no longer an exclusively vicarious one.

Friday, January 28, 2005

English Ext2: majorwork: 4

Whirr... click.
It was time to go to school. That meant skipping. Not fast, hurried leaps from one foot to the other like in a frenzied, lopsided race, but slow hops every second step, barely perceptible except for that little hitch in her stride. Leshala reached out her arm and gently pushed the gate aside. She stopped for a moment, a tiny frown creasing her forehead. Dad was going to have to oil that creaky gate sometime soon. But that baby frown, so out of place on that smooth, untroubled complexion, would not last more than a moment, as she heard her mother walking down the steps behind her. She whirled around, her raven black hair fanning out behind her, reflecting the multicoloured chaos that surrounded her like the thinnest sheet of rarest obsidian. A smile danced across her lips and her face lit up with the power of flaming halogens. Her teeth sparkled and, as any passersby would have told you, she positively glowed."What did I forget this time, mother?" she asked with a giggle forming in her eyes. The young woman facing her leaned her head to one side and smiled indulgently, a pale echo of her daughter's radiance framing her face with sunlight. She had seen more, much more of the world, and it had dimmed her idealism, but even with all the sadness she had witnessed, it had not broken her spirit. Her face, lined now with the palest beginnings of age, and with the only the hint of a shadow under her eyes, was nevertheless the icon of health and happiness. The lines of weariness and experience were far outnumbered by those other creases of mirth and laughter which had permanently etched themselves on her face. She laughed, a rich, mellow mixture of ringing bells and deeper echoes, and her chestnut locks swung about her shoulders. She had only one daughter, but the number didn't matter because it was all she needed. Leshala was her world and it was a joyous world. Before answering her daughter's question, she breathed in, deeply inhaling all the sweet scents of a bright summer's morning. She lowered her head and stared into the overflowing orbs of her daughter's eyes. "I believe you managed to forget this." She thrust out her hand from behind her back, still clutching the brown paper bag that contained Leshala's school lunch. A mock look of chastisement crossed the girl's face and her arm reached out for the bag in slow motion. Just as her fingertips brushed the corner of the perfectly creased paper, she caught a whiff of rusting chains and dirty clothes. Mother and daughter turned as one, and Leshala, the Leshala remembering and watching from a dank little room in a towering black city, realised that even her memories were clouded and tainted by what had happened. She realised, with shock and a broken heart, that even the happy little girl she used to be would never be clean and pure ever again. With the dark and sad knowledge that filled her mind with its inevitability, she fled, leaving the white house and the white picket fence and the mother and father and daughter she barely knew anymore. But she could not escape the oncoming pictures.
Click.
Mufti day at school. Leshala wore her new top and new jeans and looked like one of those designer models straight out of a magazine. All the girls wished they could hate her, but they couldn't. No one could hate Leshala. No one could even imagine doing anything bad to her, hurting her.
Click.
Waking up with the bright morning sun shining in her eyes. She groans, smiling all the while, and looks around her. The smile dissipates and her eyes narrow in confusion. Where are the white sheets and the familiar pink walls of home? What was that musty smell and why was the ceiling so close to her head? She swallows quickly, dryly, her mouth still believing she is asleep and not willing to cope with this bombardment of new activity. Her breathing becomes more shallow, and her body is completely still. Just as she has decided to jump out of the tiny bed and run for the nearest door (its shut at the other end of the room), she hears other noises. The soft breathing of a peaceful dream. The rustling of other sheets opposite her as someone else awakes. The sun rises fully now and the shadows in the room are banished to some other world. Leshala giggles in relief and pushes her head back into her pillow as she realises there is nothing wrong. Her first ever night away from home and she sends herself into an unnecessary panic. She rolls over and lies facing the opposite bed, just as her best friend opens her eyes with a shake. She murmurs then turns to face Leshala. "I hate sleeping in camp beds." They share a smile.
Click.
A perfectly shaped seashell. All orange and cream and ivory white, Dad says if I can find more he'll make them into a shell necklace for me. I think I'll run back down to where the water is and start searching.
Click.
A sharp piece of glass, sticking out of my arm at a right angle. More like a wrong angle. Probably should pull it out and clean it before it gets infected or something, what with all this sand and dirt blowing around.
Click.
Mum playing the piano. My favourite song and dad and I sing along. Everyone is smiling but then I look out the window and see... There's a man out there, in a torn beanie and old suit two sizes too big for him. He has green eyes, and they're looking straight at me, like he knows who I am. I can't tear my eyes away, and Dad shakes me, asks me whats wrong. My eyes are huge, and I can't speak, I just point out the window. He is frowning, but he never frowns except at tax time. We look back out the window, and mum goes and pulls the curtains open. My parents look at me, worry etched into their faces. There's nobody there.
Click.Click.Click. Click. Click. Click. Clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick.
STOP!
No more. Please no more. I don't want to remember anymore. I wish I could just forget everything and end it all. Please.

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