I’m not sure where the beginning is, if it started when I was seven years old, or if it started long before I was born. I just remember when I first noticed it, the glass case. We were playing with Sarah and everything seemed muffled. I could hear you guys and see you right next to me, but the sounds were muffled, like listening to a conversation through a window. You guys looked different too. I could see you right next to me but you seemed distant, going about your lives and not seeming to notice me much anymore. I don’t know if it was already there or if that was just the first time I noticed it, but it stayed there.
And so I grew up in the glass case, feeling separated from everyone with no way to feel them or them to feel me. Sometimes people would stop by and visit me. They would talk to me through the glass, but they never got close, they couldn’t; it was impossible. I would watch them from inside, see what made them laugh, what made them happy. I would smile when they smiled, and I’d pretend I was with them, but I couldn’t go. Where did this glass case come from and why can’t I figure out how to get out of it? It was so lonely in there. I just wanted to be close to someone. I wanted them to look into my eyes and see me without a foggy window in the way. I wanted to feel their skin, their warmth, their heart, and I wanted them to feel mine, but I couldn’t get out, so I imagined instead.
I imagined what is was like to have a best friend, someone who wanted to spend all of their time with me, and I with them. People grew older and seemed to grow more distant, so I began to imagine harder. I’d pretend I was out there and I was different. I’d pretend that I had a lot of friends and that I made everyone happy. I’d pretend I was funny and pretty and smart. I’d pretend that someone could fall in love with me. But then someone would bump against the glass and not even notice I was inside, and it’d wake me from my daydream. I’m going to die alone in here.
Years passed and the glass yellowed and it was harder to see out. I stopped bothering to look, it was pointless. Everything was pointless. I was an artifact on display that no one was interested in, cursed to remain there forever, until I was completely forgotten. I was 15 years old and I was over it. If death was the only way to get out, then that’s what I wanted. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do anything in there. So I had to stay there, wanting to die and not being able to, wanting to live and not being able to either.
Then I heard a tap on the glass and I turned to see a girl looking in. She was looking right at me, and she was smiling. She waved and I hesitated, and slowly waved back. She smiled again and darted off, and I went back to my daydreams. The next day she came again and she waved, and I waved back, but she kept waving. I looked harder and saw that she was beckoning me to come to the glass. I was confused, why was this happening? Why was someone suddenly interested in a rotting soul in a molding display case? I was afraid, but I was drawn in. There was something warm about her, and it was so cold in there, I couldn’t help but get up and go to her. I walked up to the glass and she came right up to me, her face directly facing mine. She looked at me, right into me, it was as if the glass wasn’t there and I suddenly felt naked and uncomfortable. I looked down, but I could still feel her looking at me, trying to see me, trying to figure out who I was and what I was doing in there. I finally got the courage to glance up and meet her eyes again. You’re very pretty, she said. And then she smiled and left.
I didn’t know what to think, or how to feel. I didn’t believe her, of course, but what had possessed her to make her want to say that to me? What did I do to deserve someone saying something nice to me?
She came back the next day again. This time she sat right up to the glass and coaxed me to come to her. She told me her name, and she asked mine. Then she asked me what I was doing in there. My face flooded with embarrassment and shame, because even though I had no idea how I got in there and had no idea how to get out, I felt that it was my fault. I’ve always been in here, I answered, I didn’t realize people could see me, or see this. Can you get out, she asked. I don’t know, I don’t think so, I’m not sure, I answered, no one’s ever talked to me about it before. I want to see you out here, she said, so I’m going to try to get you out.
The next day she came with a sledgehammer; she wasn’t subtle about anything. She swung away at the glass but it would barely chip and crack with each blow, but she kept at it. She would come day after day and swing away, and I would watch her, in awe and confused at why anyone would go to such lengths to help me escape.
Then came the final blow. She had been at it for months and at the last hit, a spiderweb of cracks covered the case and then it exploded into millions of tiny shards falling to the ground. I stood there, in the middle, completely frozen in fear. She stepped over the piles of glass and came to me. She took both of my hands in hers and she looked straight into my eyes and then kissed me.
It was overwhelming. The warmth of having another body so close to yours, the softness of her lips enhanced by the gentle wet caresses of her tongue, feeling her breathe on me, smelling her skin and feeling her warm hands cradle my face as pure emotion and love poured out of her and into me, filling me like I had never imagined in my lonely daydreams.
When she stopped, she took my hand and slowly lead me out. I could smell the fresh air and feel the breeze against my skin and I felt so many emotions that I never knew existed. Thrill. Excitement. Fearlessness. Lust. Confidence.
As I stepped out of the rubble of my glass case, I felt a new creature awaken inside of me.