the Pain inside her: a short story

She tears madly at the pink packet of Sunshine sugar, and tiny white grains shower all over the Plexiglass table top. The water ring from her goblet of iced tea seems to attack the sugar, leaving it drenched and sticky.
“And you’ve had enough time with the menu, ma’am?” a voice rumbles.
She looks up at the tall, blonde server. “Of course. But I think I’ll have the special.” A sparkling grin sends him away.
Bodies, in the shape of a family, sink into a nearby booth. The restaurant’s too dark. And stuffy.
Really, they ought to refill her iced tea. It’s gotten all watery.

She feels it within her.
Kicking. Moving. Growing. Screaming.
Pulling, wrenching at her heart.
Sometime, she thinks, her heart will just come out of her, and will lie, panting on the floor, tired of fighting. Tired of trying to believe she can’t feel it.
Breathing. Living. Crying. Dying. Hoping.
Hoping she won’t ignore its presence. Every once in a while, it seems so easy, like she can just put a lid on the container, seal it up like it doesn’t matter, put it on a shelf somewhere and pretend it doesn’t exist. But it’s still bleeding.
Giving. Sharing.
Sharing every pain. And when she thinks it’s only her, feeling her physicalness, feeling human, then it screams out its pain, deep inside, and it’s so terribly hard to ignore the cutting.
Swelling. Carving.
Whittling her apart, making its place, just like it thinks it can, without invitation, or warning to her about its power. But yet it goes about its business.
Because that’s its job. Sometimes she wonders if it can do anything else. If it knows how.
But then she wonders: Why would something that loves me tear me into so many small shreds, spread me out and make me utterly helpless?
And so, she believes the lie that they’ve all been telling her – that it’s dead. That what she’s been feeling is only her mind playing tricks on her. Or emotions. That’s all. They pass. Surely. After she can take that crying, wrenching mass and toss it out. Like it’s nothing.
Then the emotions will go away. And then there will be nothing.
But memories – kicking.
Pulling, wrenching at her heart.

He hands her a piece of white cloth.
“You’ve dropped your napkin, ma’am. Here you go.”
“Oh! Thank you… Jerry, is it? You’ve really been an excellent waiter. Really you have.” She smiles. “I love an enjoyable dining experience. It just seems to relax me, you know. Are you featuring any desserts this evening?”
A petite menu appears from behind his back, and she orders the crème brulee.

:: written in 2002 ::

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