I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling anxious and thirsty. I got up to go and get some water from the kitchen but stopped when I saw a man’s figure standing by the door. For some reason I did not feel startled, I just stared at his direction waiting for him to say something. The light shining from underneath the closed door projects his shadow filling most of the space on the floor.
“Why are you here?” I ask
“I don’t know, you tell me you’re the who summoned me” he replies, his voice is raspy and low. The air feels thicker with his words resonating in the room.
“No, I didn’t, I was asleep minding my own business” I started to feel annoyed. I’ve got an exam tomorrow, I can’t deal with this right now.
“Hmm, and what were you dreaming about?” he asks and I can hear the smirk on his lips.
“Some maths equations that are likely to come up in the exam tomorrow. Some that I might not be able to solve because I need to sleep and you’re interrupting that”
“I will leave if you want me to, but what about those equations. I think you need the answers to them”
“Yes I do, will you help me with that?”
“Sure, I did say that you’ve summoned me for a reason,” he says confidently. I roll my eyes
“Fine let’s do some maths, because why not. 3 am maths is so much fun” ……
I never got to finish reading that story to my peers. This is an unfinished story I wrote when I was in middle school. The teacher gave us an in-class writing assignment, he said free your imaginations and tell me a story. We had 30 minutes to write then we all got a chance to read it to the class out loud. The other kids wrote about romance, cars, the future and whatnot. When I stood in front of the class and started reading mine the boys heckled and the girls gave me stares like I was crazy.
“oooh, a man in your room in the middle of the night” I remember one of the boys yelling from the back of the classroom.
I can’t remember how the story ended and what was the punch line. But I remember being happy with the story, I thought that what I wrote was very creative and it had a different approach to story writing. And that happiness got taken away from me when my writing style was ridiculed by my classmates. The teacher did not come to my rescue either, he just stood there waiting for me to finish reading, he had an uncomfortable smile. I stood in front of the class feeling embarrassed and thinking why couldn’t I just write about what I do after school. Why couldn’t I just write something “normal”, one guy wrote about how sleeping is his favourite hobby after all and that got received well by everybody. They clapped for him and everything.
I felt so sad that I didn’t get to finish my story but I told the boys to shut up and I stared back at the girls and walked back to my seat. They laughed as I walked back. Nobody understood what I was talking about, the whole class laughed and the teacher told me to rewrite something more appropriate. He smirked with them.
Looking back at that memory, it is definitely one that hindered my creative writing. There is always a thought at the back of my mind, what if it’s too much, what if nobody understands what I write.
Yet with every sentence, I write these days I crush those thoughts. I silence the laughs and the heckles that I heard that day. I owe it to 14 years old me to keep writing about the strange old men in my room and about the shadows that whisper to me about maths equations.