These entries from February's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "February Writing Challenge."
The Chair Nobody Wants
I’m the chair nobody wants. I live in every school. You can find me in the corner of a classroom. I’m almost useless, but no one minds me, so they don’t throw me away. My life is pretty chill but also sad, and although I’m surrounded by young and beautiful people, I’m alone. You see, I’m the chair nobody wants. I could be broken, maybe with a curved leg, I could be a little unsteady, I could simply be too high or too low. I’m often ignored, but sometimes people notice me and write on me. If I’m lucky, they’ll write meaningful quotes from books or songs; if I’m unlucky, they’ll write bad words. Sometimes youngsters are nasty to me, and they try to break me even more; sometimes they do this to other students too.
Nobody knows, but I can feel and see and hear. When they write on me, I know whether they are using a pen or a marker. I can feel their feelings through the words they use. I can hear them when they talk too, when they shout, when they whisper. I can tell the difference between younger and older students. I can tell that the younger are scared and the older are bored. I feel the anxiety during tests. I know everybody’s secrets because everyone murmurs them in my corner, where they think no one and nothing will hear. But I do. I won’t betray them, though. I’m a good listener since I can’t speak. Sometimes I’m able to feel happy; this happens when someone manages to use me for a purpose, to see me as if I weren’t damaged. Today, for example, someone moved me from my old spot. For a moment I feared my end was near, but I immediately relaxed when I felt the weight of books being put on me. I had almost forgotten the smell of books. It’s so weird. I’m near the teacher’s desk. It had been a long time since the last time someone found me useful. It was two or three years ago, when a child got hurt, and he used me to hold his casted leg up.
These are the times I forget I’m a simple, broken, smudgy chair. Sometimes I feel I’m much more. However, something always reminds me who I am. This happens during the holidays, they are the worst. Everything is dark and quiet and almost creepy and boring and lonely, all at once. I get dusty, and I fear to die. I know that technically I’m just an inanimate object, but I have a conscience, and my worst fear is to lose it. I can bear almost every treatment, good or bad, I receive. I don’t fear pain; I fear the possibility of losing myself. During the holidays I’m left alone with myself, and the absence of humanity makes me stiff, as a chair should be. I don’t want to be a simple chair. I’d rather be a melancholic old chair with a conscience than a perfect functioning chair but soulless. During the holiday I cling to my sadness to stay alive. I cling to the knowledge that everyone will come back, and I cling to my memories. However, during summer and winter holidays, everybody leaves and I don’t. Because I can’t. I usually feel alive, but from this point of view I’m not, I’m not a person who can go everywhere, I’m not a book which can be carried around, I’m not a breath of wind which can fly above the earth. I’m a broken chair, in the corner of a classroom, at the end of a long hallway, in a school, in a city. It doesn’t really matter the specific place, I could be everywhere, because everybody knows me, everybody has seen a broken chair that nobody wants at least once. I’m that chair.
All of my life I have held happy memories inside of me. Family vacations, weddings, and smiling faces. I sit in a place where I can see the whole house. I watch over my family as they go about their everyday business. It’s a small family, just a man and a woman, but they are my family. Every now and then someone will look at me and smile. I hold their memories for them so that they won’t lose them. Lately, though, they have been looking at me less, and when they do look, they don’t have that sparkle in their eyes like they used to. Their faces have a look of disdain instead of admiration. Did I do something wrong? Have I changed in some way? Today the man looked at me for the first time in weeks, except instead of a smile I was met with a look of anger. I don’t understand what is going on anymore. My family seems angry; they keep yelling at each other. What are they doing? All of a sudden I’m crashing into a wall. I feel myself break on impact. I can’t see what’s going on anymore; all I see is black. A few hours later I feel myself being picked up off the floor. The woman takes a long look at me and I see tears forming in her eyes. She looks at me for a long time until she walks over and drops my in the trash. I don’t blame her. I’m broken, and no one wants a broken memory.
I looked at you one last time before they carry you off to the hospital. I was now nothing more than a broken piece of glass, scattered around the room like diamonds. My pieces shined as the light touched them. Like the stars you used to watch outside your window. They were so beautiful, Katie. Just like you.
I looked around your room. This very room I called home. Everything has changed, Katie. So fast that everything seemed like a blur. It would take me a while to remember and to tell everything from the start. But it was a long one, Katie. It’s a long story.
I remembered myself back then. When I was whole and new.
I was one of the new arrivals in a mirror shop. They put me on display for everyone to see. Hoping that somebody would come by and buy me. I was tall, enough for you to see your whole body. My frame a color of baby pink, and I had those gold flowery details above me. I thought that people would come and take me once they looked at me. But I was wrong. Every day, I saw people passing by as they came out of the shop. They bought hand mirrors, compact ones, and the square ones they use for the bathroom. Some just pass by to look at themselves through me, admiring their figures and combing their hair. Their reflections are meaningless. You see, reflections have their own stories to tell too. They’re supposed to be deep and full of soul. They’re supposed to let you see yourself in another point of view.
Everyday continued like that. It was a monotony, tiring and exhausting. A truck stopped by, and several men came out, carrying mirrors like me. One of them talked with the owner for a while before letting him sign something and leave. I knew that I wouldn’t be here on display for very long.
I felt myself being slowly lifted out of my pedestal.
Then I saw her. I saw your mother, Katie.
She was in a hurry to cross the street. She was looking in our direction. My direction.
She went inside and told the owner that they had just moved in and that she needed a mirror for her daughter’s bedroom.
“I was driving home last night when I saw that mirror. The pink one with flowers. I thought that it would be perfect for my Katie’s room.”
Until now, I can still remember those words.
I heard her telling the owner to deliver me to their house, and she gave your address, saying that she couldn’t take me home herself because she’d be late for work.
I was dropped off at a big blue house with a white fence. Your father took me in and transferred me to your room.
Everything was pink. The walls, the bed, the floors, everything.
But what caught my eye was you, Katie. You were sitting on the floor with crayons scattered around and crumpled up pieces of paper everywhere. You were drawing a picture of your family as your father put me right in front of your bedroom.
You looked straight at me and smiled.
Right at that moment, I grew curious of you. Everything about your reflection was warm and welcoming. Full of happiness and innocence. You were a little sunshine. That’s what you are, Katie.
Every day, I saw how you moved around. You drew pictures and kept them in your drawer. You liked to comb your hair and ask your father to braid it for you. And every night, right after you pray, you open your window and admire the stars above. Pointing your little finger at them and making connections.
I watched you grow every day. You grew more beautiful. And your big, golden heart just keeps getting bigger, enough for everyone you love treasured. Katie, I can only hold on to those memories, as they slowly fade at this moment.
Years passed and you became a fine young lady. Everything changed, the walls were a color of gray, the floors white and a few of your paintings are hung up on the walls. Dollhouses were replaced with easels and canvasses. But I’m still there, right on the same spot where I’ve ever been.
Everyday continued normal and happy for me, but not you, Katie.
One time, when you were at school, I saw your mother enter your room. She was hugging another man. For a second, I thought he’s your father but he’s not. They kissed each other as if they’re passionate lovers.
The divorce really hit you hard. You loved them so much. Your mother left the house with that man. Your father became so sad, he’s always drunk and never had the time for you. She never came back for you. You’re always crying, and I could see you. You were looking at me, sometimes screaming. Asking me why and what the hell was wrong with you.
There’s nothing wrong with you, Katie.
From then on, things truly changed. You cut your hair, changed the way you look. You always pretended to be strong. But, you’ll look at me and cry. I showed you your reflection, to let you see what matters.
Then, you found somebody to love you.
Well, I thought he was.
You walked with him to your room last night. You two were talking as he started touching you. You were swatting his hands away. Then you had an argument. It got rough, and he threw you across the room.
I collided with you.
I shattered, into hundreds of pieces.
When you were finally weak and lying on the floor, he strangled you and you kept fighting.
Until you weren’t moving anymore, Katie.
You’re so innocent, so fragile. But you managed to be strong for yourself.
That’s when I realized that you’re like me. Hard but fragile, and now we’re both shattered.
And I wish you could stay, Katie.