Little Girl Blue

Haven’t done Magpie Tales for a while but I do love any image of the rain so I couldn’t resist this one.

I just wanted to preface this story by telling you it is based on something a girl from my writer’s group told me. She has been seeing a guy for about 3 months. She suffers from anxiety and depression. She told her boyfriend about her anxiety. At first he had a go at her, basically saying she had nothing to be depressed about, especially now she was with him. And then he left.

True story.

Real life is much more extreme than fiction.

Here is the fictional part –

The rain was gold-rimmed.  Dark gold vintage bracelets. Falling through the light. Early autumn rain, still warm from summer but no longer coloured by her fair-headed fingers. Topaz, auburn instead. Like maple leaves ready to fall.

Beth loved and hated autumn rain. It slid so easily down the glass with its bare, flexible feet, almost intrusive. Pliable, supple as youthful hands shaping clay.

She loved it because it made her smaller than she was. Rainy days, rainy days full of coffee and books; forcing her inside where she could no longer see the vastness and reach of the sky. Containing her spirit that was wont to wander and dream too easily. Making her finish tasks she could not tackle in the sunshine.

Beth hated the autumn rain because it is where she lost Gil.  She remembered as he walked away that the rain fell sweet and salty down the window pane and the drops were so thick she could see them in the mirror on the opposite wall. Glass reflecting glass like some kind of necromancy.

She could count them one by one in that mirror on the wall that had seemed so unremarkable before but was now a magical thing full of rain and light.

She thought of the song Little Girl Blue * –

‘sit there and count the raindrops falling on you

it’s time you knew

all you can count on is the raindrops

that fall on little girl blue.’

Beth was blue.

Her fingernails had the faintest lustre of it.

As if they had been dipped in shadow.

People didn’t know it, but the shadows were blue not black.

And under certain circumstances the shadow seeped into every part of you – right in, deep – every cell full of the dense, blue velvety mix of it.

And when that happened, when the blue began to absorb into your very soul, you became a creature of melancholy and light; half blood and bone, half blue.

Beth lost him because she told him.

One night he found her, unable to sleep, staring out at the autumn rain, the drops blue in the night, tinged with amber.

Are you sick? he asked. Why can’t you sleep?

She told him then. Of the anxiety, feeling it, living it, chasing it into the thickest shadow only to have it run back, inexorable, tainted.

The bite of it, the clutch of it, the panic setting in that nights would never be what they were again.

The colour of it.

Most people are afraid when they realise the shadows are blue.

How can you be anxious when I am here? He could not look at her for staring at the shadows. You are not alone. You are loved. You have no need for anxiety.

You have nothing to be anxious about.

Nothing. Nothing.

Nothing but the draw of the days and the rise of the light. And knowing so much, but oh, so little.

And the sights and the sounds. And the awe-filled moments. So many, so few.

And the rain, don’t forget the rain, filling the sky with the sublime.

Some people are afraid when they realise the shadows are blue, pulling like roots in sand.

Gil was afraid. Of the shadows. Of anxious thoughts. Of long, blue nights.

Of himself.

Beth watched him walk away in the autumn rain, the night rain, the blue rain that fell slow enough and soft enough to be counted.

She sighed, she cried.

He was gone. Lost to the dark air.

She was smaller than herself, younger than herself, the colour of the rain-filled shadows.

The shadows that fell, a comfort, like a hand held.

Falling on little girl blue.

*Lyrics from Little Girl Blue by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers.

Copyright © 1935 Williamson Music and Hart Publishing Co. USA.

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17 thoughts on “Little Girl Blue

  1. This would have bee much pleasanter to read if there weren’t huge gaps between every sentence. They detract, rather than add anything, to the story.

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  2. I am an actor and Selma has worked all day with me on a monologue I am preparing. It is written in short, truncated sententences like this story. Sel is a symbiotic writer and I have noticed as a result she often adopts the techniques used in whatever she is reading or has seen at the time. I feel that this is what she has done here , subconsciously. I like the image of the vintage gold bracelets and the mirror full of rain. It is a shame when people leave little acerbic one line comments when they haven’t taken the full piece into consideration. I have noticed this kind of thing on a lot of prompt sites, unfortunately. It sure spoils the fun.

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  3. Come on, Ms Sel. It is fair to say that stylistically it doesn’t read all that well. But the imagery is magnificent as usual. Me likey.

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  4. I’m so surprised at the some of the comments! I just LOVED the way this was set out, I thought it added to the pace and feel and really pulled the story on. Beautifully written Selma, you place words in such a way that leaves me bubbling with delight … wonderful :o)

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  5. Beautifully written Selma. 🙂

    I loved the imagery and especially liked . . .

    “Beth was blue.

    Her fingernails had the faintest lustre of it.

    As if they had been dipped in shadow.”

    Wonderful!

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  6. The form is your choice and I can see how it accentuates the disjointed nature of the thoughts. The emotion of being ‘strung out’ is well described and what a choice of a song to quote! Perfect.
    On the guy… better he left then than hang about and leave after more permanent links had been forged!
    BTW, Trellissimo is an English speaker (probably Welsh) and usually funny. He writes satire or goonish comedy. However, his comment here could be seen as negative .

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  7. Thanks for all your comments positive or otherwise. Please don’t think I am particularly sensitive regarding criticism (hell, I work as an editor and a writer for a living, I spend my working days being criticised) because I’m not. I can take most things, especially if I feel they are warranted. But over the past few hours I have received over 20 comments which were extremely nasty and vitriolic. Some of them came from Magpie Tales participants, some didn’t. I haven’t let them through the spam filter because they contained a lot of offensive language. The reason for them remains unclear but I feel under attack. I won’t be participating in Magpie Tales again. It’s a shame because I sold several of the stories I wrote from their prompts. But I hate trolls so much I’m done with writing prompt sites. As they say in ‘The Dragon’s Den’ – “I’m out.”
    Such is life on the interwebs…..

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  8. I enjoyed the story and liked the way you expressed it, both verbally and in the layout. I felt it added to the atmosphere of sadness. Criticism is sometimes well-meant and sometimes not. It is easy for me to tell you to ignore it, but why should you withdraw from participating because of it. On the other hand, if it were me, I would probably do just that…

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  9. I think this is a magnificent description of anxiety and depression – written by someone who understands those states. The form is somewhat alternative (cutting edge I would say) and that is not a bad thing – it is, like much of your work, poetic – flowing with the emotions, rather than be stiltified by form. These writer prompt sites are often just a glorified way to link blogs and increase traffic – I don’t think you need them as you are a brilliant writer Selma.

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  10. Well, Selma, I can’t see what the fuss is about! I came back for another look and read all the comments again (that you let through) and yes , there are a few that were less than complimentary and even a couple that suggested change, but compared with much of what I read and can’t find anything to say because it is so unremarkable (that attracts scads of commentary clap trap) yours is a masterpiece! Cheer up and remember what Liberace said! 🙂

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