Loose strands of hair lazily flutter in the breeze welcomed in by the opening door of the coffee shop. Without care or concern, Amilda’s hair had been swept on top of her head and quickly knotted with a, now, weak from overuse scrunchie. Like the Medusa she had been fascinated with as a child, Amilda’s hair pointed and writhed like snakes in the autumn wind and danced with such ease that she would have envied them, could she see them. Her blown out and sagging jumper covered the wrinkles and swaying breasts hidden beneath. Ever darkness was all her swollen belly and loose thighs would ever receive. No beach snaps, or garden shine, only the never-ending darkness of a woman consumed with pleasures that locked her indoors.
Only her glasses, black, rectangular with a solitary diamond in the top, outward pointing corner, held any real show of the wealth Amilda’s writing had amassed her. The plain and dull to the point of invisibility, frame of her spectacles were as black as a night sky without any stars. She didn’t care, not truly, about anything other than those plain, bejeweled glasses, for they were her windows into a world her eyes would have long ago abandoned.
She did not want to see, of course. Nor to look. Or to watch. Or to peer, or peak. She had no interest in glimpsing or gazing and certainly not viewing the world that hummed with the busy Saturday afternoon traffic of weekend shoppers, no. All Amilda wanted – was to read. She was a machine. Books, plays, scripts, texts bound in old leather, even, though she would never admit it, the odd magazine slipped its way into her ever growing pile of words for consumption. Amilda was a writer, and what was a writer if not a reader?
A fraud, Amilda would say.
The busy coffee shop began to fill with the steady resentment of exhausted shoppers, carrying many bags of … stuff, who had all been eagerly waiting for a seat while they had their coffee. A seat Amilda was taking up with her disheveled appearance and furious typing. She was not aware of the stares she got, nor the only-a-little-too-loud condemnation from an angry Liverpudlian who’s two children, Sam and Lily, had just recently smashed a hundred pounds worth of Yankee Candles in a card shop down the stairs and, even if she had heard, I doubt she would have cared. She had no choice. An exaggeration, maybe. But to Amilda, there was no choice.
Like every writer, Amilda was searching for something to say. She has said many things, won many awards and been read by countless people all over the world but she was still searching for that story. The one that would bring a completion to her fractured soul and release the energy that had overtaken her and consumed her to the point that she felt like Gepetto inside the Great Whale that Pinocchio would save him from. Pinocchio was her story, and the little bugger just hadn’t been found, yet.
But she had to write in public, she was so scared of what would happen if she didn’t. Often, more frequently as she had become older and older and, subsequently, more frustrated and frustrated, she would be overtaken with visions of brutal self-injury. Daydreams of slamming her face off the table in front of her so fiercely that her nose would become pulp or, smashing her jaw with such hatred that her teeth would crack and splinter, like porcelain cups falling from Kitchen hooks, and her lips would crack and tear, carving a permanent grimace onto her wizened face. With her lips so torn, she would become a wild animal, always baring her teeth at the world and fending of the hunters daring to encroach on her territory.
Then, with a sudden plonk!, the daydream would be gone and she would be terrified of what she had taken so much pleasure, only seconds before, from doing to herself. The words were her life, the product of her heart and the consequence of her soul. That they drove her to these nightmares only heightened her intensity, her macabre search for the story that eluded her talent.
So Amilda sat, her hair all a fluster and her jumper drowning her body, with her plain spectacles and half-drunk, stone cold mug of coffee, and continued to do all she ever would. She wrote. Her heart sunk with every story she began, because she knew it was not the one she so hungrily sought. With frantic clicks on a black and silver keyboard, she hummed a chilling song to herself.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder where you are…