The Glass Ceiling

worm s eye of white and black inside basket

Photo by Pixabay on

No, it’s not quite as bad as the elevator trip – at least  this time I can see the sky; last night the stars were amazing, so many, so brilliant. In the city we barely see them, never mind gazing in awe and wonder at their brilliance against the velvet dark.

 I suppose I usually find something to appreciate, no, not when it was me, midwinter naked, in Central Park. That was the all-time worst.

No food here, but at least it’s not cold, not cosy either, and I shall get cold if I don’t stir myself and get out of here.

I think of the times I’ve found a spider trapped in the slippery sided bath and made it an escape route up the bath mat, carefully leaving the room to allow it time and courage to make it up the side and over.

I need someone to lend me a means of escape but I know from experience no one will help me. I’m on my own.

Even if I managed to scale the walls, even if I could get up to the top, how would I get out? It looks unbreakable : I would just break my hands.

I lie down on the cold floor; I gaze at those wonderful stars. In the extreme quiet I am suddenly aware of a soft sound, a sort of scamper. It’s a mouse, sleek and brown. It’s looking at me, no hint of fear, just a mild interest in this strange visitor.

Where on earth did it come from?

Excitement rises in my throat – even the possibility of a mouse hole is a road to hope in this place. I start to really look, scour the place for the slightest break in the walls. The Mouse is watching me.

Suddenly it scampers behind me and disappears; I spin round trying to see where it’s gone. No sign.  But then its little face appears, whiskers aquiver. Still I cannot see an entrance. I push at the wall beside this curious little beast and suddenly it crumbles! It crumbles like ancient plaster, falling thickly upon the hard floor where it settles in heap upon heap as I watch, fascinated. Clouds of dust rise all around me settling on my head, my shoulders, my whole body. I cough and cough, spluttering at the dry choking in my throat, but I don’t care:  I am stunned at what I see through the clouds of thinning dust, something so banal, so commonplace yet to me, at that moment, better than any treasure.

Dear little mouse, thank you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you, “wee sleekit timorous beastie” ­– you have given me the way up and away, you little hero! And I gently lift the tiny corpse and hold its whiskery face to mine before I reach for the glorious extendable ladder, seize the hammer and stride out to break the glass ceiling.

Author: Judith

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