Author: R. E. Winterayne PM
She pauses, glances up and then away, cupping her hands in the water and bringing them up, watching the water run between the gaps in her fingers. "Tell me," she says, quiet and broken and thin. "Look at me and tell me, do you think that I'm sick?"Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Words: 953 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 01-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 2989359
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I don't know what I'm doing. I got bored, and there's so much snow that school was cancelled and my sister was singing this really annoying song which gave me the idea for this and ... Yeah. This was born.
Hush, little baby, don't say a word,
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird.
The night is black, the edges crawling up over the sky, bleeding across the sunset like a taint. It wears the moon as a pendant, half-full and milk-pale, surrounded by the fading glimmer of twinkling stars. Moonlight casts through the window, swallowed by the cold fluorescent light that casts over the small bathroom, shining off of bleach-scrubbed tiles and old counter tops, glinting off of the metallic stainless-steel faucet.
There's a splash, somewhere to the right, water in the small bathtub, disturbed by a body, ashen and jerky, leaning back against the bleach-scrubbed tiles with a sigh. Ripples skate over the surface, catching the harsh, unflattering light and giving off a momentary sparkle before fading back into the clear, calm surface.
There's a hush, settled low over the small room. She stares at her knees, poking out of the water and lays her cheek upon them, the tips of her hair barely skimming past the surface of the water. She sighs, hand skating across the surface, serenely calm before her expression contorts into one of disgust, slapping water out over the porcelain edge.
And if that mockingbird don't sing,
Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring.
Groaning, she sits back up against the bleach-scrubbed tiles, chest heaving with forced breath, sliding slowly down until only her nose appeared over the water line. The hush crescendos and she takes a breath, holds it, slides again, burning in her abdomen, down beyond the water.
The hush breaks beneath the weight of a knock, loud and muffled by the water. She breaks the surface, coughing and hacking, quiet and in the broken silence, staring at the door, closed and unlocked.
"Hey," a voice, also muffled by the wood of the door, closed and unlocked, calls, but she remains silent. "You've been in there quite a while. Are you alright in there?"
And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama's gonna buy you a looking glass.
She remains quiet and the knock comes again, loud and unmuffled by water pressing on her ears. The knocking stops and the sound melts into an echo and she hears him sigh.
"Come in," is all she says, dropping her eyes away from the door and back to her knees.
He enters, standing in the doorway, wide and open and gaping, arms crossed over his chest. He stares at her and she stares at her knees, silent and skittish.
"What do you think you're doing?" he asks, shattering the silence once more with a voice filled to the brim with concern. "Are you trying to make yourself sick?"
She pauses, glances up and then away, cupping her hands in the water and bringing them up, watching the water run between the gaps in her fingers. "Tell me," she says, quiet and broken and thin. "Look at me and tell me, do you think that I'm sick?"
And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama's gonna buy you a billy goat.
He frowns and she goes on, just as thin and just as broken and just as quiet. "An old woman, just a fraction of what she used to be? Just an empty shell of what was and is destined to never return?"
And if that billy goat don't pull,
Mama's gonna buy you a cart and bull.
He sighs again, lips contorting in a scowl and then he's there, kneeling beside the porcelain edge of the tub, one hand braced on bleach-scrubbed tiles, one tilting her chin upwards, knees on the wet floor of the bathroom, water creeping, bleeding up the fabric of his pants like the night through the sky only an hour before.
Gently, he brushes his lips along hers, whispers of contact, echoes of touches. She gasps but doesn't pull away. He does moments later, and then several moments more before he shakes his head and leans in close, nose to nose.
And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama's gonna buy you a dog named Rover.
"Stop being selfish," he says and she stares wide-eyed and confused. "Unless you're willing to let me be selfish. Let me selfishly hold you close. Let me selfishly keep you for myself. Let me selfishly protect you." He stares at her and she stares back, lips twitching at the corners.
She is silent and the moon shines through the window and the fluorescent lights seem just a little bit dimmer.
And if that dog named Rover won't bark.
Mama's gonna buy you a horse and cart.
The night is still black and the stars are still fading, but the moon is behind a cloud and the fluorescent lights are still harsh and cold and unflattering over the tiles and the counters and the faucet and the water.
They stay like that, still and nose to nose, staring and watching and looking until she blinks and looks away. She glances back and there's a smile curving the edge of her lips, cold and self-deprecating, glass-like and fragile in the coolness of the light.
And if that horse and cart fall down,
Well you'll still be the sweetest little baby in town.
"You still haven't answered my question."
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