This isn't exactly a fiction story. It's more of a thought that flitted through my head and asked to be written.
I was thinking about stories as the word applies to buildings and was reminded of what I used to believe. I decided to finally look the word up and see how it related to the stories we tell. Below the break line you will see where that took me.
When I was a Little Thing and simply accepted ideas as they came, I believed that the stories of buildings were called so because each floor had its own story to tell. The people inside of it each day were the characters though sometimes the walls and furnishings of a room could also be the characters. The little dramas, the history of it all...it all told a story if you knew how to listen.
Being a sober-minded child, not of my own accord, I listened with great care. The stories came to me in floods, in drips, in faint overwhelming touches like walking into a thick fog. No one really bothers to hold their tongues around children, especially quiet ones, so I heard more stories than I knew what to do with. And I stored them all until I was full of stories and could start to see the patterns in life.
Nothing was very new after a while, but I loved how the familiar stories were played out, how each new character seemed to believe they were the first one to experience this plot, this location. Only I knew they were not alone in it. I wanted to tell them so, but people listen to children less than they hold their tongues.
Even as I grew, I loved the feeling of new places, hoping they had new stories for me. I loved looking around people's rooms for glimpses of the familiar which would tell me so much more than they would say. How carefully arranged pieces of themselves and their personalities would could be found in the room around them. The stories were never ending.
It wasn't until I as a bit older that I thought to look at what words meant. Words, you see, were important to the stories of people. I could call someone upbeat and it would invoke a certain feeling inside whereas calling them joyful would make you feel differently.
Etymology, I soon learned, was what I began to embark upon. It was through this learning that I found my Little Self wasn't far wrong about the stories of buildings.
Middle English storie, from Medieval Latin historia narrative, illustration, story of a building, from Latin, history, tale; probably from narrative friezes on the window level of medieval buildings
Narrative friezes didn't exist in too many places any longer but the feeling was still there in how we decorated every room. The staging could surprise you sometimes or be blank enough to leave you wondering how many actors strutted upon that particular stage before leaving.
You would think all of this intimate knowledge of the stories we accidentally tell would make me cautious about my own narrative. You would be wrong. So few knew how to read the stories that it didn't matter. I could tell my own mood by looking around at the empty coffee mug left on the table or the book peeking out from beneath the couch, but who else could? Who else cared about what was being said without words? Who else bothered to wander around my unconscious story?
To one who reads the world, who can see what isn't said, who hears the stories not voiced, not having your own story read makes you lonely in an overpopulated world. If you're very lucky, you find someone who cares enough to ask even if they don't have the talent for reading. Sometimes that is enough. Other times you pen the words in the hopes of making someone else see.
"Look!" You yell on the paper. "Can't you see this? Can't you hear? I'm making it as plain as possible!"
This does not always work, for even if you put it in black letters on white paper, there is no guarantee you will be read or understood.
The best you can do is continue to listen, look for those whose stories you love hearing and move closer to that narrative. For those who can indeed read the unspoken histories, dramas, romances and comedies of everyday life, you can choose the story to which you wish to belong. Despite your knowing it, you will still tell your own. Someone is reading it. Perhaps a quiet child. Make your story worth reading. Make your life worth telling. In the end, that is all anyone can do.
My lofty dreams of being a famous & brilliant writer were literally smacked out of my head. Now I plan to fill the void with copious amounts of subpar writing!