The draft of a short story in which there are three metaphors and three alternative beginnings.


1: The tray-table rattled and he swore under his breath. Had he the time, tools, and motivation, the rattling tray-table would have been subject to his investigation. However, seeing as he had none of these elements necessary to fixing the tray table, he remained silent, seething. The rattling continued. He was, if you have not already deduced, on a plane. (The plane is a metaphor. The tray table is not a metaphor). He liked flying. Of all the man-made machines that aided one from point A to B, he liked flying the most. He liked the fleeting tranquillity; the thundering inertia; the suspended ambience. He liked how his thoughts floated above the clouds, and then vanished as if caught in a web or a net.


2: The man was very recently twenty years old, although he told people he was twenty-four. He also told people his name was Desmond and that he slept with a blank canvas next to his bed. ‘Who are you?’ people would ask him. ‘I am Desmond. I’m twenty-four and I sleep with a blank canvas next to my bed’, he would respond curtly. They would look at him, bemused. He liked that. (The blank canvas is a metaphor. That he lies about his name and age is not a metaphor). Currently he was on a plane. He was either escaping or chasing something. He hadn’t decided which. That morning he had woken up with a drastic and immediate need to leave – a sense of terminal urgency. He was sure this sudden need to leave had something to do with her.


3: He was 30,000 ft. above sea level and hopelessly in love. The woman he loved – who, strictly speaking, only exists in his mind – had dark brown hair and warm, hazel coloured eyes. (She is a metaphor. His being 30, 000 ft. above sea level is not a metaphor). She had long legs and small breasts and a racy kind of intelligence. She loved him back. He had wanted to paint her for a long time – to bring her to life. He wanted to paint the wavy hair and gentle eyes which he saw so perfectly. For years his brush had hovered over the white canvas, which, still white, rested next to his bed. He was scared. Scared to paint her eyes uneven; scared to mix the wrong shade of brown for her hair; scared to make her breasts too big and her eyelashes too long. He was scared to ruin her; scared to ruin something that was, in his mind, perfect. His eyes rested upon the tray-table in front of him, which had been rattling for most of the flight. Something stirred within him.