Welcome to my first short story on the site! This was originally done as an exercise for a creative writing class, but I felt that it was worth posting here. This piece is similar to a dialogue, but no one speaks. Thus, the formatting is a bit different than a lot of my other work. However, I hope it will still be enjoyable, and see the author's notes for details.


Existence

The first thing I noticed about you was how much it hurt.

Your presence was like an open wound, one that would never heal. Every time I saw you my eyes threatened to spill over with tears. Why did you have what I wanted? Why couldn't we switch places? You always had the same answer. That was the way the pieces fell, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Sometimes you'd show up in your military outfit. The flag displayed proudly on the camouflaged clothing. The numerous badges you had glittered like stars. I stared in awe like a kid at a toy store. Of course, you'd warn me about how merciless your job was. I didn't care. Even when I pictured you in those flag draped coffins being loaded on the planes for one final flight, I envied you.

Other times, you'd be a track star. Always, I made myself watch. Your legs seem to transform into wings as you ran. Every time, I looked down at my own. The damaged appendages were twisted like vines. You had your wings, while I was chained to Earth by a clumsy machine.

I think about you constantly, even when you're away from me. Even though it hurts, I can't stop. Those same questions rattle on in my head. At those times, I'd remind myself of one thing.

No matter how much I saw you, you were never truly there.

My mind's picture of the "wings" and the outfit is the only thing I have of you.

The metal contraption always beside me made sure of that.

I can't be you, because you can't exist.


Author's note:

-So this story is an interesting one. I have a physical disability that prevents me from doing certain things, but sometimes I wonder how it would be if I didn't have that disability. The "you" character in the story represents a possible version of myself if I didn't have the disability. And if the character talking to the nameless other one is the real me, with the fictionalized character reminding the other reality.

-I picked the hobbies I did because of two reasons. One is because they are both things I am very passionate about. The other is that my physical disability prevents me from doing them, despite my passion, and I always get a little jealous of those who can.

-Specifically, I've always been passionate about the military, but due to my physical problems I cannot join no matter what. I also enjoy running, but I can't run very fast or very much, and I most likely will never be able to go into competition. So imagining my ability to do these things if I did not have my disability seemed like the perfect contrast to drive the message home.