Under Glass

On the day Angel found out Ash was losing his sight she felt something snap deep inside her as if there had been a twig lodged within her heart that had  been stepped on. Your heart could break not just for love but for other things. Like disappointment and grief, but mostly, for cruel twists of fate. And it could break not just for yourself, but for other people too.

Ash was a photographer. Quite famous in his own way. Sunsets and skies were his things. According to Ash a sunset was the singular most magnificent thing to look at in this world. It took his breath away again and again.

When he found out he would soon be blind he sat in the old chair on the back porch glued to the sunset. He had ten cameras set up shooting it from every angle. The sound of the shutters were like nails in Angel’s heart. Please don’t take his sunsets away, she prayed every day.

It began as a photograph edged with shadow where the corners were blurred. Gradually the blurring crept further and further into the image as if the shadows were paint leaking into the centre. Angel knew his eyes were getting worse when Ash began stumbling into furniture, when he lined every flat surface in the room with image after image of multi-coloured sunsets; desperate to hold onto them.

One day it began to rain. The sky was black for over a week. The rain pelted and beat on the roof. Ash began to panic. Where is the sun, he cried. I need to see the sun. Time is running out.

The rain continued to pound the roof. Relentless. The old roof couldn’t take it. Pock-marked, weary, she gave way, scattering water all over the floors and down the walls.

The insurance covered a brand new roof. Fully insulated. Would keep out the heat and the cold, not to mention the rain. An idea came to Angel as the builders were measuring up.

What about glass? she asked.

A glass roof would be expensive, said the builder. I don’t think the insurance will cover it.

I’ll pay the extra, Angel said. It has to be done.

She didn’t tell Ash what she was doing. She organised it so that the sheets of glass would be put in place when he was getting some tests done at the hospital.

The builders finished an hour before Ash arrived back home. With the glass in place the house was so light. Every corner, every crevice was illuminated. Angel could see the golden aura of sunlight caressing her skin as she walked from room to room.  The clouds hung over the walls where the glass ended, doilies on the back of couches. Everywhere was tinged with blue light as if the house itself was falling through the sky.

When Ash arrived home he was astonished, perplexed at what Angel had done.

How can we have a roof made of glass? he said. It’ll be too bright. Too hot.

Don’t worry, said Angel. It’ll be perfect. It’ll be just what we need.

And it was. Ash could lie in bed memorising sunsets, basking in the ethereal blue, the vibrant yellow, the bleeding orange; glorious and infinite. He could eat breakfast under sunrises, listen to music under rain; trace the pattern of wings as they soared to forests far away.

And sometimes, even though he knew he shouldn’t, he would close his eyes and just feel the light and colour coming to him through the glass, tumbling into his mind; each time of the day a different sensation, a different level of warmth.

And gradually, as he became accustomed to the changing levels of light on his face, on his skin, he began to fear what would happen after the darkness less and less. He began to realise there was more than one way of seeing and that even when the light had drifted away from his eyes, he would still be able to feel it, like something brimful of holiness, a gentle caress under glass.

*Inspired by the Search Engine Stories prompt – glass houses.

16 thoughts on “Under Glass

  1. I like they way you describe Ash and how he discovered he was going blind and all the details about feeling the sunset and the sky above Ash, it’s just a lovely tale to read


  2. What a story of love and overcoming obstacles in the best possible way.

    I’ve said it many times before, Ill say it again. You have such a gift Selma. Your work (and range of subjects) just amazes me. And you continue to inspire me to work harder too. Thanks Sel.

    Have a lovely weekend, G 🙂

    PS: How do you make the happy face that laughs???


  3. LISSA:
    Thanks so much. You are such a lovely writer yourself. I take that as a great compliment!

    Oh, G, how kind you are. I am constantly inspired as well by you and everyone else I read. It’s a great community we’ve got going here.
    To make the smiling laughing face you write on the same line (no spaces)
    : then lol then:

    How nice to hear from you. Cheers!


  4. what a unique take on the prompt.. i think glass ceilings would be a wonderful thing,, being able to feel the sunshine in the house is just what i need since very little seems to make it in here otherwise…


  5. Wow! How did you do that? The greatest fear of any photographer or, indeed, every visual artist is failing sight, and you captured it beautifully.

    But … the glass roof! My favourite coffee bar has a huge plate-glass window and the window seat is usually monopolised by a group of old ladies we call the Golden Girls.

    Except when the sun is really hot … they move to the back of the room then and leave the window seats for the rest of us.


  6. KATE:
    Cheers, hon.

    It does get hot in places like Australia though. My friend has a glass roof in her dining room and you can actually get sunburnt in there. Yet it is so beautiful to always see the sky!

    Can you imagine the horror an artist would feel if faced with blindness? Too terrible to contemplate.

    I loved the story about the Golden Girls. Sound like a bunch of characters.

    I agree. Dark houses are such a downer. I was originally going to write a story about someone living in a house made entirely of glass but it sort of segued into this. It’s strange how things turn out…

    I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your beautiful photography. I don’t seem to be able to leave a comment, so I thought I’d tell you here. Exquisite images. So glad you liked the story!

    You are so kind. Thank you so much!


  7. >>a house made entirely of glass <<

    You know what they say:

    ‘People who live in glass houses should undress in the dark!’


    Hahaha. You would feel like you were living in a display case, wouldn’t you? I need at least two solid walls in my house. 😀


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