TranSCRIBE entry (2009)

Hey guys!! Long time no see (my fault I know). I was cleaning out my computer and came across a piece I wrote in 2009 for a competition. Check out all the big words I was using.. #dork

Right and Wrong

By Mary Saldevar

 “The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven” John Milton

She stared, long and hard, through the thin glass wall which seemed to separate two halves of a whole. Two halves which she always believed inseparable were now further apart than ever, worlds apart. She felt empty, incomplete. She flipped back her slick coal black hair as she brushed the one lone tear that had escaped and was making its way down her pale, chalky face. The man crouched in a corner behind the glass was breathing heavily like he was under immense pressure that which he could not overcome. He stood up then, thin and awkward, with a crazed look in his eye. She placed her palm on the stone cold glass, hoping and praying with all her might that the invisible wall would evaporate into thin air and she could be by his side once again. But that was wishful thinking, a practice that she had strictly forbidden.

“Mrs. Mason”, she was startled by an elderly woman with round spectacles and a fluffy crop of grey hair. “I’m sorry”, she added apologetically.

“Yes”, Mrs. Mason sighed in reply. “So am I”, she whispered. She tore her palm off the glass and took a step back. She had to leave, it was inevitable. She walked away slowly towards the white door with a melancholy sinking feeling.

“You’re wrong!” She turned around abruptly to view the man that had spoken. She wanted so much to hold him, to touch his face. But she knew she could not. She forced herself to continue walking down the hallway, fighting tears the whole way. As the frozen winter air lashed across her face and whipped her hair, she looked back on her life and remembered

“Crash!” Her car had collided with oncoming traffic which could not be seen through the blinding snow. Her mother held out her arms and shielded her fragile little body as the car continued to spin uncontrollably.

“Bang!” Silence was followed by more silence until she realised they were stationary. They had hit a tree beside the road. She peeked over her shoulder but could see nothing. Her eyelids were heavy and she could not compete with them. She was being pulled down, drawn away. Her body was numb and the blackness spilled over. She did not resurface.

She awoke, startled and flustered, as she did not recognize this unfamiliar place. The white paneled walls and white cotton sheets indicated a hospital. Numerous cards were present and all surfaces were adorned with sweet smelling flowers. She noticed the sleeping figure by her bedside.

“Daddy”, she said with confidence though her small voice could only reach his ears. He woke up instantly.

“Oh Belle”, he sighed in relief, “Thank God you’re alright”

Belle reached out and touched his face tenderly. He could not control himself. He started sobbing vehemently. She felt helpless as she attempted to comfort him. She wished she had died for in the back corner of her mind, she knew her mother was dead. She felt colder than ice and she wondered if this is what it felt like to be frozen alive. He noticed the change in her body language and understood without delay.

“Don’t worry Belle”, he consoled her, “I’m gonna take care of you”, he promised whole heartedly.

And that he did. Over the next year they grew to form the most loving relationship between father and daughter. Her father, whom she called Daniel, continued his work as an engineer and Belle was a bright quintessential student who was passing grades with flying colours. If ever Daniel thought it would be difficult raising her all by himself, he was profoundly mistaken. Belle had matured at a young age and was the most reliable girl in the sleepy town, which they had moved into. Daniel always teased her by saying,

“Belle, sometimes I think you’re the parent. Honestly, you act like a fifty year old!”

Belle would just shake her head and fold her arms. He was wrong. Belle was the biggest ‘daddy’s girl’ in the town as well.

“Come on Daniel!” she called up the modern staircase. “We’re going to be late”, she exclaimed impatiently.

Belle’s midnight hair was tied back in a neat bun on top of which a bunch of plastic flowers resided. She wore a leotard, which emphasized her slender physique and held a bag containing all her make-up and dance essentials. Her foot tapped a fast paced beat upon the linoleum floor.

“Hang on Belle”, he replied as he hastily flew down the staircase.

“Finally”, she exclaimed overdramatically and every bit as sarcastically.

They rushed outside and were greeted by the marvelous afternoon sun as it splashed playful colours over the expanse of the sky.

“What took you so long?” she demanded once he started the car.

“Did you want me to forget the camera?” ha asked the rhetorical question jokingly and they laughed the whole way to the concert hall.

Waiting back stage for the show to begin was agonizing for Belle. She focused hard on her breathing as she was beginning to hyperventilate.

“Good luck my Prima Bellerina”, Daniel hugged her lovingly with all the confidence in the world.

“I wish I would have the same faith in myself as you obviously have in me”, she replied in jest.

He took his seat and the stage curtain lifted to reveal a world of luscious colour, majestic musicality and graceful movement. Belle was a beautiful dancer and was always offered the solo positions. Daniel took out the camera that had almost cost them the performance and snapped a few shots.

“What are you doing?!” He scanned the room but no one seemed to be talking to him. He thought nothing of it and turned to view the stage from behind the camera lenses.

“That’s not right! You’re not supposed to be doing that you know” He was confused and crumpled his face in frustration until his forehead was riddled with creases and wrinkles.

“Can you please be quiet? I’m trying to watch my daughter”, he said unthinkingly capturing the attention of a few audience members.

His eyes almost fell out of their sockets as he saw a pointed foot extended in front of Belle. She was dancing towards it!

“Stop!”, he stood for fear that she would fall. “Don’t tell me you don’t see that?”, he questioned the woman sitting next to him and just as abruptly as it appeared, the foot disappeared. He did not understand, however, and decided he needed to sit down. Belle’s face was curious and slightly embarrassed but unfazed.

The car trip home was filled with praise and adoration as Daniel expressed how her dancing was ‘magical’ and ‘breathtaking’.

“What happened earlier?”, Belle asked with an uncaring voice which masked her immense curiosity. The once upbeat atmosphere had turned awkward. Daniel’s laugh was controlled.

“Don’t worry. I’m just seeing things with old age!” he tried to lift the tense mood.

She laughed an unsteady laugh and smiled as best she could. But she saw deeper and something told her it was not old age. She was griped by an unknown fear and it scared her.

The next few months were quiet and uneventful to outside eyes. But Belle saw the minute differences. Daniel was constantly refraining from going to work and instead insisted that he worked better at home in spite of the loneliness. He was crippled by a lack of sleep and became unbearably thin. They never went out and Daniel was becoming increasingly agitated and distressed. Belle felt like she did not know him and she cried herself to sleep on a daily basis. He would suddenly lose his temper and Belle would lean up against the wall, wishing that if she pushed hard enough, she would mould into the wall, become part of it so that she could escape this reality.

One night, after her pillow and face were damp, she dreamed a dream she wished was not a dream. Her mother was alive and the father she once knew was with her. They lived together in their old antique house which had great character. They would watch her dance and shared a festive Christmas. Oh how she yearned for it! It was physically painful knowing that it was just out of reach. She was slipping away and she was overwhelmed with a deadly grief that rendered her motionless. She flipped her eyes open but a smile graced her lips. She was happy to live again, if only for a while.

It was dark and ghostly. She propped herself on her elbows and heard what had woken her. A muffled bang echoed through the house. Belle slid out of bed and walked out to investigate. She dragged her feet as she stopped in front of Daniel’s room. She pushed the door open silently not wanting to disturb him. She had woken from a dream and simultaneously fallen into a nightmare. She had never been more awake as she viewed the pitch black room devoid of life. She squinted her eyes in vain. She might as well have been blind. Wait, what was that she though. In the blackness she saw the outline of a distorted shape followed by a bang. She leaned closer instinctively and wished she hadn’t. As if called by a higher being, the clouds floated away and the moon was able to shed its light upon the scene for a few seconds. Belle stopped breathing, stopped moving, stopped thinking. Daniel lay bruised and bloodied on the floor. As he struggled to right himself, he pleaded.

“Please…my daughter is in the other room”. He stood to face his adversary which Belle could not see. What happened next was unprecedented.

He hit himself. The closed fist met his face with a force that could not be his own though a limb connected it to him. His knees buckled and he fell with a loud thud. Belle watched shocked and in disbelief. Why was he hurting himself? The same fear, the unknown fear gripped her but with a concentrated potency. It was the same fear she felt after that concert which instigated the beginning of the end. She felt dizzy. She had been holding her breath and she could no longer. She flew out into the hallway as she was convulsing violently. Once in her room she locked the door and it remained locked as Daniel punched himself again and again and again.

Time did not stop however, and the sun rose on a new day. Belle knew she had to do something no matter now much it hurt. She rang the police and they arrived at the house. Daniel assured them that he was not self harming.

“I can’t tell you!” he screamed uncontrollably. “I just wanted to protect you Belle”

“I know dad”, she answered, torn as tears welled in her eyes and began streaming freely down her face. She held herself together as conflicting forces threatened to tear her apart. She knew it wasn’t right to have him continue to live with her but it wasn’t right to have them separate. How did one know the right from the wrong? She had decided and it was killing her. It was chiseling holes in her chest until she resembled swiss cheese. She held her palm to his face gently. She dropped her hand, which had been forever imprinted on his face, and turned around. He thrashed against the police. Her tears were never ending and she stood there for an immeasurable length of time. She had done what she though to be impossible. She had let him go.

He stared, long and hard, at Belle on the other side of the glass. How beautiful she had grown! He saw the anguish in her eyes and yearned to touch her face. She had to go. She was a gown up, a Prima Bellerina and she had children to tend to. He saw the emotional toll on Belle and was engulfed by self-hate.

“Why are you sitting here feeling sorry for yourself?”, a croaky voice loaded with malice asked him.

He tilted his face to view the evil entity that had continued to torment him. The witch was entirely clothed in black and her blood red eyes appraised him distastefully as her messy grey hair flowed about her demented face and a foul stench emanated from within its core.

“You’re so stupid Daniel!”, the abusive being prowled towards him. “You’re going to stay here forever you know” she knelt in front of him, belittling him further. Her eyes were shallow, hollow and yet they searched deep within the confines of his soul.

“Why?” he demanded as he felt his whole life perfectly encapsulated in that one word. He shook his head as he attempted to contemplate this mystic being and the reasons behind his insanity. The creature sighed and a gust of her decaying breath was unleashed.

“Why must you ask complicated questions?” the figure asked but decided to enlighten him. She leaned until her face was an inch away, mirroring his.

“No matter how cruel or unjust or evil” she spat out “As long as you are, so will I be” she concluded with no sense of sympathy or feeling. She was an empty shell.

“But why?” Daniel repeated as he tried to understand what was left of the strands of his life.

“I am here” she pressed her crooked finger significantly on his forehead. “I-am-you” she enunciated each word slowly as if she enjoyed watching his face turn sour and crumpled in pain, a burning man at the stake. Her menacing laugh bounced around in his head.

“YOU’RE WRONG!” he screamed at the top of his lungs as he stood to face her. He turned to witness Belle walking away.

“You’re wrong”, he said indifferently to the witch who had vanished suddenly and for once in his life, he felt he was right.

   “There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” Ronald Reagan


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