The Open Door


This is my short story for the English Literature Competetion in Dubai. The rules were to write a short story about ‘The Open Door”. I hope you enjoy. I would love some feedback to improve my writing:-

Mark was just another expat living in Dubai. Sixteen-years-old, brown straight hair that covered his forehead, bushy eyebrows paired with tired eyes, a thin nose and red lips that curved upwards. His lean body was embraced by grey, old fashioned clothes that contrasted his fellow students Hollywood clothes. Marks pale face was sprinkled with freckles and his fragile jaw line made other people see him as harmless and boring. Arriving at Dubai from his home country was not a pleasure for him. He felt lost; the huge, metallic skyscrapers surrounded him everywhere, immense shopping malls were just around the corner and streets were empty as people hid from the suns blistering rays. This was a far cry from the small community of a town from which he came from.

Mark was solemn and quiet; he wasn’t confident and lacked any sort of talent that ‘matters’ in the modern world. He wasn’t an athlete, an academic or a musician but what no one knew was that Mark had potential. His determination, hunger for achievement and his will to perfect everything made him the brightest star in the galaxy. Yet Mark was missing something; the key to unlock his uniqueness. The fine line that separated him from being just an average teenager to a talented young man with an extraordinary mind was yet to be drawn. Mark was yet to discover what his own mind contained.

When Mark was a child, just under five years old, his mother filed a divorce and he was soon left with his business man of a father who rarely came back home. To Mark that was the most upsetting part of his life; he had nothing to do on a daily basis other than school, propelling him to new heights of boredom and his father not being around either didn’t help his situation. Life became a routine for him- eat, study, sleep and start the cycle again the next day. Soon Marks’ life became dull and everything around him was on mute. Simply put- Marks’ life lacked colour, vibrancy and excitement. His social life was down in the gutter; he wasn’t exactly a bubbly character who could make friends in an instant and so he was of no interest to anybody and he wasn’t interested in anybody either.

One day Mark decided to take the long way back walking from school through some alleyways that appeared to be cracked, broken and old. Graffiti was scattered across these walls covering every inch of the grey that used to be there. It was rumored that the best graffiti in town was on these walls and surely it was the greatest. A spectrum of colours sprayed and dispersed and scattered onto every little corner of the dull alleyway, it was like living in a painting and Mark was in awe. Further onwards an old man with rugged old trousers, a scruffy shirt and a coat that lost its’ black dye was also admiring the work of art displayed in front of him. It seemed as if the man had been standing there for years and he turned his attention towards Marks’ lit up face. He said, almost demandingly “You ought to get yourself a paintbrush son” and immediately disappeared through the smoke and dust that was floating around.

Mark spent all his afternoons admiring the graffiti and soon wondered where the old man was. Mark never forgot what the old man said but he seemed more mad than wise and so Mark was hesitant about considering the old man’s ‘advice’. For once Mark decided to go with his gut and follow the old man’s advice but rather than picking up a paintbrush from the market a few days later, he picked up spray cans instead.

The very next day Mark ran straight after school to a different alleyway that was a few blocks down. This was his land, his territory of which he would claim by creating a work of art the world has never seen before. He started by picking out the baby blue can from his bag and that’s how it all started. Mark sprinkled, sprayed and scattered the baby blue onto the wall using his arms that swayed and swung; his hands created a show of its own. He looked like a magician and an artist mashed into one person- his movements were hypnotic and were all encouraged by instinct. Next was the bright, neon orange of which he spewed out as if the can was his wand. It was followed by bubblegum pink, majestic purple and golden yellow; all were equally patterned and spread across the wall.

Taking a step back, Mark admired what he pulled out of his hat- “Don’t back down” in bold spread across the wall. Mark wasn’t going to just do graffiti like the other random pieces he saw on the streets. No, he didn’t want it to be that pointless; he wanted to send a message. Mark wasn’t an outspoken person yet he felt the need to express himself, after all, he had a lot to say. Soon Marks’ work was in every hidden corner, wall or street. No one knew who it was sending out encouraging messages and words of wisdom and most importantly who made it look so beautiful. Shortly after, different people began to emerge with the same thoughts and ideas. It spread from broken down, old walls to buildings and parks, all were as attractive as ‘normal’ art.

For once, Mark was proud of something that he’s done. He was proud with the spark he created, proud about the confidence he was feeling and proud that he could apply the lessons he learnt through philosophy and art into his way of living and his characteristics. Most importantly though, Mark was proud that he did it all on his own, guided only by the words of a strange old man and his desire to create something that could influence people to change the world.

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