Silhouettes of Somewhere

Silhouettes of Somewhere

A Story by Oliver Jenkins
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We pass by so many strangers, and we never stop to think about what they might be going through.

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She caught his attention for a passing moment as he walked by her in one of the dirty isles of the Dollar Store. She was swaying slightly, her pleasant face glowing in the poor lighting. She smiled softy at the paperback perched as if it were fragile in her palms. Softly she whispered the author’s words, just quiet enough that he couldn’t hear them, but he swore he could feel her breath caressing his ear. Her hair was the color of the leaves in fall, a season he treasured every second of. He was interested in this stranger in a way no other stranger had ever interested him. Maybe it was because of the vast hole that was left in my by that cold b***h, or maybe it was because he was the sort of sap that believed he would find “true love”, but he pushed the thoughts of her out of his mind and continued to browse the cheep s**t you see in Dollar Stores’.

Finally after he grew tired of the stench of the place he snatched up a beef jerky stick and went to the checkout. He chose the checkout counter that aligned with the isle where the girl stood, possibly by chance. Again, he fell into thoughts of her beauty, and was only woken by the rough voice of the cashier saying “Wanna bag with this?”

He responded peculiarly with “Hold on a second.” then dashed to the girl and asked, “What’re you reading?”

His words fell to the ground and shattered, awakening to girl from her delightful dream.

Silhouettes of Somewhere by Jane Ahearne” she said her voice beautiful and gentle, but slightly annoyed.

“Sorry to bother you, I’ve just never seen someone reading in a Dollar Store before.” He said chuckling awkwardly.

“Oh, I read everywhere.” She said with a bright smile making an appearance.

“Really?”

“Yeah. There are so many good stories out there, so I figure occasionally they slip through the cracks; and where do unsuccessful but brilliant novels go? The Dollar Store.”

He laughed, his attention fixed on her bright blue eyes.

“So that’s pretty good?” he said, gesturing to the book.

“It’s great.” She said, smiling in a way that was indescribable, as many beautiful things are “What’s your name?”

“Michael. Yours?” he said.

“I’m Harmony.”

Harmony. What a strange and lovely name. Her parents had loved that word more than any other, just as they loved her more than any other. The minute they saw her, wrapped in a blanket in the hospital they knew her name would be Harmony.

As the two teenagers conversed the cashier tapped her foot, waiting for Michael to come pay for the disgusting dried meat he’d placed on the counter. She wore a green collared shirt with the stupid Dollar Store logo next to a nametag that read “Margaret”. She was heavy-set and raised in a dysfunctional family. Her father was an alcoholic and often beat her mother. As a child Margaret did not get much sleep, because her father would practically scream the roof off of their trailer home in his drunken rage. Her mother had once been timid and gentle, but after a shotgun wedding with that a*****e, she’d learned to toughen up. Margaret’s mother had only one person in her life she could let out her anger on, and that was Margaret. She was stricter than the devil with Margaret, and Margaret was just as strict with everyone she met.

“You gonna check out, kid?” Margaret yelled.

“Oh! Right!” Michael said grabbing a copy of Silhouettes of Somewhere from the shelf “I’ve gotta go.”

“Wait!” Harmony said snatching the book from his hands and scribbling her phone number inside the cover with a Bic pen she kept in her pocket.

He smiled so much his cheeks hurt as he checked out and left the store. There’s no telling why someone as beautiful as harmony would be interesting in such a sap, but she was.

“Have a nice day!” he said to Margaret as he exited the Dollar Store, embraced suddenly by the warm spring evening.

Margaret didn’t have a nice day. She’d been depressed for an eternity, and seeing the connection (and the Harmony) between Harmony and Michael had driven her over the edge. That night, still in her Dollar Store uniform, she shot herself. She was sitting in the nicest piece of furniture she owned, an old armchair, and in her lap was a magazine filled with all the beautiful people she wished she were. Depending on your perspective, this may or may not have been the fault of Harmony and Michael. Maybe it was just Harmony’s fault for being at the Dollar Store, or Michael’s for talking to her. Maybe it was no one’s fault, that terrible suicide, and maybe everything is just too complex to blame only one person. In the words of the author Jane Ahearne “People pass by each other with such great and eager speeds that they rarely realize the revolutionary impacts they have on so many strangers; we’re all too focused on moving forward, toward a silhouette of somewhere that sits on the horizon.”

When Michael read those words he didn’t think of Margaret, or any of the other strangers he might have affected, he thought about Harmony and the affect he might have had on her. He was so lost in overly romanticizing the novel that he completely missed it’s meaning. Still he loved the book, and he loved that day, and he loved Harmony most of all. 

© 2012 Oliver Jenkins


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Added on April 2, 2012
Last Updated on April 2, 2012
Tags: suicide, philosophy, perspective, naive, ironic, romance, anti-romance, silhouettes of somewhere, strangers

Author

Oliver Jenkins
Oliver Jenkins

LA



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I enjoy classic literature, indie rock, art, graphic novels, hiking, and writing. Also I'm terrible at describing myself. more..

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