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It was one of those houses dropped on the corner of the street, squeezed so tightly by the ones on either side that it was hardly noticeable. It was one of those houses where the hot water never ran out in the winter and the air conditioner never broke down in the summer. All of the neighbours in the similarly shaped houses, although never perfectly identical, shared gossip and brought over casseroles and generally pretended to like each other until the door closed and the lock clicked and their sincere thoughts on the daughter’s new husband came to light. It was a neighbourhood with the level of superficiality one could usually find in the suburbs.

I was drawn right in.

There was something about the idea of having a comfortable little life, a quiet life where I would often be alone and always lonely, that somehow appealed to me. It’s easy to be lonely; all you do is turn on the TV or open a good book and it goes away. I could never sit around feeling sorry for myself in a house as warm and welcoming as that one, and I didn’t plan on being alone for very long. To me, that house was a symbol, the promise that after a home in the suburbs would come the faithful husband, the stable job, and the laughing children and grandchildren. This was the first step.

I carried in the boxes myself and dumped their contents on shelves that, crowded with blank picture frames and trinkets, still seemed empty to me. I struggled to put together the bed and plug in the fridge, and the neighbours soon came in with their casseroles with which to fill it up. They asked me prying questions that I answered awkwardly and pretended not to notice how hard I was trying to like them. They waved cheerily when the door closed and the lock clicked and my smile collapsed into an exhausted sigh that I tried to ignore. I went back to work the next morning.

Life went on. In the evening, when I got home from work, I took hot showers for so long I couldn’t tell a minute from an hour. On the weekend, I went to my neighbours’ dinner parties and barbecues and made friends with the smiles etched so deeply into their faces that I wondered if there were such a thing as jaw massages. The nights were the worst. In a bed too large for me, I sat up and waited all night for a husband to arrive. Anyone would do, really; I was in desperate need of a friend. A husband would be the sign that I had made the right decision in moving here, that all this nonsense would be worth it, in the end. A sign that my dream life, the one in a cottage on the edge of the sea knitting hats and slippers on a front porch, was on its way.

So, I waited.

Still, one can’t simply wait for something to happen. I realized one morning at 2:54 that no one was coming, so I grabbed my coat and drove into the city. The blinding lights were a wake up call for me. Barely shading my eyes, I drove around, basking in the neon signs that lit up like a trail I was supposed to follow. I’d always preferred superficial light to superficial people. Sitting on a park bench, I ate sushi out of a box until sunrise, when the night owls pass out and the early birds stretch their wings. There was a strangely peaceful hour after the drunkards staggered home and before the suits marched to work. When I stepped back into the car, shivering, it was 6:32.

My little excursions into the city became increasingly frequent, as I rediscovered my old haunts and even some old friends. However, I spent most of my time alone, admiring the differences between this skyscraper jungle and the suburbs I called home. I wandered around, strolling down the streets, going farther and farther until at last, I saw it.
It was absolutely nothing like I had ever known; tall, dark, almost looming. Balconies hung from it like words from lips, and I thought to myself, “That’s the one.”

An apartment building, surrounded by a bakery, a thrift shop, a Chinese restaurant, and a library. A man was opening the door.

Hurrying up to him, I asked, “I’m sorry, but do you know if there are any apartments for rent in this building?”

“I don’t think so,” came his reply. “You should call the landlord.”

I did. He told me a lady on the top floor was moving out in the next months, and that he was still looking for a tenant.

Packing up my boxes once again, I left the empty shelves on the empty walls looking even emptier than they had before. I took my bed apart and unplugged the fridge, and the neighbours threw me a half-hearted goodbye party, promising to write and suggesting I come over some time for dinner. I politely agreed, then promptly lost their number and changed my email address. I gave them back the pots I had always been too scared to return, thanked them for the casseroles, and when the door closed and the lock clicked, I smiled, knowing there would be no more hopeless waiting.


It was one of those apartments that always felt too small, no matter which way you arranged the furniture. The hot water always ran out too quickly, and the washing machines in the basement were always full. Everything broke at the slightest provocation, and I quickly made friends with the plumber, the electrician, and the landlord. The neighbourhood was nice in the day, filled with little shops selling trinkets that were either inordinately expensive or insultingly cheap. The rate was high for murders and stolen hearts, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t need a doily-filled life or a crocheted misadventure.

One day, while I’m window shopping or browsing the bookstore, I’ll find him; tall dark, almost looming over me, and I’ll think to myself, “He’s the one.”
Thanks ~BDancinJones for choosing the title as part of a mini-contest I held.

I'd very much like a critique for this one; I'm thinking of submitting it to a print magazine. Any thoughts would be very welcome, really anything.

First draft: fav.me/d5vk3v9

Edit: My second DD! I'm so excited, thank you so much everyone for commenting, faving, and critiquing! You guys are the BESTEST.
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-09-28
:iconbdancinjones:
I have three main comments. My first comment is on the title; In Fair Verona is intriguing, but as I read I found myself wondering why the story was given said title. If the piece had named the town where the narrator lived as Verona even a single time, I think it would have been so much more satisfying: as it is, I felt a tad let down.

Second, I would like to comment on the pace; The story flowed slowly, seeming to drag on a tad at the beginning. I was waiting for the action, for some sign that the scene would come alive. Eventually, it seemed that events unfolded; were this an introduction to a novel, however, I would undoubtedly have more than enough patience for the set-up provided. Slightly subjectively, I suggest adding some actions in that description. One idea would to be to include the moving out of wherever it was the narrator lived before coming to the suburbs.

My third and final comment is to address the general quality of writing here, which is high. The language is interesting and the descriptions paint a vivid picture; to clarify the second comment next to this one, the piece doesn't have excess description, but perhaps lacks action. I particularly enjoy the flow of events, where in the narrator discovers the new place, one which as different as possible from her home in the suburbs, but retains the hopes and dreams that had driven them in that home.

Recap: Title is strange, intro needs action, but what action there is has potency and the descriptions are fantastic!
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
3 out of 3 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconspartanginger:
It was a very captivating piece; I couldn't tear my eyes away after the first sentence.

I put 5 stars for Vision, because I could almost taste the superficiality, safe-and-lonely, versus unsafe, and honest. The suburbian home's contrast with the squat apartment was done quite nicely. At first, I wondered why you told the reader about the reliable air conditioner, and the endless hot water, but when you tied in the unreliable apartment, I grinned. I liked the overall effect this piece had on me; it certainly made me thoughtful about the environment I live in. Also! the "tall, dark, almost looming." motif you used on the building, and then on her future husband, was sooooo perfect! When I noticed it I almost fell out of my seat. It was just a really, really cool parallel to me.

I put a safe, middle-of-the-road three stars on originality simply because I am a terrible judge of originality; I don't even know what I'm doing in that area. It wasn't cliche to me, and it wasn't brand new and shiny either. However, as I said, I am not a good judge of originality and do not trust myself in the area.

I gave you four and a half stars on technique because I was kidnapped by this story; I couldn't stop reading it, I think I like the line "I’d always preferred superficial light to superficial people. " best, -perfect repetition of 'superficial' in this piece by the way, just enough to make it stick out, but not enough to smother me- because it really seemed to perfectly show the character, and the core of the piece itself too.

Impact! man-oh-man, this was so much fun to read, I loved thinking about the questions it posed, I loved the main character from the get go. I loved how you described her neighbors; a perfect balance of murky and sharp to make them seem like people I even know; I could pin my own faces on them. I also adored the lines
"but I didn’t mind. I didn’t need a doily-filled life or a crocheted misadventure."
I love the bravery, and bluntness this character has~

"Sitting on a park bench, I ate sushi out of a box until sunrise, when the night owls pass out and the early birds stretch their wings. There was a strangely peaceful hour after the drunkards staggered home and before the suits marched to work."
WOW..That is one of the most perfect things to me. That moment you described just, ugh, I long for something like that. I won't even try to describe it as well as you did. but it was gorgeous. I crave moments like that line depicts.

It may not have been something you meant to do, but something that I took from this was an idea I've already held onto for a long time. That is that the world should not be so safe, and so luxurious with the absence of my own hard work to attain the comfort. I long for an adventure, not being tucked away so I can die of old age -safe and numb- but to at least live meaningfully, if not die that way too. I'd rather be unsafe and real, excited, and free: than safe, and trapped, surrounded by those hard smiles "etched" in jaws.

Anyway, that piece stirred up some of my thoughts about living on the edge when I finally grow up.

Overall, I thought it was totally marvelous and can't wait to eat up more of your writing. Today wasn't a rainy day, but I am glad I read it despite this fact.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
5 out of 5 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconja-mes:
Ja-mes Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Funny I should read this, as I myself am about to move into my first place. Well, my first place of my own, anyway.

Anyway, there's a fine story behind this. You've layered things perfectly, and I like the main character as much as I dislike the prying neighbours. Kind of reminds me of Edward Scissorhands a little bit.

Very nice piece! :D
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much! :hug: Oh my goodness, yes! That movie is so eerie. *shivers*

Good luck with your new place! (I hope it goes better than it does for the character in this story, ha ha!)
Reply
:iconja-mes:
Ja-mes Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Aww, thanks! :)
Reply
:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Professional Writer

Danielle, wow, I love this beyond words! The imagery, reflection, and observation are great ... the relatability ... the protag's sense of aimlessness ... the desire for belonging ... etc. Very well-written. <3

Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much! :heart:
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013   Writer
:+fav: A belated congrats on your DD. I enjoyed the protagonist a lot and your writing skills are impressive. Thanks.
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you, that's so nice of you to say!
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2013   Writer
:iconyourewelcomesignplz:
Reply
:iconuranus-seventhsun:
Uranus-seventhsun Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist
The vague triteness of suburbia, the immediate stimulus and details of inner city life masterfully executed. I dunno what there is to crit.  Congrats on the DD.
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks a bunch! :D I'm glad, then. I'd like to maybe publish this, someday. :)
Reply
:iconevranawolfsong:
EvranaWolfsong Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That is beautiful. I really enjoy the ideas you work with. That a man isn't just going to come on his own, that the nice places aren't always the best . . . and your last line is really fantastic too. I love how the title really ads to the whole piece - I think those are honestly the best kinds of titles.

The first house she was in felt very vague to me. That's not a bad thing necessarily - it just is. I felt like I had an immediate sense of the apartment she moved into - nicely done, by the way. The first one felt like a shell. And now that I think about it, that's really fitting.

I really enjoyed the premise of this, and the length felt just right. I think you have a great piece of writing here. Thank you for quite an enjoyable read!
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thank YOU for the wonderful comment! I honestly can't take any credit for the title. It was all ~BDancinJones, who's pretty good at coming up with good titles. :D I'm glad you liked it!
Reply
:iconevranawolfsong:
EvranaWolfsong Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You are very welcome! 

Haha, friends are awesome for that sort of thing 

:hug:
Reply
:iconcristinewakesuphappy:
cristinewakesuphappy Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
i have loved this story. before it was in fair verona. congratulations on the DD!:trophy:
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Yes, but I like this version better. (And this title. Thank you ~BDancinJones!) :P

Thank you!
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you!! It means a lot.
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconflyingheartsplz::iconsweethugplz::iconflyingheartsplz:
Reply
:iconscorpianakio:
ScorpianAkio Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
simply awe inspiring!
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you so much. :)
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
    Have a nice day! :heart:
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks! I hope your day is as good as mine! :heart:
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    My pleasure, thank you :happybounce:
Reply
:iconsmilingharrysyphilis:
You have told so many lives in your few lines (regardless of gender and orientation of teller).  Bravo!
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconredrevanna:
RedRevanna Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Student Writer
Congratulations! :)
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks! Tight Hug 
Reply
:iconaxe-cell:
Axe-Cell Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I wonder if anyone else noticed that extra 't' in this sentence "...felt too small, not matter which way...", on the first line of the second last paragraph of this prose.

Anyways, I like how you had played with the words of the title of this prose here. I mean, the two words – excluding 'Man' – are sometimes found in an brief advertisement that usually depicts something that we as human beings often desire to improve our quality of living. It's one thing to be exposed to a lot of advertisements to the point that one will roll their eyes upon hearing it, but it's another to use words alone to paint a story that describes how one feels before and after having purchased the product, only to find another alternative that can fulfill one's many criteria.
A well-written prose, miss. And congratulations on the Daily Deviation as well.
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you so much for catching that typo! I've had this piece beta-read about a thousand times, and no one's ever caught it! Congrats! :P

I'm getting a lot of compliments on the title, but I honestly can't take any credit for it. ~BDancinJones is the one who came up with it, not me. ;) He's pretty good at coming up with things like that.

Thank you! :hug:
Reply
:iconvanessanon:
Vanessanon Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Professional Writer
The writing style you have used is very captivating. You built an image of a familiar setting that if not lived, has been created often enough on TV that your creation quickly becomes real to all readers. 

It makes obvious the misconception that with the 'perfect house' comes the 'perfect' life. The things that go wrong in life, as can be seen, often cause more people to enter your life i.e the plumber, the landlord etc. Perhaps the character is still waiting for the same thing but she has no longer stopped living in order to wait for it. Finding a place that seems more true to her character, a place in a neighbourhood more full of character has given her an interesting life. An exciting adventure, a place to really 'live' and perhaps eventually too, the opportunity to find the thing she hopes for most, the man of her dreams. 
Well done.
Reply
:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you so much! I agree that you can't force your life into being something that it isn't. But if you stop trying and forcing it so much, you just might find what you were waiting for, in the end. Not to say that being lazy is a good idea, but good things come to those who wait, right? ;)
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