Miss Black

Children / Horror
First Draft

There was once a woman staring out from a very tall window in a very tall building. She felt very comfortable staring from so high above because she was very tall herself. She had forgotten her name, although she still remembered everything else that happened on the day she’d forgotten it… but all of that was so long ago that it didn’t even bother her anymore — it was just a name. What’s the meaning of a name, anyway?

Instead, she developed the habit of calling herself after the moods of each day. Not her moods, that was much too hard to figure out, but the moods of the weather she saw each day, on the other side of that tall window, in that very tall building.

Some days she was Miss Cloudy. And when the sun first came out after a rainy night she would think of herself as Miss Sunny. And when she couldn’t sleep and came to stare out the window to pitch black, she would whisper,

“Here I am. I’m Miss Black.”

Because Miss Black had looked at the weather for many nights and many days, people from all over town started to go up to the tower to ask her questions about the clouds. How fast were they moving? How dark were they turning? How soon would it rain?

Miss Black found all these questions intriguing, not because they were hard to answer (she always knew all the answers) but because she thought everyone could predict the weather just by looking out of their windows. She decided to make the best of it and realized that, for the first time, she had something interesting to say to people. Whenever anyone came to visit, Miss Black talked about the weather: how it had been a week ago, how it would be a week from now. This arrangement made everyone happy because now they could plan their weeks better.

Everyone knew exactly when was the best day to have a party in the park; everyone could plan on each Sunday all the outfits they would wear for each day of the week until the next Sunday; and soon enough all the changes that were happening in town with everyone’s schedules reached Miss Black’s ears, and although she had never really cared about how anyone dressed up to that point, curiosity got to her one day — the day she looked down from her tower!

It was suppose to be just a glance, to last a few seconds at best, and in her thoughts the words — the warning words! — came glued together like a mantra, “Look up! Look-to-the-clouds-look-up!”, but so many things seemed wrong with the way people were dressed that she just couldn’t stop looking down, until her neck started to stretch with the weight of all the thoughts in her head, and she had to catch it with her hands and straighten herself up.

Why was it, she thought, that on a day of clear open skies like on that day, people were walking around with a scarf and a heavy coat over their arms? Did she make a mistake? Had she predicted the wrong weather for that day, one week ago? Had she fail to explain her calculations to someone? Had she spoken too fast?

— to be continued by me, or you… —

Eat It With a Straw

I just got my second pair of glasses a couple of days ago. I think this thing of getting old really suits me. Instead of feeling old when I’m at the computer, wearing my reading glasses, I feel like this sophisticated lawyer’s secretary, that has the week in a tight schedule and has promptly prepared all her outfits to wear in each week-day, one weekend in advance. Or, then again, maybe I’m just seeing too much of “The Good Wife” and getting old.

How is it for the person who just crossed that barrier to old age? Is there such a thing? Do you wake up one morning and the person staring at you from the bathroom mirror doesn’t look like someone you know anymore? Is it a sad moment or a relief? I mean, it can be the time when you can stop worrying so much or trying so hard to control how you look or how everyone else sees you.

There’s this veil around seniority that allows the old lady with two odd socks to walk down the street unnoticed. There’s this excuse for doing wrong things and saying whatever comes to mind, and the self-forgiveness from not remembering that you’ve said them in the first place. I’m sure some peace of mind comes out of it. I refuse to think forgetting is all bad.

It is said, that when you are on your death-bed, most of the things you worry about now will not cross your mind then. Deconstructing my habitual thoughts and puzzling them back again, helps me figure out what really matters to me, exclusively. So I invented this exercise: Take out everything that relates to your work, family, friends and pets, and tell me what is the thing you treasure most in your life.

If you think about it, the answer leaves only you and your most personal things. Probably the ones that existed before you got a job or a serious relationship. Or maybe opens up the door to what you can only do alone. Pushing it further, maybe it’s that secret you have…

Now that you know what is the most important thing in your life, when it relates to only you, answer this: is it something you would think about in your death-bed? I think we should try to be like the old lady with a memory deficit once in a while. We should wear odd socks, pretend we have short memory, and make some noise when we’re eating soup — why not? Maybe it tastes better that way.

I bet it would make wonders to our self-esteem; the motto being Pretending to be Old Really Makes You Young. It’s not about Not Caring anymore, it’s about caring about the important things. Because think about it; caring takes out too much energy compared to the amount of energy you have allocated for each day.

Imagine this: something happened, you have a problem. There’s the energy for caring about what just happened while you first think about it. Then the energy you use trying to fix it. The energy to share the story with other people. And finally the energy it takes to recover. All that energy, all that time. Why can’t we just fix it (or delegate) and forget about it? Why do we have to go over it inwards and outwards for it to truly leave our mind?

If the soup is too hot, lets just eat it with a straw and pretend we’re a happy old lady, blissfully unaware of her surroundings.

And forgetting can be such a bliss. I wish I could forget that I need reading glasses…