A Quiet Afternoon

The library was quiet, universally and sagaciously wooden, and dusty. Electrical sockets were somewhat hidden under flaps of carpet, and the buzz of the microfilm provided a background hum not unlike the drone of bees caught in a jam jar, being prodded slightly with a pencil. On the table lay a book, it’s spine worn from much love over the decades, and a cup of coffee, sneakily moved quietly and unseen past the librarian’s desk (my coat pocket from this day forth would have a delightful sugary crust that even the most aggressive washing detergent could not coax into moving). Sunlight fell from the glass ceiling above me, and my scarf worn more for fashion than for warmth, caused a slight gagging sensation as I inhaled the magnificent emptiness which surrounded me. I drummed my fingers slightly on the book’s cover as I took another sip of coffee, and prepared myself for the judicious realisation that history lay in more than mere textbooks.

My fingers moved between the sheets of paper, black and white photographs adorning each page. I had sat here before many times, selecting at each sitting a single book to accompany me through to the afternoon, eating biscuits unfound by the security patrol, or purchasing begrudgingly a marshmallow cookie from the library café.  Delicious, but morally objectionable. I stared at the people in the photographs in my book, the Russian War, pictures of faces long gone and demonstrating exactly how life changes under observation; their mistrust of the camera ravaged their faces and then lived on forever in negligible print. It was enough to make you laugh, was noise permitted. I mused over the oncoming black clouds in various images, early attempts at photo editing, deliriously effective. The faces of those mourning proved too lethargic to even feign surprise at the presence of the photographer and instead were captured at the apex of their misery. Corpses and women in shawls, death and the disconsolate.

The black and the white of the photographs rendered them more easy to consume, their lack of colour becoming a sheen through which reality was much detached… how very beautiful and harrowing. Known places lay in ruins, and figures who could easily have been painted stared into the lens, their eyes an implosion of black, utterly lifeless. A Freudian excitement was provoked in the blood at the thought of raw pain depicted on the innocent sincerity of paper- morbid fascination grew with the turning of every page and every life which ebbed into nothingness- a corner of the earth forever their own, where their bones would begin to soften slowly.

But another afternoon had passed and my coffee cup had become insufferably empty. I wondered if they would take pictures of me, when I lay dead.

9 thoughts on “A Quiet Afternoon

  1. I just realized I didn’t comment on this when I read it. The old black & white pictures I’ve seen of these wars are horrific beyond belief. It’s so unconscienable that reality is worse than the horror films we make. Of course I love your dark spin on the reflection, and I loved the bees in the jam jar!


    1. Thanks so much Anne. They truly are harrowing to look at, and I think many people are unable to comprehend it as ‘real’ because of the way they are presented. It’s difficult to try and look deeper into what they mean because of the sheer horror of war and death; it’s just easier to pretend the events of the past aren’t connected to us in any way. Thank you for your comment, you always understand just what I am trying to say <3


  2. I can’t help but feel like you miss studying history in university after reading this… Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Either way, this is a Brilliant Piece.

    I Love the way that it is Written… It, once again, makes me want to read more and more. I’ll always wonder what your mind could do if it attempted a novel… I know you may not be ready for that in your life right now, but I’m still so curious what it would be like to read a full length story written the way you write.

    Engrossing to say the least… Reading your work is instantly like shifting out of one reality, and into another, created/weaved by you.

    I don’t read a lot, but I’d read anything written by you… Even if it was as long as hell, Lol I’m up for it.

    Well done Anna



    1. Thanks DJ! I do miss studying and I hope that comes across in all my stories. I’d love to write a book but I don’t know whether I could apply myself to anything longer at the moment.. maybe one day when I have enough time and Baileys to keep me company :D


    2. Your Love of History and Literature does show up in all of your Writing… Definitely. You could always get a couple kitties, and name em ‘Time’ and ‘Baileys’, Hee Hee… And they could keep you company while you write, Lol

      Actually, wouldn’t be cool to get a turtle and name him/her ‘Time’, Lol… And either a Bunny named Baileys (for the sake of the whole tortoise and hair thing), or a kitty named Bailieys as originally mentioned, Lol

      I really do need to read Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, I’ve always wanted to… I only mention it because for some reason your writing makes me think of it for some reason… Have you ever read it? And if so, what did you think?



    3. I haven’t read it, but it is one of those books I really ought to read at some point. And I love your ideas of buying kitties and naming them Time and Baileys! I can be a mad cat woman and write a book at the same time, it’s the dream! :D


  3. Yay, I read this Aquarium Monday~! right before I needed to get ready for work, setting me up for the day! :D

    The descriptiveness! Gave me chills it did, well done. But I suppose the only way we’d get photo’s of us after we’re dead is if we staged some sort of armed robbery. (Which Im totally up for doing)


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