|Sonata for a Lucid Dream
Author: Thetis of White Isle PM
There were many things pathetic about this life, but few things were as hopeless as being besotted--not in love--with a married man. There, she thought, I’ve dared to even admit it to myself.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Fantasy - Chapters: 3 - Words: 7,907 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 02-13-09 - Published: 01-13-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2621616
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
III. Presto - The White Room
There is a point for everyone, though some of us may deny it, a point where nothing more can be done, where people collapse under the weight that they are under. Everyone has it, and though his or hers will differ from yours, everyone has a breaking point. Many of us in life are fortunate to go without ever exceeding it, and never experience the devastating loss and pain that being broken will bring.
Hers came one autumn day, the night after she shook hands with her professor. It was something little, something which at first glance seemed trivial, but was simply the paper dropped on the staggering table that caused it to buckle, sending the stack of books, notes, and pencils tumbling down. It was in her concert band class, while she was trying (and failing) to set up the chimes for practice, and for one reason or another (she forgot in the aftermath what it was exactly) she sought help, and it was not given. The class all at once broke into whispers of mock-pity, mostly of, "Aw, poor baby."
"Stupid girl, she has no business--"
"Look at her, she's so tragic!"
That was normal. What hit her hard was that the teacher was watching all this happen, and was giving her a pitying smirk. Yes, teachers had laughed at the mocking jokes during the lunch period, but at least then they were specters that she didn't know. This was her own teacher who knew her, and still thought she was scum.
She had had it. Enough was enough. She walked out, and she was fairly sure that someone was sure to follow.
The girl wandered outside the building, and went upstairs. She was swaying and breathing heavily by this time, starting to panic. Why were they so persistent? Over a year, and the teasing had not abated. Weren't they bored yet? Tired at all? There wasn't any way to escape, and nowhere to hide. Even the teachers...even the teachers wouldn't...
She peered off the edge of the balcony. Was it high enough? Would it...be enough? She climbed to the edge, and sat on it, peering down at the dizzying height. It wouldn't matter. Even her beloved professor...she just did his dirty work. That was the only reason he was kind to her.
She was lying in bed, her head killing her, still spinning from the concussion and the combined questioning drill that preceded every hospitalization. Her mother was by her bed, whispering to her, and what she could make out between her lapses between sleep and wake, was that she was telling her things that she didn't think she should ever breathe to another living soul.
How important to her she was, even more so than anyone else was. If she should ever die, she would follow after her, because her mother just couldn't bear the thought of her dying/wanting to die and that she promised to take better care of her, watch her more often, to come to her if there were problems, because when the girl suffered, she did too.
She fell asleep to that, feeling more secure than she had in a long time.
"You made a real mess of things." Her father was by the window, the weak light of the sun that cloudy day streaming in by the lone window.
"I understand," she said dully.
He gave her a sharp look, and said, "Do you? Do you really? They're not going to let you go back, you know."
"To school?" she asked dispassionately.
"The political climate is such that they don't want to be held liable. You present a liability issue, and they don't want to take the risk."
"I see." Then, she remembered her professor, and wondered if would she ever see him again. "Um...what if I wanted to visit?"
He threw a stack of papers at her, and it landed on the bed, in her lap. "You're banned. You're not to even be on the parking lots or back streets of the campus."
The girl desperately wanted to receive an education still, so her parents, not willing to accept her failure, let her enroll online. After a couple of months, she found out that one of her classmates from high school went to her old college, and she asked if he could deliver a letter for her. She composed it carefully, and handwrote it:
I don't have much room, so I have to encapsulate everything I want to say to you as briefly as possible. I have always had difficulty verbalizing my thoughts; however, the transition from mind to paper is a bit neater for me, so here we are.
To sum things up, to end up at this school, according to my upbringing, meant you weren't good enough for a real college. And when I eventually was faced with no other choice, the cruelty I faced from the students and faculty here was so acute that I still bear the scars. Not physical ones, mind you, but ones of the heart.
When we spoke for the first time, you were kind to me, and asked me to smile. You may have asked this of me without even thinking, but you must not know how much a small kindness like this meant to me. As far as I could ascertain, you had no ulterior motive to what you did.
In addition to the reasons I supplied when I originally went to work under you, I wanted to help you in any way I could, in gratitude. There is no way I can thank you enough for taking me under your wing, and teaching me what you could.
If you would like, and it's not too forward of me, here's my mailing address, should you care to send anything my way.
She put in her address and signed it, and her former classmate took it to his office and delivered it.
The girl waited a couple of months, but there was no response.
She regained consciousness. The first thing she heard was laughing over her right shoulder. Spectators. At the height of her humiliation. This was...intolerable. And she felt homicidal at the next thing that was said.
"Damn, she's not dead."
Vague memories of whiteness, and--writing endlessly. In her looping, bubbly cursive, she would fill paper after paper. She'd write letters in the hospital to her professor. She didn't know his mailing address, so she had no way of sending it, but still it felt somewhat comforting to do something while she was in this useless place. Even if it was futile and pointless.
The girl sat with the rest of the mental patients, and she tried--attempted to, at least--talk about her problems with one counselor. Curious, one day, she asked him, "Do you find my situation sympathetic?"
He stared at her blankly and said, "Sympathy's for bereaved people or people who have suffered."
After that, she didn't bother trying to explain anything. Eventually they did let her leave, at least.
She wanted to see her professor again. Have his blue eyes lower to her level, stare into hers myopically, and ask what she was up to. What she had been reading. To hear him joke and laugh again, watch him push up his glasses and sigh, rumpling his hair until it stuck up.
She wanted a lot of things, really.
"Who is this?"
"I--I was wondering about the status of the project, you know the one with--I mean, I kind of left abruptly, didn't I--"
"Oh, it's you! I heard about you from the head of my department, told me the whole mess. Are you--I'm so glad to hear from you!"
"Yes, I'm fine."
"That's good to hear. How are you doing?"
"I'm fine. A little worse for wear, and I've been better, but--I started online school."
"Good for you! Are you still reading?"
"Oh, I started reading this biography about Beatrix Potter. Fascinating woman."
"She wasn't that--children's author, was she?"
"Yes, illustrator too. She was into mycology for a time, and her drawings were so accurate that they still use them today."
"Really? I haven't been able to read anything new; I'm working on some Greek plays for the drama team. Never done that before."
"That's cool. What kind, tragedies or--"
"Ah, I see. Were they...I don't know, satirical, or...oh, funny in the traditional sense, or--"
"Oh, they're definitely funny. Maybe you should come see the--"
"Oh yeah. Listen...I don't know about what really happened exactly, and it's your private business, so I don't want to know. So...please. Keep in touch."
"It's fine. Um...say. Could I ever see you again, someday? Like, off-campus?"
"Hmm. I would like that. But let me ask around first. Discreetly."
"Oh. All right."
"Listen, I have to go. But you take care of yourself, you understand me?"
"Thank you. Goodbye."
She continued work at her online school, and time passed slowly. The girl would occasionally call her professor, and every time she did, her spirits felt lifted at the sound of his voice. Their conversations were basically the same, much of the time, about how she was doing, what books she was reading, what he was up to, and the status of the project that they had worked together on.
He was always happy to hear from her, though a few times he had to hang up shortly afterwards because he had papers to grade, or meetings to attend, or someone was in the office. Nevertheless, as he began to make the necessary arrangements, and asking around for permission, it felt that it might become a real possibility for them to meet once more.
"How are you?" he had asked as usual.
The girl coughed, a little nervous, but decided to be honest as she typically was. "Actually, to be frank...I'm severely depressed. I feel hopeless. It's like--there's no place for my kind in the world. I'm--just really tired."
"I see," and he changed the subject to something pleasant, back to the dramas he was helping stage.
After hanging up, the girl sighed, and went back to her homework. About an hour later, she set about trying to find something to eat. Her parents were out that day, and she decided to fix something quick and simple. Getting up, and heading down to the kitchen, she noticed somebody approaching the front door.
It was a police officer. Two of them. She had opened the door, but before she could say anything, they asked for her. "Don't worry, you're not in any trouble," one said. "But we heard a call from a professor at the local college. He said you were possibly suicidal--"
She didn't hear the rest. She started crying in distress, and hyperventilating. They were going to take her back again. They were going to take her back, and she was going to be stuck again and she would never get out this time, not after trying to kill herself. She hardly noticed the officers trying to placate her, and she barely realized that her mom was home now, trying to calm her.
He had betrayed her, had attempted to try to ruin her just like the rest of the students and faculty of that entire blasted school. If he was so concerned, why didn't he just ask her about it? Was he just trying to trap her, and using their phone calls as an excuse to trip her up? She didn't know, and as she was being strapped into the ambulance, she probably would never find out. She certainly couldn't contact him ever again, not after what he had just done to her.
It was back to the white room for her, and maybe it'd be better if everything in her mind was consigned to oblivion, because honestly, who cared? She just wanted to...she had no idea what she wanted now. She had wanted to see him again, but now he had betrayed her for...she didn't know why, had never known why those students had picked on her, or why the teachers never lifted a finger to help her.
That was all she wanted. Not to be hated. Not to be scorned. To be accepted as who she was, and hell, maybe even--
"Why are you here?" she was asked by one of the EMT's.
All she could say was, "I don't know."
The girl woke up, the last vestiges of her headache fading as she strolled to the window, drawn to the autumn sunshine.
She blinked her eyes, slowly letting them get into focus. What had she been dreaming about? She found she could not remember.
Smiling absently, she got dressed for the morning, and ready for school. The girl walked into the kitchen, where the morning light lit the room aglow. It seemed like an auspicious start to the day; even the birds were out, twittering their morning songs. She hummed to herself a tune she had been learning at school.
She had baked an apple torte. It was one of her secret passions, baking, one that she rarely got to share with people--but she finally had gotten an opportunity to do so, and she wouldn't pass it up for the world.
The girl placed the torte into a special carrying case, and set off for school. Today would be a good day. She could feel it.
Upon reading this, you may go, "What the hell just happened?" It's written as incomprehensible because of the battlefield of confusion that is the narrator's state of mind. Bear in mind that she (the narrator) is slightly mad and colossally deluded to boot. Whether this entire narrative was a memory or a dream, or some combination of the two, I'll leave up to your imaginative judgment.
This is a great deal more obscure than my other works, and despite the summary and the categorization, is not played for hot sexy fun. At all. If you came here for that, tough luck. Happy Valentine's Day. (Not exactly a happy story to read this to, but oh well.)