Death brings peace to a life that has become futile.
|She reached for the clock on the bedside table and silenced the alarm that pealed like claps of thunder. She hissed through her teeth as anger rose from her throat. She spat out a disgusting swear word, unaware she was loud. She was irritated at the intrusion into her sleep. She turned and faced the wall, annoyed at waking up at the ungodly hour of midnight. She yawned and pressed her hand to her throat. It was warm and scratchy. She coughed suddenly. She coughed again to dislodge a horrid substance in her throat.
In the next minute, she bounced out of bed, sprinted to the bathroom, and spewed a large amount of phlegm into the toilet bowl. She threw up once more, pressed her hand to her tummy and spewed out more saliva. She straightened up and ran the cold tap. She splashed cold water to her face, washed off beads of sweat on her forehead, and noticed her cheeks were reddish as she glanced at the mirror. Her hair was a total mess, all in a tangle with each other. She felt it a burdensome bother to smooth out the tangled mess. Instead she inched toward the door.
She grabbed a towel off the rack as she padded back to her room . She sat on the edge of her bed, yawning. She wiped off perspiration that glistened on her face and neck. For a minute or two she stared into space. With a sigh, she flopped back into bed, decided to stay away from work for the day. She was in no way disturbed with her decision. However, she thought more about missing work, looked at the time, and made up her mind. As she drowsed, she thought or rather imagined she heard conversations. She could not determine where the whispers were coming from, and she did not care anyhow. Nevertheless, she dug herself deeper into the bedclothes and fell back into a weary sleep.
"Poor thing, she is burning."
"Is she going to be like her father, crazy?"
"Hush, you must not think like that of her."
"The rumor was, it was her mother."
"Her brother, too. He scratched his eyes out when he got the sickness."
"Did it run in the family, then?"
"The grandmother hacked her husband to death with a large knife when she found out he had a mistress."
"Goodness gracious, what a family."
"Ssssh, that is enough of that."
Lucinda slept away, snored at intervals, tossed and turned feverishly. She imagined the telephone rang; however, she mumbled or thought she scolded the ringing tone to stop. She floated in and out of a deep darkness that flung and pitched her about like a ball. She heard noises that came from every corner of the bedroom, intrusive and invading her solitude. The whispers boomed coarsely, followed by snickers that exploded like TNTs.
Stop, stop, she wailed, as she pressed her hands over her ears, that practically drowned the roars of whispered conversations and unkind laughter that floated to her ears. She tucked her knees under her as drowsy sleep took over.
She was up the next instant, leapt out of bed like a force hurricane 10, trembling on her feet. She felt dizzy as she bounced from floor to ceiling. Nauseous, she thudded to the carpeted floor. She became aware of wings that fluttered in the distance. Dazed, she eyeballed images that appeared like millions of fireflies, twinkling in the night above her, dancing harmoniously like a line of chorus girls in a show. Within minutes a blanket of feathery cocoon enveloped her into darkness. She struggled for breath.
In her dazed state, she saw clouds that appeared as suddenly as they disappeared into nothing. The soft cocoon that warmed her body and held her afloat began to melt away. She felt she was naked. She clawed for support, for something to hold on to when she realized she was falling. She screamed as she slammed on to a covered bridge. Why in heaven's name build a bridge in the middle of nowhere? She had no answer to her question as pain struck, traveled up and down her spine, excruciating and brutal. She thought she splintered every bone in her body when she landed heavily upon silvery pebbles that twinkled like stars in the darkest of night. She rolled to her side, tried to get up but the ground turned into mountains of waves that submerged her into a raging sea.
Terrified, she swam vigorously against the tide. Again and again freezing waves pulled her toward a gaping pit that opened up below her, tried to suck her into wriggly arms that resembled a squid's tentacles. The hole beckoned her to keep still, to let the waves take her and lead her into the opening. However, with one last effort, and a strength she realized came from her frustration, she kicked and dogpaddled until she felt the warmth of the sun on her face. She half-smiled into the sunlight.
Without another thought, she trotted the sandy shore. She escaped the treacherous waves, bolted over stones and rocks, oblivious of the sting of sharp gravel against her numbed feet. She raced through clumps of trees, thicket, and bushes. She fled what might have been her watery grave. She collapsed into a thick shrubbery, gasping for breath, panting and wheezing. She felt a tightness in her breast. She hugged the cool earth that offered her respite and silence from riots of whispers that pursued her. She did not move a muscle. She focused upon a ripple of color that reflected the sun's light, smiled to herself as a feeling of something attainable bubbled in her head. She realized there was a healing of blessedness she once had; something about her birth right and the meaning of a saying, "The dying process begins the minute we are born ..."; it was that puzzle that pursued her through her life. That moment was the only lull from unseen perils that continued to pursue her.
Grief was not the answer to the hollow feeling in her bosom nor it was an empty response to whatever troubled her. Redemption was what she craved for, that she needed in her aloneness, a healing ladder that would aid her as she tried to climb out of a frozen life. Where was salvation when she needed it? As she lay listening to her breathing, she realized she must endeavor to regain her sanity, that wonderful feeling of having gained a whole new outlook that she once reveled in. She longed for a breathing space, a postponement of what was meant for her at birth, a hiatus from all that was coarse and crude that touched her.
She looked back at her life, from birth to youth, to adulthood, to millions of memories that consumed her. She remembered the school mates in grade school. They were young then, humble and down-to-earth. They opted for simple things, like keeping up with grades, falling in and out of what they termed "love"; shared personal problems foolishly created by their own youthfulness, and putting up with youthful mistakes. They managed somehow to reach colleges and universities, where the more serious manner of life became a difficult, tricky task to overcome. Most of all, nevertheless, they managed to graduate and attain new responsibilities to their selves, to each other, and to their families.
The parting of ways between friends came as a shock to Lucinda. Every day life became a mesh of difficulties that brought anger, jealousy, envy. The pursuit to a better understanding of what was right and what was evil became a serious endeavor, to do that which is right for one's self and for others, like family. It became the front line to understanding that which was sensible and right. Life, she realized, became a grim and somber task.
When Lucinda lost her brother through the "sickness", she was made aware that she, too, may have the propensity to be like him. She fought against it vigorously, decided to leave home, with the thought that getting as far away as possible from family would exclude her from every little bit of inherited vein of madness. She felt degraded and humiliated. She began to read books; tried to understand the workings of inherited sickness of the mind, and lived alone in hopes of evading a total corruption of her mind. She became, however, totally corrupted in spite of her determination to avoid the shameful illness that led her to ruin.
Lucinda fielded questions about her family. She moved from one job to another, and then to another, for fear of people finding out what she was prone to become. She learned to accept the loneliness of keeping herself away from people; she traveled to places she wanted to visit avoiding any tendency to become friendly with people; she moved out of homes/apartments as soon as landlords became curious; she was mostly careful and aware the way she dealt with people, when in a moment's notice, she may show some kind of inkling what she was.
It was late evening when Lucinda arrived home from her travels. She unpacked carefully, folded dresses, underwear, socks, work suits, every day pants, anything that could be folded. She placed each pack in separate drawers. Her action was deliberate. She knew then and there what it was she had to do. She was actually at the end of her "travels". She felt a surge of light within her, an awakening; that it was all that she could manage to do, to fulfill the meaning of her life.
In the light of the morning hour, Lucinda lay spent on her bed, dried spittle on her chin, the balls of her eyes hung loose out of their sockets, her once rosy cheeks now paled against the daylight glow, her fingers dripped with blood. In her rush to try and right that which was wrong with her, and the implications of something horrid she inexplicably did not remember doing, she appeared to have gouged at something solidly alive. However, she could not understand how her hands and fingers were awash with blood. She scolded herself for her recklessness, and why she did not focus on the job at hand.
She lay inert, her right leg appeared twisted under her body, and her lower body was wrapped within crumpled sheets that turned bloody, too. Amid all this horrifying scene, the rays of the sun shone bright on Lucinda's distorted grin, which depicted a boundless energy of hope she wished she had, that all she needed was another opportunity at hope, one more chance to right the wrong that was incidental to her birth right. She was fully awake and certain the night before, that her escape was inevitable. If only she tried harder.