Wednesday Stories (Buckle) by Ain Zachary

She buckled under the weight of the pressure. What else was there to be done, resuscitate this life that crumbled, scatted around her feet? Picking up the broken pieces was not an option, not then, not at that juncture of her life.

But now, today in fact, right at this very moment, she needs to move and keep moving, as so not to fall on her knees again. She feels she cannot cry forever, just sitting there in the dark, all alone, with angry thought swirling in her mind, all the time, all the freaking time.

She stands up today, dusts herself up from imaginary grime and with lips trembling smiles for the very first time in months. Her mind is set, her heart is determined, her bent knees straightens. She picks up her room, the soiled, dirty clothes on the floor, the books stacked up tall on each sides of her bed, the empty bowls and cups scattered around the room, all remnants of her broken heart and spirit from yester months.

She gathers everything and starts to clean, dirty clothes in the washing machine, empty bowls in the kitchen sink, books into the overflowing bookshelves. A good thing too, she is running out of underwear to wear and bowl to eat from. Her movements though slow, are with purpose and intent. She is to clean this place she lives in and makes it livable again. She does not want to live in this stink anymore, no more feeling sorry for herself.

As she works, the layers of cobweb in her mind that has been veiling the vented emotions she piled in her unravels. Then slowly, her tears comes, spilling down her cheeks as she moves from one station to the other, clearing out spaces, cleaning out dirt, sweeping off dust, her tears cleans up her heart and her hurting soul. The tears do not stop until she finishes hobbling all over the house, putting things in the right order.

She finally collapses on the cleared sofa, the whole place clean and sparkling. The apartment has not been this clean since the incident months ago. Friends had come and go, tried to clean the place up but it always ended up cluttered again by the time they were gone. Now only her best friend come every day, bringing her food and books. They have all stopped trying to cheer her up, exhausted by the haunted look she gives them, appalled by the state she has let herself go.

She wipes her face with her hands, clearing her cheeks of the tears. She feels calm, like a heavy burden has been lifted off of her. She was down and she had thought she would never come out of it. She had honestly thought that this is it, this time, she is going to finally give in to her sorrow, she is finally going to die.

But miraculously today, without any prompts, she has gotten up on her own, cleans the place, basically get going. None of her friends managed to convince her to get out of her funk, but today, she has done it, all on her own. She smiles again, still on the sofa, her eyes looking out the window, seeing the blue sky and the shining sun.

She stands up when she hears the thud of the washing machine, indicating the clothes washed and ready to be hanged to dry. As she opens the door to the balcony, the bright sun hits her, warming her face. As she stands there hanging her wash, she can hear the birds sing and feel the wind blows. She sighs contently, remembering how much she misses the outdoor.

When she is done with the wash, she leaves the door of the balcony open, inviting the sun and the wind into her small apartment. She hopes that will help smooth away all the remaining doubt and sadness that still lingers. She steps into the shower and scrubs her skin raw. She loves the sweet-smelling shampoo and lingers under the cold water, turning around and around, enjoying the shower. She looks at her face in the mirror. She smiles again and amazes herself with the fact that she looks the same as she did before the incident. Her eyes are still bright and blazing, her nose still straight and her lips still red with an upward curves at the ends. She realizes that she is still the same person.

She does not have a lot of choices looking through her wardrobe for something to wear. Most of her clothes are now hanging to dry. She takes a long cotton dress she only usually wears at the beach and put it on. Instantly she feels a lot better than she did, associating the dress with some of the happier moments in her life.

She turns around in front of the mirror, letting the skirt of the dress blooms around her and her wet hair a curtain around her face. She actually laughs this time, surprising even herself a bit. She had thought she would have never laughed again. It is amazing what time does to your heart, healing all wounds.

As she spins, she sees her guitar, neglected all these while at a corner of her room. She picks it up and goes back to the sofa. Sitting down, she strums songs after songs, happy songs, which remind her of the sea, of the clear blue sky, of the waves, of the wind, of the soft sand. As she sings, her eyes roam to the trees just beyond her washings. She can see birds and squirrels hopping about.

She thinks of her heart, how fragile it is, how easy it was to break it. She buckled under pressure after the incident; she is not ashamed to admit that now. She fell into a deep chasm she could not escape from for months, just sitting there on her own in the dark, not letting anyone near, and not wanting anyone to help. Her tears come again, as she sings, dripping onto her guitar, making watery maps on her cheeks. She is not sad anymore, no, she is relieved that she has finally climbed out of this blackness. This time it is tears of joy.

Like on cue, as she stops crying, her front door dings. When she opens it, her best friend almost drops the lunch she is bringing her. She cries happy tears seeing her clean and fresh and smiling. Being a softie, she hugs her tight and laughs. And she laughs some more, nodding this time when she asks ‘You want to go to the beach today?’.

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Submitted for Wednesday Stories (Buckle) by Ain Zachary

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