This was the first piece I wrote that pushed me to move forward. The first version was merely a skeleton, fast passed with barely a description. I showed the piece to my partner and he ripped it to shreds. Explained what didn’t make sense and why, explained what was good and bad about the piece. Really helped me to see, to understand my work and the potential it had. Another two versions later and this is what you get. A piece I’m truly happy with.
The rattling windows and flashes of light breaking the darkened sky was in no way helping to ease his troubled mind.
“She’s almost convinced me, that I don’t actually love her… and now I don’t know what I feel.”
His eyes darted about the room, the lava inside heated rapidly ready to surface at any moment. He could feel the pressure building, knew he was losing control and yet he continued on with attempting to calm the raging storm. Breath, no, that wasn’t going to work.
The molten rock continued to bubble and burst, he snapped forward, clenched his gut and tightened his eyes shut. A wash of light air filled his mind and so he chose to sit, bracing himself with a widespread hand, he untangled his knotted body and pushed back. Took a breath and slid down the wall as he exhaled, his skin scraping against the ridged wall. The cold dusty floor was a welcomed familiarity and brought a grounding effect to his body.
He tucked his knees in close.
The storm erupted within, he clenched his fists, tugged the rusty follicles sprouting from his thickened skull. Pushed his palms deep into his sunken eye sockets, took a breath and tried to still his shaking limps.
He continued to entangle each finger around another weaving a flesh barrier before ripping them apart.
He’d spent too many moments deciphering his own emotions. Carefully and precisely labelling them, containing them in their different coloured boxes. Placing pictures and memories which reflected each emotion in the very same boxes. He only opened them when he was ready to deal with the effects they had on him. Even believed he’d come to understand them, control them, but now it felt as though the boxes had been ripped open and strewn across the vast ocean of his mind.
He never once contemplated what effects another’s emotions could have on his own and he didn’t know how to catalogue them and place the individual pieces back inside. He was falling in a whirlwind of memories on a cold autumn day.
He opened his long-lashed lids and glanced up with his warm desert eyes towards the stoic Craig, who’d been watching him through his episode, unsure of how to aid in alleviating his pain.
Daniels eyes pleaded, his brows furrowed and lifted slightly, his soft thin lips drew close.
Craig looked away, towards a commotion further down the hall in the kitchen, racked his eyes along the wall, up to the ceiling and down again towards Daniel who’s face hadn’t changed in the moments Craig had taken to shuffle his words into the right order before letting them pass firm lips.
“Kate just doesn’t want to be abandoned.” Yes, that was right no one wanted to be abandoned, unfortunately, some had felt this more than other. “It’s easier for her to convince others they dislike her, even hate her. Saves her from being hurt. It’s easier for her to cope with a small amount of pain now rather than a large amount later.”
Daniel’s brow furrow deepened and his nose crinkled, “That’s no way to live.” Is that what Kate really thought, how could anyone think in such a fashion? Surely not. He realised this was a thought far from his own. Did he have to create more boxes and what colour would they be? If they came from someone else should they be the same or different, or maybe a different shade? Yes, they could be brighter or duller than the ones he’d chosen for his own.
He was pulled back from his thought process when Craig agreed, “It’s irrational, but what proof does she have which will convince her it can be any other way?”
Daniels’ stomach rose, his cheeks lightened, drawing his lips up and his eyelids opened wide, his eyes appeared all the more bolder. “I can.” He spoke with conviction, Craig noticed the sparkle in his eyes, the sudden charge towards positive energy and he did not like it one bit.
The image of a potential future filtered through Craig’s mind, and all he could see was pain. His stomach tightened and his chest twanged. For his own sake, he had to make sure Daniel saw reason, otherwise the feelings would continue and the repeat scenarios would plague his mind.
“Are you sure you want to?” Craig watched the cogs turning within Daniel’s mind before he continued, “It’s gonna be a hard slog. Think about it, carefully, before you commit.”
Daniels’ lips dipped, his shoulders turned in and rounded, his head dropped down. Craig finished with, “You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.” Before leaving Daniel to his own thoughts.
The words danced around Daniels mind, darting from one side to the other, tickling his imagination. He dared to dream he could be her saviour which brought a slight smile to his lips. The fog grasped at the pleasant memories evaporating all the colour and the rain washed them down the drain. His smile was quick to run away when he realised how unsure he was of Kates’ emotions.
Once he’d pushed aside the storm and let the light of a new dawn filter through his mind he made his way to her room.
Daniel stood within the door frame to Kate’s bedroom and waited for her to peer up and notice his gaze. He took note of the sketches strewn across the walls and wondered if Kate had drawn them all. Some were mere murmurings of lines of which he had to stare at for far too long before the images came to life.
There wasn’t much to the room, the images brought life, but the rest was devoid of an inspiring world. The bland carpet only made tolerable by the bed which took up most of the space. The purple blanket draped across the bed looked comfortable and inviting. The only other piece of furniture in the room, that just fitted between the bed and wall, was a timber shelf filled to the brim with books, and a black metal lamp facing the bed.
The window was ajar, the breeze sweeping the lace curtain into the room. A small pendant refracting dancing light across the ceiling and along the walls.
Kate glanced over and her lounged posture became ridged. “Just answer one question for me. You don’t have to answer now,” Daniel fumbled on his words, “Just… be sure before you do,” And took a breath before asking, “Do you want to be saved?”
Her eyes instantly welled, her lips began to tremble and Daniel’s heart leapt out of his chest when he thought she was going to say no, but to his surprise, she whispered, “Yes.” Stood up from where she’d been reading, let the book slip through her fingers, lept over and embraced him.
Her soft body filled the gaps between his ridged skeleton. Her fingers barely touched their tips as she wrapped herself around his body. He lent in, scared she would rapidly change her mind and back away.
The shock reverberated through Daniel and so did her warmth. Kate was a petite girl with a big heart which had been beaten and battered, and yet there was a glimmer of hope. The glimmer sparkled, wrapped around his soul, tugged at his tendrils. She deserved to be loved and Daniel swore to be her one.
Copyright © Stephanie Johnston 2018 All Rights Reserved