Insanity sets in on a woman who despises the world and is love with an inanimate object.
| Marie fell through the door, carrying a large end-table in the kind of topsy-turvy dance that usually ended with loud noises and bandaids. It would have been easier except for the unbalanced weight of the table, with thick granite tiles covering half of the surface, only to meet a soft, foamy wood on a jagged line down the middle. It was hideous. Countless friends and family members had tried to talk her out of taking it with her, but she could never have parted with her wonderful Benny. Marie was starting anew, with an unfurnished apartment on the other side of town, a fresh job working as a shelf stocker, and a new phone number. The prank calling would finally end, and she wouldn't feel like everyone was staring at her at work anymore. All she needed to do was to relax, let things work themselves out, and try to keep her old demons away from her new life. This was her new life. No more problems. The troubles were over. A deep relief slipped into her, spreading warmth throughout her body.
"What?" she asked, turning to her end table. "Did you say something, Benny?" The silence that followed almost seemed haunting in this foreign place, an eerie quiet hanging over the apartment. "Well, I told you we were moving, it's not my fault you messed everything up on Baker street." She didn't know why, but when she first got her table, it reminded her of her father. Not that she knew the man: he walked out when she was three. The connection, though, was enough for it to adopt her fathers name. It had started as a game, speaking to the table as though it were a person. Over time, words started coming back to her. She did not know where they came from at first, but soon realized that it must be her father, speaking through the table. No one else could hear the voice, it only spoke to her. It told her all sorts of things, the things people said about her when she wasn't in the room, things they thought of her. Now Benny was her only friend. He was the only on who cared.
She turned to leave the room for more of her boxes. There was plenty to be unpacked, this had been her first move in almost thirteen years. It had also been exhausting socially. Never had Marie talked to more than one person in a day, at most. No one ever said anything to her, even at work. They had given up trying to talk to her long ago. But that job was behind her. In the past week, she had spoken to so many people, the idea of what they must think of her could only make her skin crawl. How they must hate her so, looking in disgust at her long, black hair, sneering at the presence she utterly failed to emit in any room. They must have wished to bring her into slavery, to bond and torture her, all of those evil, hating minds. Finally she was alone again in her room though, just her and Benny.
She walked to the door, but turned again. "I'm sorry Benny, I'm just having a hard day, I didn't really mean to bring that up." No answer. "Benny? I'm sorry," she said again. Still no answer. "Are you mad at me?" Nothing. "Benny, say something! Why won't you talk to me?!" In a fit of rage, Marie hurled a handful of packaging Styrofoam peanuts at the table. They bounced ridiculously off, floating gently to the floor.
"Oh, Benny! I'm so sorry!" she sobbed, jumping to her table and kneeling next to it. Wrapping her arms around it, she started to cry as she slowly rocked it side to side. "Benny, Benny I'm sorry Benny, Benny, I'm so sorry, I love you Benny," she babbled. "Can you forgive me, my love?" Silence. "Benny, PLEASE forgive me" she sobbed, falling to the floor. Marie lay in a crumpled, shaking heap on the ground, clutching one of the table legs in her hand. In a spasm of tears, her arm jerked, and the leg came off into her hand. The table toppled over onto the floor, shattering four of the thick, granite tiles on top. The soft wood splintered into toothpicks, reducing the table to a pile of wood and stone.
"OH NO!! I'M SO SORRY MY BENNY!! I"M SO SORRY!" Marie threw herself onto the wreckage, soaking the dry wood with the tears that poured down her face. "I'VE HURT YOU, MY BENNY! I'M SO SO SORRY!!" Her face in her hands, she ran around the room and began destroying her things. Many boxes adorned the room, and these she flung out the closed window, resulting in a geyser of broken glass raining down onto the street below. The first box hit, sending a plume of smoke up past the window. Pieces of electronics fell down to the street. Out flew a second box, followed by a third, a fourth, and a fifth. Inside the apartment resembled a post-war scene, everything strewn about haphazardly, broken items littering the floor.
Marie stood panting in the middle of it all, hot tears streaming down her face. Her hands were bleeding from breaking glass, but there was no pain. There had been nothing but Benny, and now Benny was gone too. She had ruined everything. It was all gone, she had nothing left. A wave of fear hit her as images ran through her head, all of the people she would have to deal with. All of those cold, hating eyes, the sneers as they would look on in wild amusement at the wreck she had become. Twisted laughs reverberated in her ears, shooting tremors up and down her spine. They would never understand. Never.
Of course, she knew what she had to do. All fear of dying had escaped with Benny, and now there was nothing, nothing but the fear of living alone. She could not live with the fear. For thirteen years, Benny had held back the fear of the outside, had been there to comfort her every night, to remind her of the good in the world. He had been more than a friend, the love that she had felt for him was incredible and undying. But now he was gone. Everything was gone. She walked to the window, unsteady from emotion, and looked upon the street. Broken glass and possessions littered the sidewalk, her life strewn about for the eyes of strangers. One last pang of fear hit her as she fell. Not from fear of dying, nor pain, but terror at people looking at her. She could not have a funeral. They would never do that to her! Such torture for a departing soul, to be gazed upon. For one brief second, she could see herself lying there, cold and still as these strangers circled about her, laughing and pointing. And then it happened; she was so lost in a swirling world of hatred that she had forgotten to see the beauty in life. A thought jarred too late to change anything, brought on by simply seeing a small, yellow flower on her way down. If I could be a flower, I would be happy, she thought. A small smile cracked her lips as she rejoined the Earth. She would be a flower.
Something other than the ground struck her in that instant: the reason that people had held such contempt for her was not out of hatred, but a way of showing their love for her. She was never meant for this life. She had bigger and better purposes. It was their love and understanding of this that made them so hard on her. The further they pushed her, the closer she got to her destiny. Until now, the second she become whole again, they would shove and shove. Now she had realized her true purpose: to bring joy to those who needed it. She would sprout from the ground; bloom with the most glorious colors and scents, and then restart her cycle. In such circles, she knew she would always stay connected with the world. For the first time in her life, she knew true freedom from fear, from hate. She felt love.
Honorable Mention in Roobear's Newbie Contest!