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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > July 2016 > Under the microscope

Under the microscope

Author and lecturer James McCreet puts a reader’s young adult novel under the lens

The Glass Man

Today was going to be different to all other days that week;1 it’s just that no one in the bank knew it at that moment. 2

Queues in orderly fashions3 made their way4 down the roped off lines in due time5, like a metronome ticking along minutes and hours of money6 being checked off and in7 by people in the local town.8 A cashier, Maureen, sat and looked at the clock constantly. She played games in her head to count down until lunch.9 Lunch – that sacred time when you could have thirty (or, if a manager forty five) blessed minutes to yourself.10 That time when you were the envy of all other staff members;11 you had that ‘free time’ they all prayed for each minute of the day whilst ticking and stamping, sealing and opening various paperwork12 until their own moment of pure, unadulterated selfishness13 in the form of ‘lunch’.14 Maureen smiled at each customer:15 she meant it, she was a good worker,16 but inside she was thinking of what to say to her husband that night.17 She wanted a divorce.18 She was thirty two, he didn’t want kids but had neglected to tell her that when they married three years earlier.19 Her friends told her to get an annulment; he had lied before marriage.20 She wanted to hate him but she couldn’t - they’d never discussed kids so she couldn’t really hold his choice against him.21 It just ate away at her, her core that wanted a family,22 family values, the dinner for four at a kitchen table with a dog mischievously wagging his tail waiting for seconds;23 the baby crying for milk and the young son or daughter looking constantly on the edge of nervousness like all youngsters do, as though always waiting for bad news.24 She worked hard and earned decent money; she wanted a life for it.25 She wanted more than “Lunch Maureen, your turn. Come on hop to it!”26

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