Life in a Glass Box

A short story constructed of metaphors illustrating the difficulty of communicating a person’s soul to others

She spoke sign language to a hearing audience.  They could all plainly see that she was trying to convey a message to them, but no matter what any of them did, she could not communicate comprehensively to them.  This has been her life for as long as she remembers – living life in a glass box.  A place where she could be seen but not heard.  She could plainly tell what they were saying around her, but in her glass box, she could scream and scream and scream, but to their world, she was as impotent as a mute.

Some tried to understand her.  As she yelled and knocked against the glass wall that separated her from people, they would wave back and smile that awkward smile, thinking they understood very well what went on in her glass box – because to them, the glass box was not real – but to her, it was very real and very much there.

Therefore, she was alone – inside a glass box, with no friends to be there for her to understand her.  Certainly, she had her parents and family that loved and cared for her, but you must understand how hard it is to love and feel love while a cold, glass box surrounding you from all sides and all ways out is all that you feel.  In reality, the warmth of love and kindness could barely reach through this girl’s cold glass box.

Nevertheless, she trudged on.  Her chest twisted in knots, her heart throbbing relentlessly, her legs and arms shaking weakly, she would promise herself with each passing day, with each passing month, with each week, each year: “A time will come.  Glass can’t last forever.  One day, you’ll find a true friend.”

When hope began to fade, she always turned around to find someone new, someone else who she could try to communicate to.  Once, there was even someone who seemed to understand and read her through the glass box.  Her hope swelled, elated with relief and joy, but as she came to learn more about this person, she soon learned that only half of what she communicated – even if that – was understood by the girl outside of the glass box.  Losing faith once again, the girl fell away, feeling she had been made a mockery.

Certainly, she found people who could lift her up in these times.  She had family, after all, and teachers.  But teachers come and go like the seasons – the only difference is that they do not return in the same cyclical series that the seasons do.  For with every year of entering into a new grade, teachers who had once inspired and filled her with hope became memories on the wind that never hit the girl’s face through her glass box.

Still, she trudged on, convincing herself that one day – one day she’d find someone.  She prayed for it, at least, but her prayers soon faded into rituals done simply out of habit.  Hope and faith, she learned, died easily.  It soon became almost apparent to her that, perhaps, she wasn’t meant to be understood.  Perhaps, she thought with a realization made out of horror, she was never meant to have such friends.  To her, in reality, perhaps, she was meant only to be mute to this world, unable to communicate and convey what was on her heart and mind.

Her heart torn, her hope lost, she sank back into the corner of her glass box and gave up.  I guess that’s just how it is when you live life in a glass box…

(c) Morgan Lea Davis, 2008


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