Ok this is weird. Just really…. yeah
(c)2013 Necia Phoenix
They’re gathered again, laughing, visiting. The bar-b-q is fired up and the beer and wine coolers are being handed out. The children run around, dirty, chalk covered, their laughter echoing through the canyons of apartments and houses. The little brown and black dog, the one with the missing eye and high pitched yap, is running around announcing to the world that he is there. They forgot about her again.
She comes out, book in hand. No one notices her. Not at first. She isn’t like them. She’s too quiet. Too withdrawn. She finds a spot, hiding in plain sight. Half hoping someone, anyone will come over and say hello. Acknowledge that they see her. Acknowledge that someone cares.
The bar-b-q goes on. The flurry of activity around her makes her heart beat faster, makes her palms sweaty. Too many bodies, too many voices. Too much noise.
Someone sees her, says hello. She looks up startled, starts to say hello back but the person flutters away before she can, a good deed done. After all they talked to her. She looks around, hopeful. But everyone is busy. Busy with their own dramas. She sighs, closes her book and goes back to her room. It’s not worth it. No one notices she’s gone.
Once upon a time, the stories always start. And they end with the magical …and they lived happily ever after. But there is no ever after. No knight in shining armor to rescue her from mediocrocy. She works. Goes to school. Hopes to find someone, something that sees beyond the shell.
She wants someone to crack it. Pull it apart. Lay out the being, the rainbow that she is for all the world to see. But everyone else is waiting around, hoping for the same thing. No one bothers.
No one cares.
She begins to plan. To change. And is met with stiff resistance. She must conform to their way of doing things, even if they never bother to show they care.
She is leaving. Going to another place, a fresh start, a fresh group of people. They’re angry. She’s abandoning them. She shrugs. They gave her no reason to stay. But they won’t hear that. They only hear what they want to hear.
She packs her things amidst howls of outrage and dismay. The bus leaves at 9pm. She promises to visit. Hugs them. Pets the damn dog, and walks towards the bus depot. She knows, and they know, she’s never coming back.
It is busy, day and night. The city lights, the cars, the parties, the life is almost more than she can bear. She finds places she can go, to be alone. Places she can hide from the busy and watch. And she finds she is not alone. There are others in her hiding place. Like-minded people. Rainbows in shells locked tight against society.
They are all hesitant at first. No one has bothered to care. They were not the cheerleaders. The jocks. The band members. They were the ones in the shadows, forgotten until someone needed tutoring, or a book. They are the ones society mocks.
They become family. Closer than blood can ever bring them. They know, they understand what it is like to be forgotten by the ones they want most to notice them. The shells begin to crack in big chunks.
There were no letters from home. Though she sent her own. There were no phone calls, unless she made them. She got tired of not hearing back. Of not knowing. She decided to stop, see what would happen. And for a time she wondered if they would pick up the slack. But she was living. She was noticed by her new family. The ones who loved her and cared for her. She brushed aside, hid the hurt of rejection by her own flesh and blood.
She had a life to live.
And she did.
Someone asked her if she would ever go back.
No. She shakes her head. There is nothing to go back too.
They didn’t bother to find her. And she wasn’t interested in them.
She remembers too keenly, hurts too deeply.
How much time passed? She’s forgotten. But the television is playing out a drama. The stars were those she’d left behind. Had she stayed it would have been her on that screen. She is tempted to call, find out for herself but her partner tells her it isn’t worth it. He takes the remote, changes the channel. Let’s watch something else, something happy.
She sits, listening to the chatter from the television, not really seeing what was on. He touches her hand and she starts to cry. Her rainbow dims, her heart broken. He holds her, saying nothing. Later than night she pens a letter, the first in years. In it she tells all, everything she couldn’t say. But it is too late. She goes to the patio and burns it.
They hadn’t cared before. She doubted they would now. She chose to live. Staring up at the sky she sighs and smiles. Her rainbow brightens, the shell is gone.
I have to say this is perhaps the oddest thing I’ve written. And that’s saying a lot.