Flash Fiction: A Spring Mourning
A beautiful Spring morning. An irrevocable reality. Can Monica endure the death of her image and lost pretense once her dark secrets are revealed?
Monica squeezed her eyelids and turned over cursing the golden rays, daring to invade her first real hours of sleep. She tried to ignore the incessantly chirping birds outside her window and Mrs. Anderson’s wretched gardener down the street. What was he blowing, when she didn’t even have a yard, for God’s sake! Even the smell of brewing coffee--(Who was making coffee?) --was offensive. To let them in meant she was still accessible, somehow responsible, and definitely culpable. (Wasn’t she?)
Without raising her head Monica tried to look at her toes, and just catching the tops, she wiggled them, of her own free will. Feet with no mind of their own? Damn it! How long could she stay? Maybe she could just linger in this room until…well until. Monica understood that even if she stayed put, dug her heels in, and refused to budge, she would still have the consequences. The moment she faced anyone, people would know. Evasion was never her strong suit, which was why she never bothered to learn poker.
Maybe it was just a dream. Seriously speaking, who hadn’t had a detailed nightmare that seemed like it really happened; only to wake up relieved to realize it was merely your mind on its own vivid excursion? (Oh God, if only!)
Now the sounds of banging downstairs, the twins’ mattress springs tested as a trampoline and the shower going. Had she simply over reacted? It was just another Saturday morning after all. Soon she would hear Looney Tunes, Spiderman, or the X-Men, depending on who got control of the remote first. She could anticipate the light tap at her door, her dad coaxing her with waffles or pancakes, to join the routine weekend chaos. She nearly smiled. How different was this Saturday from the last? Not much, they were really the same, when she thought about it.
Lying on her back, she swung her feet enough to have them peek from under the warm, heavy, covers. The bedding was part of the splurges her family made for her birthday. Beautiful, cozy, designer all she’d dreamed, but never dared ask for, from the new Macy’s in town. It was as far as she intended to go for now…for a while. Her bed had suddenly become the only place of safety—the last stop before her world, her life, and lofty dreams changed irrevocably. Monica shook her head to push back the heaviness she felt coming. Too late, everything was too late!
In her warm, floral cocoon, she cursed and blamed a whole list of people and events. Nevertheless, for every one she scrutinized, there she was participating either actively or passively. What could she say? “No defense You Honor.”
The morning sounds got closer. It was obvious she would not be able to recess in here indefinitely. Pulling her knees to her chest, she began taking slow deep breaths-- (Inhale, calm- calm-calm… Exhale breathe-calmly-calmly.) Morbidly she wondered what mourning sounds her truth would create.
Springing up to face the window, Moni could see through her curtains. This should be a day of smiles, picnics, and visits…Not bombshells. If it was a dreary somber day, she wouldn’t feel like she was about to shatter the sun right from over her own family’s head. What had she beenthinking?!
Taking the sheet and comforter wrapped around her, she moved three steps towards the window, and looked out at the only neighborhood she could remember. Peering out for the last time as the Monica Carlton, everyone thought she was. The one counted on to be honest, responsible, and… (She laughed cynically)…innocent. The last moments from everyone else’s view anyway. Monica knew what they didn’t. She had cast off that personage weeks ago—if not months. She wondered briefly if she had ever existed.
At the time, all she asked for was a change, the short walk on the wild side. Hadn’t she earned, even deserved a chance to spread out a little—show her own mind and strength of will? Ileana and others pushed for the added dose of online fun for good measure. Everyone said she had a safety net. Funny, it wasn’t until she went splat; she learned no one else could catch her. The “net” others said would rescue her was imagined, merely a trick drawing on the pavement. A cruel illusion, trusted by fools.
Monica stared out the fourth story, lace-covered window, tears falling free, sighing heavily and repeatedly. Was her chest tightening? Death now would be an ironic conclusion. Flinging open the window, the chilled spring air whipped her hair and numbed her face. (How long had the tapping at the door continued before she heard it?) Numb. Numb was good. She lifted her head as she sat on the window ledge bare feet dangling, still wrapped in her beautiful new bedding.
Events out of control meant nothing. Considering the cliché of why her life, friends, and family could never be the same again; she knew it. The fact unexpectedly comforted her, a strange assurance. Then as the knocking grew more desperate and insistent, she leaned into the breeze, releasing the warmth and safety of her fresh comforter around her. Leaning in for all she was worth, knowing she could never stand to live with the unforgiving loss of pretense.