Gleanings From A Balcony

I think this excerpt is from a couple years ago, maybe even three. There was a time that I used to write sporadically. I dabbled with stories and stuff, yet I had a habit of almost never seeing things through to the end. This piece is not very long, but I figured it may or may not be worth posting here. Hopefully it will spark a desire compelling enough to allow me to pick it back up again. Doubtful, but who really knows? Anyways, here’s the cringey thing I wrote whenever it was. Found it on the cloud.


The night had begun long ago, already fallen into its perpetual slumber. As the night arose, so the people of Duluth did repose. Whether through the assistance of peace or the aid of that antagonist, despair, Sleep had thrust himself upon the residents of the bitterly cold town. There was not a sound, apart from the zephyrs’ caress of the Superior — that leader of those Lakes whose own name is worthy of its fold. Nothing perceptible could be heard, particularly for anyone in possession of a mediocre ear. As the town and its residents slumbered, the Moon, luminating as it often does, unclothed himself to the full. He consummated with the south wind and that Lake — causing the nautical, windy love affair to become a beautiful nuptial triangle.

An hour or so had passed since the time where a chiming clock would have struck; thus, revealing to all entities within sounds’ reach that the witching hour had arrived. The town’s activity halted, something to be expected at such a time and in such a place. Though, each man knows, through the help of experience and growth, that different places have their own understanding of “normal.” For Duluth, normal after midnight meant that no sound was palpable. Apart from the whistling of a paradoxical breeze — so typical of Minnesota climes— nothing else could be heard but the faint waves of the Superior. Their perpetual ebbs and flows rustled as the passively active zephyrs ran along them tickling, coyly as the nymphs do in the tales of the ancients.

On the outskirts of town near Jameson St., a bulk of apartment complexes; faulty condominiums; and typical struggling businesses lie together in a faint embrace. One complex in particular, The Charlene, rests on the southeast side of the city. Its borders, on the west side of the building, expose themselves to the open isle that overlooks Lake Superior. This inland body, provided one lives on the right side and floor, is blatant. Those given such an opportunity rarely understood the privilege granted them.

How often it is that people are unable to see the grace that is present within their lives.

The Charlene houses a variety of individuals, in a similarly unique set of rooms. Though, there were a great many of them to be sure, one in particular had something distinct about it. These rooms were located on the east side and sat nearest the town with the plaza just visible below. The plaza, located at the corner of Jameson and Dream could be seen just by looking out and over the eastern rooms’ balconies. While, on the other hand, the Superior was visible in the distance with a mere glance toward the southern port. Those who lived anywhere from the 3rd floor above could reflect, inwardly, while their eyes fell upon Superior nautical gleanings.

Provided that such a resident had a specific vantage point, their view could be one or both beauty and poignancy.

On a particularly cool and equally damp night, a girl of four and twenty tossed and turned in her sleep. Her hair was silk blonde, a snowy shade. The long tresses swayed back and forth, as she rolled from her right side to the left; left side to the right. Sleep toyed with her. Coming one moment, it gave her rest. The next moment it left her, disappearing without an explanation or notice. Awake, her eyes opened. They were a blue-green shade; the blue encompassing the majority of the pupils while a tinge of emerald green glimmered in the center of her pearls. In these distinct eyes, the girl harbored an enigmatic disposition, one which could pierce to a man’s inner core — giving him an indefinite inkling. The eyes pertained a ghast and an, equally, innocent sentiment.

Though the room was pitch black, no light present except the glimmer of the moon at its prime, there was something about the look in her eyes that would grant one the impression that they could perhaps — both — glow and see in the dark. No longer filled with the desire to wrestle with sleep and bring him to a pin, she opened her eyes to the full. Her eyes looked upon the blotched ivory ceiling. Turning to her left she glanced at the clock just adjacent the twin innerspring bed.

Red numbers stared back at her:

1:43

“You’ve got to be joking,” she thought, a catalyst of anxiety arising within.

A forced sigh escaped; she rubbed her eyes and turned quickly away. Facing the plastered wall to the left of the room, she closed her eyes in effort to acquire the rest which hastily escaped her throughout the night. Fidgeting, tossing and turning, her eyes refusing to remain closed into that slumber which comes to those in peace. She continued to struggle, as she found herself continually reaching out for just an ounce of rest. Time slowed to a standstill. She turned around.

“2:17.”

Her eyes, scarcely closing, locked onto the ceiling. Her insomniac state fueled her, at least in some sense. She wanted to know, to understand all that lied within her. Perturbed, supine in her bed, coarsely limp under her lavender comforter, she did not remove her eyes from that ceiling. Her pale, sallid hands rested upon the course of her stomach’s V. They were locked together, uniting in stillness — just as the rest of her body.

She, in her imitation of the dead, watched the ceiling as though it were a harbinger — as though it were about to move, speak, or reveal a great mystery. After, what seemed to be, hours, she moved. The keeping of vigil began to affect her. Tormented by thoughts — particularly, those thoughts which seem, so often, to come to us in the night. When we find ourselves alone, in those times finding ourselves forced to travel within the recesses of our heart and spirit, thus, being unable to ignore those regrets and scruples which prick the conscience. Such a condition was that of our bed-ridden maiden.

The enamel hands of the young pale beauty, who seemed to become more frail as the night continued its trek, directed themselves to her forehead. A solitary drop, a mere trickle, of sweat fell to the corner of her brow. A trembling hand wiped the drop. She was unsure how much time had passed. Though that department store digital clock sat upon the oak corner table at the base of her bed, just to the right of where her blonde haired head lie.

She turned in the direction of the time: “2:54.”

It became clear to the dame that sleep would not accompany her. Too much, yet so little, was on her mind. She gave up on keeping watch. Flinging off her covers, she wandered into the bathroom. She lived in the complex, having done so for the past six months. It was a bit smaller than most, and it was located on the fourth floor. Though it was a tad larger than a typical studio, she had a bathroom, a walk-in closet, and a kitchen area with a stove.

At the conclusion of her vigil, she wandered into the bathroom. Immediately, she flipped on the faucet and turned it to the right. Throwing cold water on her face, she glanced at herself in the mirror. What she saw before her in the mirror was the semblance of a specter.

“I’m a ghoul,” she thought, saying it out loud to herself.

Her attitude toward her reflection was without perspective. The lavatory was lit up by a solitary candle, which was burning in the corner atop the toilet and under the cabinet of towels. What looked back it her in the mirror was her, yet her without sleep in a nuanced lit up state. Fear, that demon which extends its claws and tries to snatch us away from the objects of the desires which sprout within our hearts during the purity of our youth. He, once taken a hold of victim, leads them down an unsteady and — unfortunately — a well-trodden path. Such a path leads to its father, Despair.

The reflection was staring back at her. Their eyes met; neither of them wavered, both locking their eyes upon upon one another as though it were her own eyes being attached to the dimpled ceiling above her bed.

She began to weep.

The bathroom pasty tiled floors were drenched with tears. They fell from her distressed insomniac eyes. She ran from the bathroom and wandered toward the screen door, which lay on the south side of her apartment wall. The smudged glass-paned window slid up with a reserved haste. A breeze flew in through the opening. With a shiver, the despairing girl, tears still rolling and sobs subsiding, tiptoed through the crevice in the wall.

At the Chevalson Complex, each room — from the second floor up — had a balcony. A double-glass door, in each room as mentioned, opened up to be facing the street. The rooms on the south side were in the vicinity of the harbor and quiet city, the plaza to be exact.

She stood on the balcony, her arms crossing while the rest of her limbs convulsed with every gust of wind. A night gown covered her, as she stood bare in her undergarments. Her ivory hands rested upon the railing. Overlooking the balcony, her head leaned over the edge as her lapiz-emerald eyes wandered from the Michigan to the pier.

At that very moment, a thought rose within her. This thought, a thought which possessed a current that traveled from the ball of her foot to the foremost crevice of her mind.

“What is this, this..well what is it that I feel? I feel nothing, yet it is everything to me. I know not what to do nor how to do it. Who can help me, what can help me?”

The street lights, turning to her left she noticed, raised themselves over the plaza markets and businesses, which were all closed at such an hour. She thought of those them, along with how they and each and every other entity felt in that very moment.

No-longer-faint chimes of the breeze continued to envelope her.

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