice to either live in the city or the countryside, most people would choose the countryside: they want to live in an environment which is quiet and relaxing, but not me. Who would want to live in a place where no one else is? Where you could scream as loud as you wanted and no one would hear?
My name is Gris. I know you're probably thinking ‘Is that even a name?’ Well it isn’t, not really. My parents don’t love me, if they did then would they call me Gris. It means grey in Spanish. I’ve always wanted to change it, ever since I can remember. I wasn’t always so negative; trying to be something that I am not. There was a time where I could be just me, but not anymore.
My friends were what kept me happy, as at home my parents would ignore me so they could scream down each others throats. We were a struggling family, when others went on trips to wonderful places; I couldn’t because my parents didn’t have enough money. Money. I think that is the word I have heard the most in my entire lifetime.
We were learning names of colours at school and I was begging to enjoy the subject. When I saw my name next to the colour grey I was confused, so I asked why this was? I was told that my name meant grey. I felt all cold, as if I had walked outside on a frosty day with no coat on. This proved my parents didn’t love me. What kind of parents call their child grey? It seemed as though time had slowed down, as if when I was running, I was really walking. I ended up in a field, the sky was grey and miserable. I thought that was very fitting to the way I felt. I went and sat under the large oak tree, and thought about how worthless I really was. I decided as soon as I was old enough I would change my name to Tom, my brother’s name.
My brother was my inspiration, my idol, but I am saddened to say that I only knew him properly for five years of my life. My brother was the one who kept me safe when mum and dad were arguing; he made me not feel scared. Tom was the one who looked after me, fed me and cleaned me. He was like the parent that I never had.
When I was six years old, a terrible tragedy occurred. One day he couldn’t take it anymore, so he took me, some food, water and his lucky coin. He found it in our garden when he was young and it had always been with him ever since, he never let it go. He said it was a Roman coin, and it was worth a lot of money. He never told mum and dad about it, they would go crazy over it, they would sell it for sure.
We left as the clock struck 11. I’ve always liked the night time, it always fascinated me. Tom was very fond of sailing; he loved building boats and the sea. So he took me down to the port and to his sailboat. The weather was the worst I’d ever seen to this day. This rain poured down onto us, but Tom carried on working to get us free from this awful life; his green eyes glistening as thought they were emeralds. We were set free with the roars of the thunder and the anger of the lighting upon us. I didn’t feel right, it was almost like God was telling us something bad was going to happen though the weather. It seems like the weather also reflects my mood. I miss Tom so much, why him, why not me? Why did they have to find me and send me back? To be honest, I would have rather died there and then with Tom.
I moved school. Luckily enough, my dad got a job in London, the capital city. I didn’t know anyone there. Great. I thought to myself, time to create a new Gris; a new me.