The Narrow Glass

An evocative piece of prose from Emma Jennings, exploring the creation of a moment.

Alone in the apartment, she’d lost all sense of time. She’d rolled over the choices over and over, yet none of them spoke to her. They’d run in the forefront of her mind like a conveyor belt, displaying the pros and cons in all manner of dull.

Some appealed more than others but the prizes were all lacklustre on this rotary system. She formed different scenes for different outcomes, like fractured trailers to preview the potential playings of her decision.

But as they all began to play, one by one, she realised they all moved with muffled music. It was the sort of distant jazz of supermarket tapes, where the music would string together the same piano repetitions, only in a slightly different order.

Narrow Glass

The scenes all lacked something. There was no panache. And yet her mind created more of them, adding and distorting in an attempt to fulfil what she couldn’t fulfil. But the more they played, the more they went round like a wounded carousel of images, which spun in a creaking fray. And as the images flew, she felt distanced from them, as if looking up. She felt as though she was a mere passerby watching the blur with a sad balloon. As in some French black-and-white film, she stared, quite unable to jump on board. The vivid colours began to blur into brown, the majestic horses like dogs upon a race track. Messy. So messy.

She stopped, got up and moved away from her chair. Sitting down too long makes anything appear static.

Too long she had sat.

Opening the window she breathed in the warm air. So hot. So stuffy. Drink. She took a narrow glass from the cupboard and placed it on the side before shutting the cupboard door.

In the quiet of the apartment it echoed loudly and she looked around the room as if for the first time. How long had she been staring into this abyss?

Turning on the tap, the water trickled into the glass gently until it filled. She watched the first small splash into the glass until it became full to the brim. She took a sip. Ah, water . . . the great healer.

Wet, the glass began to slip down her hand so she placed it down. How amazing it was that she could do that. How her mind had told her hand to do that. A moment.

She picked up the glass again and slowly held it out in front of her chest. Then with one smooth motion, loosened her fingers and . . . let it fall. She let it slide and waited for the inevitable spill, the inevitable sound.

With a splintering sound, the glass cracked and flew in jagged pieces across the floor. The water splashed up her leg and her heart juddered slightly.

Just slightly.

Then she just stood and stared down at it, watching the water move amongst the glass. Both catching light. Crouching down, she picked up a shard the size of her finger. She’d always been quite fascinated by the danger of these things. Knives, guns, cars . . . now glass, fractured glass. What she could do . . . what she could do.

She turned towards the door and wondered what someone might think if they had seen this. She decided she wouldn’t be embarrassed. She would tell the truth. She would say she dropped a glass of water deliberately and made it fall upon the ground. She created this moment. But she knew things were not always so predictable. She started to think about her friends and family. About how they might have reacted. She thought about human behaviour and how people are so influenced by others’ opinions and actions. Then, like rings of attention, she widened and widened her thoughts until she imagined beyond her city, her country, the world.

She was now in the universe looking down on herself with a fractured piece of glass in her hand and she suddenly felt content. She was detached but completely content. As if she had created a place for herself which was beyond her mind, beyond this moment, beyond the insignificance of her human decisions. What did it matter really? She could move this piece of glass in a way which would mean all of her choices and options would whittle down into nothing but life or death.

But she didn’t. How silly that would be when she could live. How silly it was to waste life in indecision.


Emma Jennings | Blog | @emjen92

1 comment on “The Narrow Glass

  1. Love this… how atmospheric & evocative it is, despite the short length says so much. Great imagery both visual & audible.

    Liked by 1 person

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