alone | Teen Ink


August 16, 2016
By socialkaysualty PLATINUM, Dover, Delaware
socialkaysualty PLATINUM, Dover, Delaware
25 articles 0 photos 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.

So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?

And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.

And should I then presume?

And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head

Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;

That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:

“That is not it at all,

That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

"Deep breaths Claire... deep breaths."

The seven year old girl whispered little words of encouragement to herself as she waited for the door to open.

Claire May Thompson was to be left alone in the house for a few hours while her mother runs errands. Being the anxious child she was, a panic attack was quickly beginning to wrap its fingers around her mind.

"There's nothing to be afraid of."

But there was. Terrible thoughts swirled in her head like a whirlpool. 

Car crash? Robbery? Shooting? Loss of direction?

Claire's bottom lip began to tremble as she gripped the home phone, debating whether to call or to be brave. She wanted desperately to listen to her mother's voice, and to hear she was okay.

Now, a small part of her mind was reassured that everything was well, but the majority of it was terrified of the unlikely scenarios that relentlessly pummeled her insides.

Anxiety slowly got the better of her; swirled the black food colouring through the clear water. Claire began to dial the string of numbers that had been buried in her mind, just in case of times like these. 

Just as the dull ring began to sound, the front door opened with a squeak and a jingle of keys. Her mother entered, holding several bags of groceries. She looked exasperated. Her cell phone rang audibly in the back pocket of her blue jeans, and by the look on her face, Claire was sure it had not gone unnoticed. Her mother put down the bags and, closing the door with her hip, she took the phone out. Claire hung up on her end. A sigh escaped her mother's lips, and she looked upon her child.

"Again?" she asked sadly.
Claire looked down, sniffing.

"Are you mad?" she whimpered.

"No. Just disappointed." 

-= 4 years later =-

Claire May Thompson stood in front of her body-length mirror, looking at herself. Not really admiring, but just looking. Everything seemed okay. The wrinkles in her clothes were smoothed, her hair was glossy and brushed, her legs were clean-shaven, her face was as bright and excited as it could be. She flashed her biggest smile.

You can do this, Claire.

"Claire, honey! Time to catch the bus!"

The almost 13-year old's eyes widened.

Let's do this. 


A constant shout greeted Claire as she walked into the cafeteria. She clutched her lunch tray tightly, willing away the anxiety. Claire looked for her friends in the jumble of people. Her heart began to thump wildly as she scanned the room. They set on her two best friends, Mary and Anna, and started to walk towards them.

"Hi guys!" Claire greeted them with a grin as she slid into the bench.

They looked up from their smartphones and smiled weakly. 
"Hey," Mary said unenthusiastically.

"Hello," muttered Anna.

They looked back at their screens.

Claire's smile began to fade. 
"Everything okay?" she asked.

Mary hesitated. "Yep, it's just a... little... crowded at this table."


Claire looked around and saw nobody but the three girls. She frowned. Anna and Mary didn't want her here, did they? She stood up.
"I see you two have grown together this summer."

Hot tears threatened to fall.

Mary and Anna looked down guiltily.

Claire looked around for an empty table through blurred vision. One in the far corner beckoned her, even though she didn't think she would end up there.

"I'll just, move, I guess."

She picked up the lunch tray and strode away. Plopping down on a bench, she agreed with her stomach not to be hungry today.

How could they do this?

Her two best friends, deserting her on the first day.

It's okay, Claire.

She began breathing deeply to reassure herself.

You're not alone. Look at all these people!

Claire scanned the madhouse that was the cafeteria in vain. The tears began to come, rolling down her cheek and leaving a damp trail behind.

There just wasn't enough room.

The author's comments:

my biggest fear is being alone, on two levels. i wrote this for the "Put Your Fears Into Fiction" blog. school starts next week, and none of my friends are in my class. i'm terrified they might desert me during lunch. so i thought, why not write about it? x

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