|Dressed in black, Mrs. Cleary entered the pastel pink bedroom and closed the door behind her, muffling the whispers. She held her chin up high and walked to her chair close to the pink flowered covered canopy bed. The lady pulled off the black veil and hat and pieces of soft blonde curls pulled free from the bun on top of her head. She flung the hat onto the bed. Moving stiffly, she removed the white ballerina teddy bear from the chair and sat upon the chair. The teddy bear she absentmindedly clutched with her right hand, dangling from the arm chair.
Her eyes were dry.
". . . in shock. . ."
". . . won't talk. I'm afraid of what. . ."
". . . such a shame."
The voices intruded on her privacy and she shut her eyes in an attempt to block them out.
"Mommy!! Mommy!! Look what I can do!" squealed a child.
Mrs. Cleary opened her eyes to see her daughter in her dance uniform. White leotard, white tights, and pink ballet shoes clothed the petite form. Her blonde hair was loosely arranged in a bun on top of her head. Her smile beamed as she posed precisely in a new step that she had been taught. Her fingers gracely forming "ballerina fingers." She elegantly raised her hands above her head and with tiny movements of her feet, fluttered across the room and faded.
The professional dance pictures stared back. Were they accusing her?
She brought the teddy bear to her chest and held it tightly there with both arms. The room spinned, leaned to the right, then to the left. Her eyes closed again.
Splash, splash. Giggle.
Her eyes sprang open and darted from side to side.
The black hat was condemning her as it lay on the pink comforter.
"Mommy! I drew a fairy just for you." The fairy had bright yellow wings and wore a bright pink dress. It was smiling at the family having a picnic on the lawn. Carrie looked at the picture, drew her brow together and brought it back to her desk to make a finishing touch. Her little pink tongue darted out and licked the side of her mouth delicately as she maneuvered her crayon around a curve.
The fairy popped off the book and flew at Mrs. Cleary. She could see the crayon dress swaying. The vividly colored wings beating in the air. The smile turned upside down. Her eyes blazing at the negligent mother. “Where were you? Where were you!” it screamed.
Her hands flew to her ears and she covered them and squeezed shut her eyes. The ballerina teddy bear fell to her lap.
Sunlight filtered in through the windows and cast a spotlight on the black hat. The many dolls and stuffed animals in the room all stared at the hat. Their faces drooped.
When she opened her eyes again, they focused on a bright yellow rubber ducky sitting on the dresser amongst the ribbons and bows that had decorated the child‘s hair. The duck laughed at her.
Giggles. Splash, splash. Silence.
Mrs. Cleary saw herself laughing into the phone talking with her sister.
“Run,” she screamed at the gay blonde who was twirling her long blonde hair with a finger.
“Go, you fool, check her!” she spat.
Her vision turned to the bathroom where the child lay thrashing under the water of the tub. Odd splashing. Her blue eyes were rolled up inside her head. The thrashing stopped and a few bubbles escaped the closed lips. A bright yellow rubber ducky floated over the child's face.
The fair-headed mother giggled into the phone. She smiled.
“Too late,” sobbed the mother who could not grieve.
The child’s eyes opened and accused her.
Mrs. Cleary stood from her rocker, the teddy bear fell to the floor. A scream bellowed from her lips. Her eyes poured. She pulled at her hair with fists.
When at last she lost her voice, she fell onto the bed. Her shoulders heaved with hours of imprisoned emotion.
At some time while she lay fallen on her daughter’s bed, the black hat crushed beneath her, a lone man walked in. He stood undecided if he should comfort the woman spotlighted on the bed by the afternoon sun. His eyes were puffy and moist.
He walked to the windows and drew the shades, one by one. For now, the sun was not welcome in this room.
© Copyright 2003 Enchantress MysticJoy (UN: mysticjoy at Writing.Com).
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