Stuck In Time

Allow the story to unfold. Before your eyes and in my mind. I don't know yet where it can go but it's just something I wanted to write after a long self-enforced sabbatical. So, it's a journey to an unknown destination.

He slipped right through her fingers. Without a perceptible sound, or even a stray clue. After years of being together, he just left; leaving behind a changed girl. A girl who wouldn't recognize herself if she looked in the mirror. A girl who could barely register a word spoken around her, or even respond to the gamut of emotions on display in her vicinity. Was she hurt? Was she angry? Did she feel betrayed? No. She was empty. Numb. Invisible.

Sitting at the foot of her bed, no, their bed, she looked at the bright yellow wall. It seemed like she was concentrating on something. Something that was only visible to her. But the wall was unadorned. It was bare. But it didn't seem to matter to her as she continued her vigil and maintained her rigid stance. Her eyes never wavered and they seldom blinked. The clock on the adjacent wall had sounded out three shrill giggles, thrice already. But she seemed incapable of registering the passage of time. It was as if everything was at a standstill. Even her. 

Anna Marie peaked inside the room, careful not to step across the threshold. She remembered vividly the last time she had dared to do so. She had been at a friend's place for a sleepover and had just been dropped back home. Traipsing through the large french doors of her parents' bedroom, she had come to an abrupt halt as soon as she had caught sight of her mother. She seemed oddly calm, as if she were taking a nap, but with her eyes open. She was sitting on the floor at the foot of her bed and was clutching a piece of paper that was crumpled and looked damp from where Anna stood. Concerned and a little scared, she had approached her mother cautiously. Standing before her and waiting for her to acknowledge her presence, Anna had glanced at the paper and struggled to make out the smudged alphabets carelessly strung together in her father's distinctive scribble. It seemed like the letters had run together, bleeding blue across the smooth surface of a page from his favorite writing pad, the one with the white roses at the right corner.

But her mother had not responded. In fact, she had not reacted in any way, be it adverse or otherwise. She had continued to sit on the floor, eyes staring straight ahead, as if looking right through her daughter, knees drawn up to her chest, the paper clutched fiercely in her hands. She had hardly moved. Anna was scared. She had crouched down to eye level with her mother, putting a light hand on her knee as if to awaken her from this eerie stupor. But as soon as her palm had come in contact with her mother's denim encased knee, it had been thrown back abruptly. A loud, high-pitched shriek had accompanied this jerky motion which Anna could not to this day forget. She had awkwardly landed on her behind and clapped her hands over her ears, but the shrieking still wouldn't stop. In fact, she could still hear it ringing in her ears. The sound of an animal in pain, the last sound she had heard her mother make.

Anna had not been able to stay in the room after that. Racing out, she had called up her Aunt who lived across the country. She just hadn't known what else to do. There was only Aunt Alice. She would know what to do because Anna had a suspicion that her Dad would not be able to make things right again. Something had told her that he would not come to her rescue this time. She remembered saying a little prayer for her father's safety. 

Now, standing at the door of her parents' room, Anna looked at her mother's stiff form. It was like she had aged a decade in the past two days. Her youthful, smiling face looked withdrawn and gaunt and her eyes appeared to have sunk in above her cheekbones. She still held on to the paper as if her very life depended on it and Anna could not even begin to imagine what horror had been communicated to her on that beautiful piece of stationery. She only hoped that Aunt Alice would arrive soon. She had called earlier in the day to tell her about her flight details and that she would be there by four. The clock was still a good forty minutes from the time that Anna wanted it to show. So she sat down near the door, legs crossed and arms wrapped around her slim chest, and stared at her motionless mother. Waiting. Waiting for her to come alive. Waiting for Aunt Alice to arrive. Just waiting.

The End

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