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Shattered Glass, Memories

Updated on July 23, 2011

Dear Hub buddies,

This is the initial opening chapter of my second novella. I want to learn how to grab the imagination and fluency of a first paragraph and would really like you to comment. Please be truthful. x

The waves rolling, crashing over the shore only fuelled Emily’s desire for freedom, not freedom from her ties and restrictions, but freedom from her memories. She had long realised what an insecure and fragile world it was that she lived in. Feeling lonely and abandoned, she knew nothing but the incomprehensible fear that her past had left her with. Normality was not a word that featured in Emily’s vocabulary; she could never recall normal as being descriptive of her past, or indeed relate it to her present time. She recalled that the house that she lived in was a beautiful turmoil of white washed stone work, crumbling in places, still reminding her of its former glory.

Undulating countryside was the view that she remembered from her childhood, whilst drinking dandelion and burdock pop from a glass while standing in front of the kitchen window. The distant fir trees, standing defiant and proud to the wind were only saplings when she moved into the area. Emily didn’t want to recall her past emotions; they were destructive and negligent of how she felt now. Fretful of losing her composure, and If it hadn’t have been for the bitingly cold water from the surf and the fact that the tide was turning; she may never have regained her senses. Someone was watching over her, and like the turning tide was pushing her back to the safety of the recess of her mind.

It had occurred to Emily, that the present and future were there as an opportunity to grasp and move on and evolve from a chrysalis into a beautiful butterfly; but she lived in the past where the future had no meaning. In fact it was futile to attempt to leave her past behind her. She had no sense of belonging now, only an awareness of surviving as that appeared to be her destiny. She was ‘Emily, the great Survivor’ and those words would be engraved on her headstone when the time came for her to leave this world that she didn’t understand, and pass forward into the light. Hopefully she would pass into a light where all her confusion made sense.

In the distance Emily heard the roll of thunder, deep, growling and imposing and she relished the sight of the lightening. Danger did not faze her, it was her friend, her confidant and she openly embraced it. Emily enjoyed dancing with life, fighting the ambitions of life over death; only then could she recall her childhood to its true extent.

Her fondest memories were all tied to that house. She remembered that the garden was a sanctuary of colours created by loving hands in the most endearing of places. She watched as tall hollyhocks in shades of red and pink caressed the back wall, they seemed to sway with the breeze calling “welcome, welcome” in such a sweet voice as precious as their colours. Delphiniums in stunning blue, played like a symphony of violinists on the stage; and they supported the gallery of lavender, and lupins in astoundingly bright yellow and rustic gold colours. That only left the foyer of violets and primulas, calendula and daisies to enhance the entrance to another escape. She looked around her with horror, “this can’t be right,” what faced her now faded into a totally different view.

Despite the crumbling exterior of the house, and the fact that the garden was an alarming sight of weeds and debris, it had once been a home full of laughter and love, a haven of tranquillity, a welcoming place to escape and feel comforted. The living room was cheerfully decorated in pink and pale green. The two picture windows facing each other allowed a cascade of bright light to enter the room, even the budgie sitting in its cage seemed to be happy and contented in the surroundings of the living room. The dark green leather sofa had been her mother’s pride and joy, and every Sunday afternoon Emily’s mother cleaned the sofa with a mix of vinegar and warm water to make it sparkle. Emily thought, “If only I could sparkle.” Emily’s bedroom was always an adult’s room. Even when she was young everything had its place. No toys could be seen, all her dolls and much loved teddy bears where locked away in cabinets. She was allowed to play with one toy at a time and then she knew to return it before daring to touch another one. But books, that was a different matter entirely. Her mother allowed books, as many books as it took for Emily to sit alone and read, and more importantly not to be demanding of her mother’s attention.; Emily mused to herself that her life belonged on the pages of a book, as it had no bearing amongst the living, or the future, if what her mother had said was to be believed.

Emily stumbled as she walked through the garden, brambles scratched at her legs, nettles grabbed hold of her arms and she shouted out in pain, “Oh my God where am I?” Blind panic took over, darkness descended like a billowing black cloud and the restrictions caused by the brambles made her struggle for freedom. Suddenly, she could hear voices coming closer and a reassuring hand reached out to her. As she opened her eyes to the sunlight she heard a familiar voice say “hush dear Emily, all is as it should be.” The friendly face before her helped her to become free of her restrains, free from the white sheet in which she had become entangled. She breathed a huge sigh of relief as she realised that this was just another normal day beginning in the routine of the nursing home.


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    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      The phrase, "exquisitely honed" comes to mind when I read the first paragraph and when I reached the end of the piece I knew you had me completely hooked. I truly cared about Emily and wanted to learn more about the things that happened in her life. What tragedies did she survive? How did she survive them? Will she come to terms with her past now that she has reached her final years? Is there any "unfinished business" in her relationships with others that could still be completed?

      The search for these answers would keep me reading for I know you are not only going to tell me about the hardships she faced, but you will be taking me deep within the sometimes tormenting, recesses of her mind.

      I took care of many elderly people during my nursing career and always loved to listen to their stories, especially when I was still quite young myself. Fascinating tales of days gone by, an era I would never experience myself, hardships and disappointments intermixed with loves lost and found. I picture this story would be like that.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


      I am so honored to read this for the second time. I love also seeing such positive reviews that mirror my own feelings.

      I must say that I agree with Wayne B. I do not think that all work has to be action packed. I find the poignancy of this tale to be in the character, her thoughts, the lovely descriptions of her surroundings, her impressions. This is actually the type of work that I am more drawn to, so you know I want to read much more where this came from... I love to see you blossom!

      Voted UP and AB, mar.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Mr Starr, good morning to you. Thank you for supporting me Bill and also for your private mail. I hope that you and the family are keeping well. x

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Bobbi, thank you for your supporting comment, and for your personal mail. I am proudto have you as my friend.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Wayne another visit from the master of prose. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. It is lovely to know that you are still there. x

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great work!

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

      Great writing, grabbing people with the first lines is very import and. This story is very good. It is very well written.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      I think this is some of your best writing to least here on the hub. You have been holding out on us! LOL! You did capture the attention early on both in the mind of young Emily and in the description of her surroundings. I think this would be a story more about emotion than action and would attract that type of reader. There's certainly nothing wrong with that as we, as writers, can not satisfy all needs at once most of the time. Good luck with it!WB

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Now my croakilicious Prince, thank you for your encouragement. Editor, that is an offer indeed, with your slant and humour on our favourite President, and my quirky sense on life, some story that would be lol x

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Dardia, thank you for stopping by and leaving me your support. I hope that one day I may be famous and I can buy all my hub buddies a drink.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Cardisa, my favourite writer of romance, sex and the art of seduction. When I can rub shoulders with you my friend than I will truly know that I can write. Thank you girlfriend. x

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      QudsiaP1, Hi and thank you for stopping by. Your encouragement is lovely and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Lora, thank you for your encouragement hunnie, from you, a very talented young writer I take your comment as a compliment. x

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      No comment other than to continue to support and encourage your fantastic work. If you ever need an editor please look me up. LMAO

      The Frog

    • Dardia profile image

      Darlene Yager 6 years ago from Michigan

      Very descriptive, keep up the good work. :)

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      One word Annette.....Perfect! You captured the attention of the reader from the first line. You kept us reading, wanting more. Very Good, you wont have problems getting this in print.

      Great, great....just great!

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 6 years ago

      This is absolutely marvelous work.

      You have immense talent and you should really look into publishing it. You have done a wonderful job capturing the attention of the reader and placing them in the portrait of words that you create.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I hope you are going to publish more of this story as I am very intrigued with it. You got my attention right from the start and kept me reading with great interest.