Wednesday, January 14, 2004

worlds of stories... 

Sounds seeped through the thin, heavily teen-idol and bygone movie star papered walls from other rooms in the house: her two brothers in the next room practicing to be rock stars with their inexpensive electric guitars and amps received as Christmas presents; her two sisters squabbling about some insignificant thing, again; her mom trying to referee the latest fight. Her father's voice - deep, authoritative - would have also been heard throughout the cheaply built naval house had he actually been in town instead of sailing the ocean. Perhaps this time he was on his way to Greece, or possibly Japan. After all the countries he had visited since she was a baby, it was hard to remember.

The familiar familial sounds could be heard even over the big band music pouring forth from the chintzy speakers of her old beat-up stereo. At least, they would have been had she actually been paying attention, had her mind occupied the here and now of 1980 San Diego. Her adolescent body, looking far more mature than its fourteen years, sat curled up on the tiny single bed, sharing space with clothes and papers and books. Her heavy plastic-framed glasses, needed to correct nearsighted vision that had been her companion since she was eight years old, lie discarded on the headboard, which also served double duty as a bookcase. Resting on her knees was the world to which her mind traveled, the world of foggy Victorian London, where blackguards accosted innocent young women and naive men were nearly pressed to death in elaborately built rooms. Where a complicated yet heroic detective and his loyal Boswell, without whom the detective would admittedly be lost, worked to right wrongs and to serve justice to evil doers.

Despite multi-faceted characters, it was still a world of black and white, of good and bad. A world where all lies would be exposed and be properly dealt with, where memories of previous injustices didn't lie dormant, to be sprung upon the unsuspecting years later. This world, and others like it - some of the past, others of the future - were frequently visited by the young girl with the long dark hair and big, distant brown eyes. The far-away worlds, etched on bound paper with black typeface, were often more real to her dreamy mind than the lathe and plaster and glass that surrounded her and her seemingly normal family. Oh, she knew the difference between reality and fantasy, never truly believing she was anyone beside herself. But increasingly she chose to live in the worlds she carried around with her, worlds without which she seemed incomplete, to herself and to others.

She chose to live in these worlds in the privacy of her room, the room she shared with no one except those that peopled her beloved bound pages, unlike her sisters and brothers. There was definitely an advantage to being the oldest surviving girl and the favorite of her mother. Here in her room she saw shadows of London and the Enterprise and other environments through the secondhand furniture and floor covered with clothing - both clean and dirty - and papers and, yes, books. She created a character that found her way into the environments, a woman five years her senior. A woman of brilliant intellect and exotic beauty and strong character. A woman who was all the blossoming young girl hoped she would become, despite her near crippling shyness and, to her eyes, average looks and figure.

An outside voice broke through the smoky London rooms the girl inhabited. It was a voice steeped in frustration, accompanied by sharp knocking. "We've been calling you for five minutes," the voice belonging to one of her sisters yelled out. "Come downstairs for dinner! Before it gets cold!" Again the solitary room in San Diego snapped into her vision.

"I'm coming!" she responded. She sighed, feeling bereft for an instant. She considered turning back to Victorian England, but thought better of it. The book closed, then was placed on her bed. She could always come back to it after she washed the dishes. She stole a quick glance at her watch. M*A*S*H was going to be on soon. Okay, after M*A*S*H, then.

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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United States, California, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, English, Carol, Female, 36-40.

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