The Perfect Disguise

This short story is from one of the talented members we have at our forum :o) http://www.weboffriends.co.uk/forum/

This is a story about depression and how those who suffer from it feel a constant need and/demand to hide it from society.

The Perfect Disguise

Billie was out with a plan this morning. Her stride had purpose to it as she marched down the high street past all the shops and stores she passed every other day. Yet this morning they all seemed new and mysterious as though one of them might hold the elusive answer to her quest. Her gaze even lingered slightly longer on the windows of the brightly coloured trendy places where all the cool kids shopped. But she soon moved on again. The answer definitely wasn’t in there.

She wasn’t quite sure what made her turn down the little alley. Maybe it was the way the sun passed straight over it, leaving it dark and mysterious. Maybe it was the old fashioned phone-box sitting at the corner. Or maybe it was they way her eyes were drawn to the broken cobbles lining the ground. The alley looked like it belonged in the Victorian times. It was bleak and primitive and yet somehow comforting to her.
But whatever it was that lured her into the damp-smelling street, it was forgotten as Billie wandered further from the busy, bustling noise of the High Street. This place seemed to have no sound. No breeze. No birds flew overhead. It was almost like she had stepped out of time itself.

Very soon she found herself staring into the window of a quaint little shop window with no sign or name on the door. She cupped a hand over her eyes and peered into the gloom within, but could make out only dim shapes and shadows.

“Can I help you, my dear?”

Billie jumped in shock, her heart leaping in her chest and her tummy bubbling butterflies. She didn’t know why but she felt like she’d just been caught stealing candy, like a naughty little child.
She hadn’t even heard the old man come out of the shop. She opened her mouth to reply, but found herself staring at him in astonishment.
He was small and stooped, like any old man should be, and yet there was a sparkle in the gentleman’s blue eyes that held her gaze. He wore brown trousers and shoes with suspenders and a dark brown cardigan over a pale green shirt. It was like he’d been plucked out of a story book. Such a perfect little old man.

She found herself returning the smile he offered warmly and sincerely.
“I’m looking for something.” she said, suddenly remembering that he had asked her a question.
“Oh, well you must come inside and see if I have anything you’d like.” he said enthusiastically.
In any other situation, Billie would have kindly thanked him and left. But instead she smiled and moved forward as he motioned to the doorway. He pushed the door open, which creaked on its ancient hinges in an alarming manner.
Why didn’t the door make such a racket when he came outside? she wondered to herself.

As Billie stepped into the room beyond she was immediately greeted by the odor of old dust, like the smell of really old books: decaying paper and old tobacco. She found it oddly welcoming. As the old man followed her into the shop she caught a whif of his scent. He smelt of pipe smoke and humbugs, just like her Grandfather. There was something about the smell of pipe tobacco that always made her feel comfortable.

“Now, my dear, what sort of thing are you looking for?” the old man rattled beside her in his croaky yet mellow tones.
“I’m…” she trailed off to gaze around the store. It reminded her slightly of the shop in the old cartoon “Mr Ben”. Or rather it was the life-like version of what she imagined the animated costume shop would look like. It was full of racks and rack of clothes, old and new, bright and dark, of every style, fashion and time period you could think of. Some looked like they belonged in Shakespeare plays, others like they were pantomine clothes. Others looked like the clothes they wore in the sixties or seventies.

“Yes my dear?” promped the old man, patiently. She turned and smiled apologetically.
“Sorry. I am looking for a disguise.” she said simply.
“A disguise? What kind of a disguise?” he asked thoughtfully, looking around the shop as though searching for some inspiration.
“One so that no one would recongise me.”
“I see.” he said stroking his chin. “And don’t wou want people to recognise you, dear?”
Bille stopped for a moment, trying to pull together her explanation properly.
“People don’t like me. If I wear a disguise they won’t recognise me. So they might like me.” she explained.

The old man regarded her uncertainly.
“That is a strange reason to want a disguise.” he said, sounding surprised. She turned to look at him questioningly.
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, dear, if people like you when you wear the disguise, surely it is the disguise they like. They do not truly like you.”
Billie stopped and thought about this for a moment.
“I do see what you mean. But I am so lonely. I’d rather have friends who only like the disguise I wear, than no friends at all.”
The old man shrugged sadly.
“Very well my dear. Now then let’s see what we have…”

To be continued…

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2 Responses to “The Perfect Disguise”

  1. 1 Janet1954
    August 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I have read this story, and it is so true, it is a disease with many faces, and not to many people are aware of the affects it has one a person’s life, this story is FANTASTIC….and wtg for writing it so well..Thank you for sharing.

  2. 2 weboffriends
    August 4, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Wow I just love this story will def be going into forum to read the rest of it.

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