You look over and there she is. She’s in her usual spot, writing as always. You can see that she is scribbling frantically as she puts her thoughts on paper, writing as though she’s running out of time. As if she only has these few moments to set her words in ink before she’s forgotten. It’s a sad thought, as no one is paying much attention to her in the first place.
As look closer, you see that even though her writing looks frantic, her face is lit up with joy as she watches the words appear on the paper. There’s a smile curving the corners of her mouth, and you can tell there’s nothing else she would rather be doing at this moment. You smile. You can’t understand why it makes her so happy, but you like the fact that she is.
As if she can sense you watching her, she looks up and her eyes meet yours. For a fraction of a second you see how they look alight with passion and joy, and your heart stops in your chest. You've never seen such intense, raw emotion before. Then she blinks, and it’s gone. Her eyes dull and become guarded, her expression wary. Looking down you see her hands protectively cover her book. You feel guilty that you've disrupted something that gave her so much pleasure, and you look away. However you feel an irresistible urge to watch her, and after a few moments your eyes flick back to where she’s sitting.
You laugh to yourself as you see that she’s once again writing, her pen flying across the paper. Having never seen the simple act of writing giving someone so much pleasure, you are intrigued. You want to know what she finds so appealing. Once again she looks up and her eyes meet yours. This time she frowns, clearly wondering why you keep looking at her. You’re about to look away, but you want to talk to her. You want to find out what she’s writing, why it brings out such happiness in her.
Making up your mind you walk over to her. Her eyes follow you suspiciously, and as you get closer she quickly closes her book – but not before you see rows upon rows of writing splashed on the pages. You pull out a chair and smile at her.
“May I sit down?”
She nods slowly, watching you carefully as you sit. She pulls her book closer to her, as if protecting it. Feeling a little guilty and disrupting her, you try to make her feel at ease.
“Nice day, isn't it?”
She looks at you and raises an eyebrow. “Seriously?” she seems to be asking.
You laugh nervously, pulling at your collar. “I know, lame topic of conversation. Sorry about that.” Looking down in embarrassment, you see her twirling her pen in her long fingers. She’s obviously itching to get back to writing, but doesn't want to do so while you’re there. You look back up and smile at her.
“You can keep writing. I just wanted to sit down.”
The pen stops moving, and she looks at you hesitantly. You grin. “I promise I won’t peek.” She gives you a tiny smile before eagerly opening up her book and letting her pen fly across the pages. You sit back and watch, grinning to yourself as her eyes light up with pleasure and her mouth curves upwards at the corners. As you watch, you become amused by the varying expressions that appear on her face. Joy, sadness, fear, anxiety. It’s as if she’s personally feeling whatever she writes.
“What’s so fun about it?”
Almost as an automatic response, she says “I can’t tell you-“ she breaks off abruptly and looks up, confused. “Wait, what?” She frowns.
You repeat your question.
She smiles, and you can see the light of relief in her eyes. “Oh. I thought you were going to ask what I was writing about.”
You shake your head. “No, I didn't think you would tell me.”
She laughs. “You’d be right.”
Again, you repeat your question. “So, what’s so fun about it? What do you like about it?”
She looks up and blows some air out of her mouth. “I…don’t really know how to answer that.”
“So you don’t know?”
“No, I know…I'm just not sure how to put it into words.”
You grin. “You don’t seem like you have too much trouble with words.”
She laughs. “Well…I like it because…” she pauses and threads her fingers together, focusing on them intently.
“Because…it’s a way for me to…express myself. It’s like…an outlet for my ideas. When I'm writing…I don’t have to think about limitations or how things would work in reality, or how crazy or weird my ideas are.” She laughs here. “When I write, I'm free to imagine anything I want, absolutely anything. I can be at the top of Mount Everest, or flying in the clouds, or riding dragons or swimming with mermaids in the ocean.”
You laugh a little, but she doesn't seem to notice. Her eyes are beginning to light up, her words flowing forth like a dam has burst inside her, and everything she’s been wanting to say finally has a chance to overflow.
“It also…allows me to get away from reality, if only for a short while.” She looks up and her eyes meet yours, almost hesitantly. “I can escape into the lives of different characters, feel what they feel, see what they see. Their experiences and memories almost become my own, I can fully step into their shoes, and into their lives. It’s…I don’t know…I can’t explain that feeling…” Her voice trails off, and she looks down again.
You shake your head. “I'm sorry, but I still don’t understand. I mean…just by reading you can do the same thing, can’t you?”
Her eyes snap back up to yours, and you feel your breath come short as you see the fire and passion in her eyes. Her face is lit up so much it’s like there’s a candle glowing beneath the surface of her skin.
“But these words are mine!” She exclaims, as if it’s obvious. “It’s so much more personal than a book that someone else has written. It’s all your own thoughts and feelings and ideas…it’s like a part of you.” Her voice becomes heated, and as she talks you feel yourself getting caught up in her words.
“Just imagine it.” Her voice takes on a distant quality, and her eyes have a faraway look to them. “Imagine, putting your pen to paper and writing words, that when arranged in the right away can make people feel things like love, hate, sadness, fear…imagine people laughing or crying at your words. Your words. The fact that I can affect people with just the use of language is just…amazing to me.” Her voice grows quieter as she finishes talking, and she looks down quickly, her face flushed with embarrassment at how much she has told you. She’s probably never told something like that to anyone.
However, you’re beginning to understand her passion for words. Not fully, but the way she put it together has struck a chord with you, and you know you won’t be forgetting this conversation any time soon. You smile at her softly, honoured that she shared that with you, not wanting her to be embarrassed.
Nodding slowly, you say: “I…think I'm beginning to understand what you mean.”
She looks up at you and smiles. “Maybe you should try it sometime.”
You grin. “Maybe I will.”
You thank her before getting up and walking away, letting her get back to her writing. You look back and find her looking after you, a curious smile on her face. You wave to her and then walk away, her words ringing in your ears all the way home.
You enter your house and enter your bedroom. Taking a seat at your desk, you pull a notebook towards you and pick up a pen. The empty lines seem to beckon to you, and you hear her words in your head.
“Maybe you should try it sometime.”
Grinning, you put the pen to the paper. “Maybe I will.”