September Story (9/17)
So continues my September Stories project! If you missed any of them, you can find the full list here.
Drifting, to Come Home By Danielle Davis
She plunged her hands beneath the water--
--the sea the cold sea washing and scrubbing away at her very pores. How to erase these blemishes of time, these cold cold scars that curl themselves into her flesh like worms under the skin, erase the freckles that multiply and the strength that doesn't. Revitalize this damaged shell by wearing away the damage done to it by time by injury by neglect by sunlight by small reaching hands by time. Plunge them under so they rise again new, washed clean, blameless blameless blameless forever blameless--
--her fists, they gripped, they clenched like chunks of iron welding themselves shut and--
--thrust down down down. Elbows locked against the force that pushes back. For one so small it struggles so mightily, the lifeforce strengthened as it sucks away her own. Always that way, even in the nine months before, sucking the lifeforce, borrowing what's needed to survive from her marrow her blood her heart. Her heart that bled for such a tiny thing, that became one with it and brought it to life, that bleeds now as it kills itself, the heart of her heart, the thing she swore most to uphold. It's the only way the only way the only way the only way to keep them clean. Everybody said she couldn't keep them clean--
--she doubted herself, as she'd heard others do before her. In front of her. At the hospital. That she was too weak, too small, too frail-hearted. But she survived. She survived the long nights and the IVs, the cramping that threatened to turn her inside out. She survived. And so did he. It was a miracle, they said. But she knew better. She knew she was the one that made him live. From her force of will alone. If only it had stayed that way--
--and they never stayed that way. The thoughts the doubts the crying the screaming the crying that never seem to let up. How one so small can scream so loud, loud enough to drown out the television, the radio, her soothing voice, her breaking voice, her tear-filled voice as she tries to sing, tries to soothe, tries to keep herself together. But it is only the two of them, with Micah away at work, not there when she needs him, not there when he needs to be, to give her some help some words some song of her own that she can take warmth from and feed it back down into the relentless creature in her arms, not there to give her respite some peace all she wants is a little bit of peace, to help it find a little bit of peace--
--but she proved them wrong at first. For the first few months. Up until it became too much. Then nobody'd believed her. Called her querelous and lazy. Didn't understand how little it took to break her in the dark all alone. Until the strength she'd held onto to bring him into the world got sucked away through long nights and tears and the knowledge that she wasn't enough. Nothing she tried was ever enough. And still he cried, his small face the size of a tangerine and screwed into a grimace, sending pink patterns of lace across his tiny eyebrows and forehead. He cried until he went hoarse and she did, too, screaming because she finally knew she'd never be enough--
--during the final night shift when Micah works, always away in the darkest time when night becomes a living thing feeding off the moisture of her tired eyes, sending them burning shriveling into the back of her aching head aching aching from the noise the sadness the plaintive neediness of that small thing who is blameless blameless, that never asked to be brought into this mess after all--
--She'd fought for him. But even she was forced to realize it wasn't enough. Couldn't be enough. So one night she decided to--
--given all she has to give and it still isn't enough. Still can't stop the cries the need the sadness of its tiny voice that pleads with her to make it better. But she can't because she isn't enough never should have thought she was doesn't have enough left in her to make it better make it happy--
--make it stop. And then, in the silence that came after, she felt herself shatter. Felt herself--
--float on the surface next to tiny hands and tiny feet, with sleeping eyes she can rest next to in the thousands of pieces that are left of her. Rest rest finally rest because it is finally enough. Nothing matters except the gentle drip drip drip into the finally still water that cradles them both as she lets her head sink beneath the surface sink into the dark of it that's a living thing that's finally satisfied. It is full, like a womb, full and warm and filled with peace. Peace enough to--
--drift. And that, finally, was enough.
Total Writing Time: 40 min.