Friday, August 27, 2010

In Lila's Head (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Cat over at her blog : A Work In Progress. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: gah. It's been a krazy week and too much going on for me. So this is a bit of a rerun. No fantasy this week. Sorry! This was written for the FWC on the topic of "Empty and Full". I've spruced it up a bit, so enjoy! 

I didn’t want to hear what they said. I didn't want to know. I didn’t care to think about it either. It was easier to ignore them, blocking out everything, to try drown myself the only way I knew. If I drowned, it would be easier. Things would be simpler.

Or so I told myself.

First, it was music.

I lived and breathed through my Ipod. It was a life support I didn't let anyone near. I hadn't put new music on it for nearly a year and a half. All the songs within were haunting. They reminded me too much of him and of life and of everything else wrong with this world. But I couldn't ignore them. I had to listen.

I made more playlists in one week, than I had in the entire four years I’d owned it. Each list had a name, each name fit a mood, each mood brought a tear and each tear brought another.

Crying did pitiful little, I aged twenty years in the thirteen I had to my name. For physical abuse, it was wonderful. I bore a pounding headache and perpetually burning, achy eyes, in addition to a horribly blotched complexion.

A self-inflicted torture I was loathe to end.

The music was the a tidal wave. And now I was the one helpless, stranded and subjected to the mercies of whatever controlled it. Drowning was almost a welcome thought.

One song brought tears one day and blinding rage the next. In each moment, I was constantly surrounded by music, a shield to protect me from what I had to avoid. I listened until my ears ached, until I could no longer stand to have the headphones tangled around my neck and twined into my hair.

When the music ran out, I was forced to find something else. I didn't want to. But necessity demanded it. I could not be idle. If I was, then I would think and that could not happen. So I gave in to the need to fill the emptiness. The hollowness. The blackness. The thing that wouldn't go away.

So next, came books.

Books of all kinds, shapes, colors and sizes. I didn’t care what I read, so as long as I read. Sometimes I didn't understand what I read. My mind was occupied, reading of strange worlds and supposedly normal people, mixed in with bittersweet endings and lousy subplots. I started at one end of the library and read until my eyes burned. I whispered the words when I could no longer process them through silence and then it grew worse.

Eventually the words blurred. The perfect little lines of neat black letters, faded into the creamy whiteness of the page, as my eyes rebelled, refusing to read another chapter. I wasn't drowning again, I was being flung onto dry land. This was wrong. This could not happen. This would mean I would have to think. I could not think. I could not stand to think now.

In the absence of this new addiction, I was forced again to find a new outlet.

The only way I handled my nightmare was the very way that tore me apart. The very method keeping me alive seemed to the very thing that would kill me.

Lastly, it was words.

Everywhere on anything. Nothing was exempt. I wrote whatever came to mind on any possible surface. I filled walls with streams of gibberish and covered pages with warped poetry written in cursive print. A cursive print he'd taught me. A flowing, flowery script that made my hands clench tight in anger as I scraped out each letter to form words to try and drown me--again.

I scared people. They were starting to worry. But I couldn't stop myself. It was too easy to keep going. It was too easy to stop. It was painful to stay where it all happened. They tried to take things away from me, the Ipod, the books and then the pens.

They quickly gave the pens back when my hands had to occupy themselves otherwise. Pale pink strips of scars line my arms as I hold this new ballpoint pen and write along the white canvas of these old tennis shoes. I don't understand why I never thought to write on the shoes before. The pen is working and I am lost in the effort that it takes to form each word. I was finally drowning again. Perhaps it was working after all.

I was filled to the brim with everything necessary to stay where I wanted to be.



In my head.

My mind was never quiet, which meant I would never have to relive the horror trapped inside. Music would play in the background of my thoughtstream, as the subplots of popular novels were compared with the equally lousy endings I wrote.

Words filled my head faster than I wrote. The cycle continued until I couldn’t write another word. My head couldn’t take it. My heart couldn't stand it. I didn't dare rebel to both.

Without distractions, I heard them again. Everywhere. Cold, harsh voices. Well-meaning people. Clueless people. Hurtful people. Helpful people. Stupid People.

I wished they would drown too. Then maybe they might understand, you can't find me unless you were equally lost. I was sure of that. I'd buried myself deep enough in my head, living in my own world. Finally. I was drowning.

But they weren't letting me. They were trying to pull me back. But they're words were heartless and cruel as ever. I begged the insanity to take me away. It wouldn't.

“She’s in denial.”

“We’ll have to do something, she can’t go on like this.”

“It’s not right…can’t someone fix her?”

“If her father were here-”

I never let them finish that sentence. I ran from the room before the final words fell from the well-meaning lips. I ran for the barn and the corrals out in the back. I vaulted over the wooden fence with more energy than I had and stumbled to the center of the empty, dirt circle.

I needed space. I needed emptiness. I needed to die. No. I couldn't die. If I did, then this torture would end and that would not be right. It was not right at all. I never should've been the one to survive. I must live. And I must survive this life, even if it is killing me.


They didn’t know dad. They didn’t understand. I didn’t understand. If I’d listened to him, maybe he’d still be alive. Then I wouldn’t be wishing I was dead.

“You didn’t kill him.” Uncle Zeke hiked himself up onto the rail of the riding corral. He watched me sitting in the center on the dirt.

His words filled my head. Too full. Too much pressure. I started to trace letters in the dust with my fingers. The hands were trying to be busy on their own and I no longer had the will to direct them.

A hiccup is painful.

“He saved you for a reason.” Uncle Zeke’s shadow falls across the myriad of shapes I have traced in the dirt. He takes my hand, gently. “You were his only princess-he had to. He loved you that much.”

“To die?” I tried to pull my hand away, but couldn’t. This sudden surge of energy is gone. I am so tired. So very tired.

“He knew he would live in heaven…” Uncle Zeke pulled my 13-year-old self into a hug vaguely reminiscent of Dad. “He also knew he wouldn’t see you there if your life ended right then.”

“Stop.” The pain is multiplying. "Please stop." I can't take it. I can't think. I can't let my heart be broken again. I can't watch him hold it and rip it in two. I want to die. Please let me drown.

“No.” He held me closer. “He wanted to give you another chance, Lila. Another chance to empty your heart and give it to God. He would never have wanted you to do this to yourself.”

I sniffled, painfully. Everything hurts. Everything has always hurt.

There were more things hurting than just my heart.

“Empty.” Uncle Zeke whispered. “Let it all go.” He began to rock me back and forth in his arms. This swaying motion is like the waves of that dark night. I am drowning, I think. "Empty, Lila-love. Let it go."

And I did.

The music danced off, the books hid away, the words trickled out. "Good girl." Uncle Zeke murmured as I went limp in his arms. His rough hands smoothed away the first tears I'd cried since. He handed me a dusty, rumpled kerchief from one pocket and I cradled it to my chest. Dad used to have one with this same pattern too.

I drew shaky breaths. I feel the stormy waters calming. I held tight to the kerchief with memories I couldn't throw away. I let the memories sweep me away until my mind was empty. Now I was empty. Completely barren, devoid of all my own devices. The empty shell I tried to transform, was the cracked and broken trophy I offered to my Creator.

In the stillness of the western sky, I gave Him back my dad. I gave him my tortured heart and the soul that went with it. I begged him for a peace that slowly seeped in around the corners.

For the first time that year.

I was empty.

So He could fill me.

(c) Sara Harricharan


Yvonne Blake said... full of emotion and touching!

Kristina Rohder said...

Wow... This nearly made me cry. I don't even know what to say, except, once again, your writing has left me speechless with amazement. <3