Wrapped Up Inside by Susan Gibb

Nadine was the odd child who liked layering clothes; kneesocks, tights and legwarmers sticking out from shirts and sweaters that fell almost to the edge of her skirt.

She liked gloves and sometimes wore them with mittens.

There were tams with tassels and saucer-like wide-brimmed hats, all topped with ribbons and sometimes a flower–even one that looked like a Bird of Paradise plant. Her hair underneath was long, very long, likely down to her hips but wound up in plaits and wrapped around her head like a crown.

Her mother thought she was cold. Her father just thought she was fat. Her brother bounced off of her running to the table, the TV, through the hallways in school. He thought it was fun, that she was quite funny. Unlike most brothers, he liked Nadine a lot.

She didn’t have many friends, most frightened away by the heaviness of a mood that matched her appearance. Dark, mistaken as sullen, she was a genius inside of her cave, mumbling out correct answers her teachers would need to bend forward to hear.

One night as Nadine was undressing for bed, laying out the pajamas and nightgown and socks and bedjacket that she would wear, she glanced in a mirror. The mirror reflected her room and her bed, her clothes in a pile on the floor, but somehow, she wasn’t there.


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Filed under Susan Gibb

15 responses to “Wrapped Up Inside by Susan Gibb

  1. How well-developed, Susan, and how sad too. I loved the description of all her layers and the way she buried herself beneath the until that’s all she was.

  2. Excellent– from start to end.
    I like this: “She liked gloves and sometimes wore them with mittens.”

  3. Alexandra Pereira

    Yes! I agree with Matt and Michelle. :-) I also like the way you explained how her parents described her… “Her mother thought she was cold. Her father just thought she was fat.”

  4. Thank you, folks. Nadine became real, layer by layer, as she drew herself in my head.

  5. So sad. I like how the clothes seemed to define her…

  6. Oh goodness I can picture this girl so clearly, and the family scene. Quite sad and beautiful, Susan.

  7. wow, loved that whole leading up to a magical ending. nadine’s very real to me now. great writing.

  8. Roberta Lawson

    Brilliant, Susan. Especially liked “heaviness of a mood that matched her appearance” and “genius inside of her cave.” Great characterisation, great writing.

  9. Wonderful characterization. This reads to me like a Grimm fairy tale, rich like a tapestry, tinted crimson. Beautiful. Peace…

  10. Beautiful! Lovely character, great writing. She stays in the mind. Thank you.

  11. guy

    I guess she got what she wanted.

  12. Catherine Davis

    Wonderful, wonderful. Love Nadine from her knee-socks to her wound plaits. Yes, very, very real. She seems mysterious and elusive to me rather than sad, and I especially enjoy how her brother likes her and thinks she is funny. This reminds me of Jane Bowles – high praise.

  13. Susan this is a fabulous story! What an ending, jeez… Really amazing study of this family, and girl

  14. Pingback: Week #42 – Under wraps | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  15. Great story,. Loved how her wrappings became ‘her’. You never cease to amaze.

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