Friday, September 5, 2008

A Closetful of Tears (Friday Fiction)

Click here to read and share more great fiction! Fiction Fridays is hosted by Patty Wysong @ her blog, Patterings.

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The tear-stained closet walls could barely hold her shadow as she crept into their comfort once more. Life was black as the deepest slice of the ocean...again.

Coldness seeped through the tacky linoleum floor, but it was expected, that's why she'd tucked the old bathroom rug behind the shoeboxes. Leah stepped inside and turned off the light. She left the door open, just a crack, to let the last meager rays of sunlight through.

Her fingers reached for the rug and she felt along the stacks of shoeboxes until her fingers brushed softness. It was carefully unrolled and tucked in the corner. Her corner.

Leah squeezed past the shoeboxes, laundry hamper and oversized winter coats. Hunkering down on the square of warmth, she hugged her knees to her chest.

Silence reigned.

The hollow sounds of her brother's footsteps filtered through the closet walls. But they didn't care. They were only heading to the kitchen for food. They didn't know she faked a smile before she stepped out of the car. Or that she kept that same smile stuck on her face until she was saftely within her space.

She should've been outside. Doing chores. Homework. Resting.

Leah fingered the rough wool of a winter coat. The texture was comforting. She sat and waited. The sun faded and various family members stuck their heads through the door with the familiar. "Leah, where are you?"

I'm right here. Leah thought at them. Right here, just come in.

But no one ventured past the doorway. The shadow of heads passed by on the wall as life continued as norma.

I only want to talk to you. Leah pinched her toes to get some feeling into them. I just need to talk to somebody. Anybody. Please?

Her unspoken plea leapt to the front and triggered the first tear. It trickled down her cheek in solitary defiance, another mark her heart would bear. The plea sifted and settled down once more, in the box beneath her heart.

She gently wiped that single tear and smeared it on the wall. For a moment, a second tear threatened to break loose, but Leah pressed her lips together.

Not today. Not today. She willed herself. The ache started up. From the nape of her head to the center of her skull. I hate you. I hate you.

Her cellphone vibrated loudly on the desk.

Leah stumbled to her feet, crashing through the shoeboxes and the closet door. Her shaking fingers grappled with the cellphone before she could see the screen.

Soft purple lights illuminated the word she hadn't dared to hope for. Daddy.

Her real father was dead. Her step-father never called. But last week that call had come. Just when she'd needed it most. Impossible yes, necessary, yes.

Breath ceased for the milli-second as logic ruled whether it was possible for such a call to occur...again. Leah shook her head to clear away the doubt. Trembling fingers flipped it open and she put it to her ear.

"H-hello?"

"Leah?" The warmth on the other end, radiated through, warming her cheeks and sending a tingle through her frozen toes.

"You called." The tears began to spill over.

"I'm always here, Leah. Especially when you need me."

"I'm not dreaming?"

"It's okay to cry. I gave you tears for a reason."

Leah sank to the floor, curling up near the bedroom window. The tears were coming freely now. "What reason?"

"To express many emotions that words could never encompass."

"You make it sound beautiful." A salty specimen slipped through her lips.

"It is beautiful...when you are so happy you cry, there is beauty in that."

"What if I'm not happy?"

"There is beauty in the expression, my child. You will not see it now, because it is not yet your time. But there is no harm in crying. All week you have tried to be strong, but you cannot be strong alone."

"Why?"

Another tingle of warmth spread through her. Leah sniffled.

"Okay...I get it."

"It's okay, Leah...it's okay. Talk to me...."

Copyright 2008. Sara Harricharan

6 comments:

Hoomi said...

Nice implications and very touching. It works well as the short story, but I could easily picture this expanding into a longer tale.

Heh. Patty has Rachel in her story this week, you have Leah, and I have both. What are the odds?

Blessed One said...

Oh Sara, this is beautiful! Having grown up without a father, I think this was especially poignant to me. Bravo!

Dee Yoder said...

Sara...this is so beautiful. I love this image of God as our father-there just as we need Him the most. Wonderful and up-lifting story.

Joanne Sher said...

Honey, this is GORGEOUS and poignant. You are so gifted.

Yvonne said...

Sara, remember the truths of this story when you get discouraged. Your Heavenly Father is there for you anytime, anywhere...even in the middle of math or history.
He gives us friends too, when we feel low...to listen, to cry, to just be there.
I love you, lil' sister.
Vonnie

Josh said...

This was so beautiful. I loved the idea of God calling us on the phone to talk to us. That's a great way of picturing prayer. Your outstanding writing ability shines through again.