Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bittersweet

Now this story is a little bit down, maybe even depressing but I just got it back via email from my english lit teacher and she was pretty happy with it so I thought I'd post it.

Bittersweet
And she was upright, a cold sweat running off her temples like the ocean off a new yacht. Her heart thrashed against her chest like a caged spirit, desperate to get out.
She looked to her left and saw him, inside she smiled. His mouth was slightly open as though he were about to tell her the contents of his soul. The fitted, white shirt he wore to bed a stark contrast to her own, oversized shirt, his shirt.
The baggy shirt smelt to her like all she could ever need and want. Her own scent perfectly balanced with his. She could smell his life, his smoke and his friends. It comforted her.
Then she gingerly pulled back the covers on her side and with all the agility she could muster she grabbed a pair of jeans, maybe his, and flew downstairs.
The feel of the cold, rough kitchen tiles cooled her bed-induced heat, like a mother's hand to the forehead of her sick child. She pulled on what turned out to be his jeans and with her natural poise and elegance, strode over to the coffee machine and poured a large mug of black coffee - not that she needed stimulation - she never went to sleep, she couldn't sleep.
Then she walked to the far side of the old house's large conservatory, coffee in hand and stood. She imagined everyone waking up, how they felt and how many were happy.
Who knows how long she stood there, the coffee turned cold in it's mug, the sun rose and with the sun came people, people in cars and him. He silently worked his way over to her and pulled her into a spontaneous embrace. He knew how much she thought, he knew all about her past, everything except what she thought about. No one, not her therapist, her mother nor her oldest friend knew what she truly thought. Sometimes she herself didn't know what she was thinking.
Before she knew it she was dressed and on the train, today was special, unusual and she had waved goodbye and got on the tube willingly to go to work, for she knew it didn't matter, it wouldn't for much longer.

She laughed at the people around her, the overwhelming close-mindedness of them all, the self-obsession and the lies they were all wrapped up in. She felt sorry for them, pitied them and she laughed. They all thought she was mad, she knew she was but each other's evidence was starkly different.
The pills she took each morning and again at night to keep him happy, the cuts on her wrists, trips to the A+E with an overdose, all of them part-time solutions to keep her alive, to allow her to deal with the life she had been given. They were the coward's way out, the weak person's help with something they don't understand. That was how she felt everyday, weak and useless - pathetic, until today. Today was the day she sorted herself out once and for all.
If no one, not even herself, knew who she was then she saw no point in keeping everyone guessing. Had he not loved her, listened to her and protected her she would have slipped away long ago. As it was she clung on like a mountaineer on the edge of a never-ending ice shelf, terrifyed but thrilled.
At work it was all the same, comfortingly mundane. It was this over-whelming boredom that kept her alive, at least she could feel boredom - she wasn't gone yet, not that it would matter soon.
Six pm came, she walked up and up, flight after flight of stairs. Everything was perfect for the first time in her life, ever. The music, her life-saving pills, a blade and a photo.
When she reached the very top her heart mildly fluttered, like a resting butterfly on the Budlea. First she dropped the pills, watched them free-fall so slowly as though trapped in inertia. The music, their music filtered through her ears - completing her final moments. Then she cut and dropped the blade too, it spiralled down with drops of her blood with it, like cruel tears from her body.

The photo was her final image, ever. She looked, smiled and a solitary tear glided down her cheek, she didn't know whether it was a tear of sadness, or one of joy - maybe it was both. Then she closed her eyes, worked her way towards the edge to feel, only for a second the tranquility, stillness, happiness and the gentle breeze.
Then she leant, and fell, music played until the last moment when the ground made contact, her eyes opened.
The sun set that evening, beautiful as it ever was, maybe more beautiful than that last sunrise. That beauty hurt him so far down it scared him. He could not cry because he knew, in his heart that this day would come. The day she could stand no more, the day her strength finally evaporated - the day she was in danger of letting someone see her cry, a thing he knew she'd never do.
She still clutched the photo, her music smashed but he knew the playlist off by heart anyway, that day in the morgue - their final meeting he saw the photo and he left it with her, he had his own copy and he smiled. Suddenly he had clarity, he worried for her no more and knew exactly what he should do. He was serene. He knew how content she must have been in those last moments of her 25-year-old life.
Each time he saw fresh cuts, rushed to the A+E and brought her her pills he knew she was relinquishing control, slowly but steadily.

"No funerals" she once said, who knows why they were talking of funerals but there was no funeral. He took her ashes with him instead to the top of that building, his head as clear as he was sure it had ever been, as clear as the sea.
Her moment was recreated exactly, according to coroner's report and his knowledge of her, he changed only one thing and did everything else as he knew she would have.
But before he reached the place she ended he let her go, dropped the ashes into the oblivion. Then he cut his own wrist, just like hers, dropped the blade and looked at that picture, listening all the while to those sweet sounds. Then he fixed his half-open smile that he knew she watched in the mornings so often. He put on his fitted, white shirt and he too fell into love, down and down, forever falling. Just like her.

4 comments:

Nodders said...

Jesus Christ Niki, you really are good! I'm not kidding you, I wish I could have come up with something that impressive to hand in to Creative Writing. You're right, it was kinda depressing, but very touching. I think what struck me about it was you're balance beween storytelling and description. I usually get lost in one or the other, but somehow they both help each other in this. I'm looking forward to reading more...

Stagestruckgal said...

woah, a literary genius, publishing on a blog. try sending things to a real publisher. then you might get recognised more often! Just try the little ones at first, then if your stories/poems take off, head to the bigger ones like penguin. im not saying ive had experience, but thats what my line dance teacher did. his first book is being published by a small author in London. watch out for this kids story, its kinda deep! He is Paul Nivek - keep an eye open if you know small children!

Hmm, havent updated my blog in a while, dont really know what to write. all my stories are crap. might publish one, but it really isnt very good. its a fictional diary in war-time, so i might just publish a few bits a week. What dya reckon? Thnaks for the ideas Niki, but im not sure whether to do it or to let my blog die. what to do?

Niki said...

awww thanks guys! laura blogs should go on rocking, im not impressed with all these quitters. x x x

Stagestruckgal said...

the blog lives on.