A Question Of Perspective: A Short Story

(under 5 minute read)

I can feel Emma on top of me. Her weight is evenly distributed, but heavy nonetheless. To be honest it’s a comfort, an early sign of what’s to come. The weight of her body lets me know that it’s nearly time to go home. Or as close to home as possible.

Emma’s family came to visit yesterday. I must admit I was very nervous for their arrival as I wasn’t sure whether these people were coming for another round of chopping, cutting, scraping and colouring. I was relieved to find out they only came to see Emma. Though her mother did mention how beautiful I was, she was the only one to acknowledge me at all. The rest of her family members seemed to look through me, as if I were invisible. However, I refused to allow their negativity to burden me further. It was the likes of them that brought me here and made me what I am today. I didn’t ask for this.

Emma and I were left to get acquainted in a small room of which boasted soft glowing candles and colourful windows. That was until we were transported to an even smaller room that moved, just after flowers had been placed on top of us by sullen men in matching suits. I saw other moving rooms as we made our way to a large field with a stone house in the centre. I spot Emma’s mum and her red eyes fill with tears as soon as she notices our arrival. She turns her back and cries into the shoulder of a man I’ve never seen before. He certainly wasn’t there yesterday with the rest of the family. He is very tall, thin and gaunt. His presence unnerves me for reasons I can’t explain.

“Why is she crying? Why does everyone look so… Red?” I ask Emma.

Silence. I admit defeat and promise myself not to dwell on it. Today is my day and she can’t ruin it for me. Even if we are being forced to spend the foreseeable future together, they do say time is a healer.

I notice everyone in the room turning to look at us as we are brought to the front, every row filled with long faces. After a short speech and a few songs, people start approaching Emma and I. Some people place trembling hands on me, while others are simply staring with glassy eyes. The men who carried us in here are big and strong, not dissimilar to the first men I ever met not too long ago. It’s hard to enjoy the attention when the atmosphere feels thick with despair and is swirling with sadness. The room empties and I am once again lifted into the arms of men.

“Earth you are, and to earth you will return,” says the man who is sprinkling a rain-like substance on top of us. Oh, how I’ve missed the rain. If only my roots were still intact, perhaps I could quench this dry thirst. I still feel Emma’s weight on top of me, but then I finally feel the cool earth underneath me. I take the opportunity to revel in the familiarity of the dirt and find myself holding Emma closer. I think myself luckier than most. Some never get the opportunity to be as close to home as this.

“I know it must be hard to leave your family and friends, but I’m going to help you return to the Earth. That way, you will always be near them.”


So, this is my little story. I do hope you enjoyed it and if you did (or didn’t) please let me know in the comments!

Signed,

Jen x

26 thoughts on “A Question Of Perspective: A Short Story

  1. Hey Jen!

    As always a great story. What really jumps out at me is how distinct a voice you have. I know when it’s a story you’ve written. There is a certain … familiarity to it, it feels like a daydream or a far away memory, distinctly remembered.

    I might be one of your thicker readers for I did not fully understand the story. I enjoyed the same feeling as during the statue short story but this time I couldn’t quite figure out what/who the narrator was. Is the narrator the casket or something similar?

    Since English is not my first language I am not entirely sure but when the mother spots them and turns around crying. Is that a sudden shift in tense, from past to present?
    And: ”I notice everyone looking at me as we were brought to the front of the room.”
    There might be a few more here and there, where I think you are jumping tenses 🙂

    Besides that, good work, again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much! Very kind of you.

      To answer your first question:
      The story is narrated by the coffin/casket.
      I thought it was ironic to bury the dead in a dead tree. I wondered how trees would feel to be “returned to the earth”.

      Secondly, that first example was deliberate to speed up the pace of the story. The second example is indeed an oversight. I was making last minute edits and remember having issues with that sentence.

      Thank you for your feedback! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always appreciate these. I finally had to see the comments to make sure what the perspective was. I mulled it over a while and still got it wrong (though I was close!) It made perfect sense then. I’m glad the stories aren’t written like riddles and carry some emotion heft as well. I’m also glad that you don’t necessarily spell it out for the reader so that they have to think a bit. Can’t wait to read the next one!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad it was interesting enough for you to sit and think about what it could mean. I think I left enough clues (although they are only based off of the 2 funerals I have attended, it could differ in different countries) but not enough to completely give it away.

      I’m glad it was thought provoking. I am currently working on a new story so should be up within the next couple of days!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I got hung up on the little details and couldn’t see the forest for the trees (or if you permit me to be a bit macabre, “I couldn’t see the coffin for the decor.”) The clues were sufficient but I kept thinking it was something else in the coffin with Emma, like the linings, a keepsake, stuffed animal, something like that. It was so obviously the casket that I looked over it.

    Liked by 3 people

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