Fortian Writers’ Club Editor Pick #1
Prompt: “Head up. Always up. You know where the ground is. You don’t need to look at it” (250-500 words)
Since I was a child, I’d always been used to looking up. As the small uncoordinated toddler I was, I’d naturally lift my head up. Whether it was to blink up to my parents smiling faces through glassy eyes or to admire the pureness and of our white ceilings that lead from the running vertical curls and swirls of the wallpaper at the end of a long treacherous crawl across the sponge couch. I recall lying there on there like a rounded stone in the palm of a hand. Arms and legs splayed out like a starfish as my eyes followed the array of bumps and other irregularities on the clean surface. Sometimes a spider or some other insect would be making their own treacherous epic across the uncharted topography of the ceiling. I didn’t mind that it was there. As long as it didn’t accidentally fall on me.
My focus would shift as I grew older, I’d look up to my teachers and friends when school started. More role models outside just my parents. I got to see more children like me. Small and chubby beings all running around acting like, you know, kids. The crazy little idiots we were, learning to speak our first sentences and muddle with building blocks and paint and dried macaroni. We had more to look up to. We had access to the endless sky whenever it was lunchtime and teachers ushered us out to play. And when it was not lunch, at exactly eleven o’clock the sun would stream through the coloured panes of the church, bathing everyone in amber and emerald and ruby. I liked playing in the coloured lights a lot.
When I grew older still, I learnt more than to just look up. I knew how to look sideways (when I cross the road all by myself) and behind (when I wanted to look at the past), diagonally and downwards.
I noticed that sometimes other children looked downwards sometimes when they were sad. “Head up. Always up.” was the advice we’d get. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that sad to look down before…
Last time I got sad was when I scrapped my knee. But I was looking at my knee, not down at the ground right?
My friend cried the other day. About three days before I wrote this. She said she lost something. I want to help. I was wondering what makes a person so sad that they must look down. Head up. Always up. You know where the ground is. You don’t need to look at it.
What happens if you must look at it? I was trying to lift my friend’s head so she wouldn’t look so sad. Grabbed her by with an open palm on both sides of her head and lifted gently. It weighed a tonne. “Is your head a magnet that’s stuck with another in the ground?!” I gasped in disbelief.
“What?” she looked at me half surprised.
“I said, is your head a magnet that’s stuck with another in the ground.”
“I thought so!”