AN: This is a short story, and it is in a male's point of view. Just thought I'd let you know.
When I was a young boy, I lived with my father in a small boarding house. He had run the house since he, himself, was a man of just twenty years.
Within the narrow-halled boarding house, there stood a large patio. And in this patio, which paradoxly sat inside the house rather than where it should have been, outside, there was a young girl. She was early in her years, much earlier than myself, and she always sat precisely in the middlemost square of the patio, in the middlemost part of the house.
It was as if the house itself had been built to sit around this young girl, and it revolved around her; for I had never seen this girl running elsewhere in the small boarding house, and nor had I seen her parents.
And so there I sat, curiously, one morning--for I had awoken especially early this precise morning--and I asked my father about the girl:
"Father, tell me, please, about the girl there. Is she alone all the time? Her whole life? Why does she always sit in the middle of the patio?"
"Why, son, she is a very special addition to the house. She has been here her whole life, yes, and she is indeed alone, for no one knows of her parents. She perhaps sits in that very spot so she can see the rest of the house and all of its occupants. Maybe that makes her feel not so alone."
My father's words touched something in me, something I wasn't sure of; so I sat in that spot for the rest of the day, watching the girl. This was the only day I had spent my whole time studying her; I found, under careful and close observation, that the young girl had acquired--and I'm not sure when or where she had acquired them--some nasty and brutal bruises and scars on her face and on her arms. And, under more calculation, I noticed that she had but one still, glistening tear on her cheek, unmoving and just.
Alas, this girl was still a mystery to me. I had known nothing of her, though I imagined everything about her: the soft flowing curls which ran to her small back; the ruffled bangs which hung and cast a shadow over her granite eyes; the look of deteriorating loneliness and yearning for something more than she had; the small bear that she held tucked beneath one arm and in the crease of her clothing; the sundress that she bore which had a torn bottom from being overworn.
Yes, everything about this young girl was beffudling yet surreal, morbid yet fantastic, and I had to know more. And so everyday, when I got up and joined the others for breakfast, or when I walked in the front door from school, I would pass by the young girl, smile, and discreetly look for more, hoping a revelation would come to me sooner or later about her whereabouts.
Time passed, and it seemed like the years had effected everyone, including myself, and excluding the young girl. For there she sat, still in her spot in the middle of the patio, clad in the same sundress, holding the same bear.
One day, when I was fifteen years of age, my father announced that he had sought an alternative career, and that we were moving. I had packed my things early, and had to wait on my father to finish, so I headed downstairs and to the patio, to say goodbye to the young girl. As I descended the stairs, I got a feeling deep in my gut that told me something, something I wasn't sure of.
And then I saw it; the patio, which paradoxly sat inside the house, rather than where it should have been, outside, and, for the first time in years, it was empty. I rounded the corner, thinking that, maybe, the young girl had moved as well. She was nowhere to be found. And so I crossed the room, onto the patio, and I stood where she had stood for so long; I looked outward, as she had for so long, melancholy as she was, and I understood why: she had to look at everyone else's life moving forward about herself, and she could never have the chance to do the same. She was alone, and she would always be that way. And now, now she was gone.
My father came down, then, and told me to hurry it along. I exhaled deeply, looked back one more time in hopes of spotting her, and saw nothing but the bare walls of the boarding house.
Years later, when I was a grown man, I returned to the boarding house, for no particular reason, and knocked gently on the door. And elderly woman greeted me, and saw me into the house. Once I was inside, I immediately made my way into middlemost part of the house, where the patio once sat.
Upon further investigation, I found that the patio was now adorned with ornate flowers and bushes, and in the middlemost part of the patio, where that girl had, for so many years, once sat, was a glass table. A feeling of shame and disappointment hastily found its way to me, and I found myself exiting the boarding house and going out into the garden.
I stopped dead in my tracks, took my hat off, and wiped a palm across my forehead as I gazed, surprised, outward. There, in the middlemost part of a rosebush, which was in the middlemost part of the garden, was the young girl. There she sat, untouched by time, and still as dazzling and sorrowful as she was so long ago.
I, for the first time in my whole existence, approached the tattered girl, and laid a hand on her teddy bear. The stone felt cold, empty beneath my fingertips. I glanced up and into her granite eyes. They, too, were cold, empty. Lifeless.
I shook off my feeling of grief for the girl, and thought good thoughts, and I said to her,
"Well, girl, at least now you get to see the sunrise. It's the most wonderful thing you could ever see. And you have friends out here, too: the birds, the trees, the gentle breeze. You shouldn't be too lonely now."
Once I felt content, I repositioned my hat on my head, walked back toward the french doors that led to the interior of the house, and I looked back one final time. The stone girl, who had always been so full of sadness and longing, seemed happy.