Plain Jane – Part One

I’m trying something new here today and sharing a little something that I’ve been working on. Hope you like it…

-Shan

Jane was the type of girl who after meeting her, you would have a hard time recalling what she looked like. She wasn’t unpleasant to look at, in fact one might even call her delicate features pretty, but she didn’t flaunt her looks. She dressed conservatively, wore no makeup and her straight brunette hair was always brushed back and held out of her green eyes with a thin headband. At social gatherings she usually faded into the background and became invisible, that’s if the host or hostess had remembered to invite her at all, or if Jane attended at all (she rarely attended, and rarely did anyone notice).  At work she always arrived promptly at 8am, and left promptly at 5pm. She kept her desk tidy and sparsely decorated. In fact, the only sign that anyone worked in the space was a small potted plant placed next to the phone, and her beige sweater hanging on the back of her chair as she had a tendency to get cold. Her work was always satisfactory, never falling below expectations, but never exceeding them either. One of her superiors once gave her the feedback on her performance appraisal that he would like to see her “step out of her comfort zone” and “take on new challenges”. In the comments section she wrote, “I fail to see how this has bearing on my current work performance, I either meet expectations or do not.” Her supervisor, realizing that Jane was not the type to ever stretch her wings so to speak, decided that Jane was one of those rare individuals who are completely at ease in the role they are in, and actually took comfort in the fact that what he had on his hands was a dependable, plain, Jane.

Jane’s small studio apartment was always clean, furnished with exactly enough furniture for one, all of which was some shade of white or beige. Like her desk at work, there were only a few signs that her apartment was actually lived in. In one corner, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf was crammed with books, mostly paperback fiction, their spines creased, revealing the wear and tear of multiple reads. Next to the bookshelf was a small armchair, over the back was draped a beige blanket. An almost permanent fixture on the chair was Whiskey, Jane’s cat, named not for any preference for the libation (Jane didn’t drink), but for his deep orangey-gold color (the cat was one of the few colorful items in the apartment). In the bathroom, her toothbrush and toothpaste were placed neatly next to the sink.

At the age of 32, Jane had never been in a relationship, had never been kissed, and had never had sex. She had no friends or social acquaintances outside of work (if you could call her coworkers acquaintances), although she did have one Aunt she was close to, who she visited at the retirement center every Sunday from 1-3pm. Looking at her, one might think that she was the kind of person who had let life pass her by, either on accident or on purpose.

The fact that she had no friends or romantic partners did not bother Jane. In fact, she quite preferred it that way. People were conundrums to Jane, and she chose to avoid them whenever possible.

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