It was cloudy again the next day. Violet lay in bed looking out her window. There was nothing more soothing than the grey of a cloudy day. Her stomach began to growl something serious but she didn’t let it disturb her mood. She continued the melancholy trip into her thoughts. She loved her family but it was getting to be a bit too much. She’s an adult. Maybe an overstatement but still, she knew something was going to have to change about her life. She just didn’t want it to. How to get there, from point A to point B, without troubling her brain, was what caused her to be uneasy. She struggled with the idea of independence. She was trapped in her paranoia, her fears of the external lives penetrating hers, toying with her insecurities and destroying them in a single breath. She felt trapped like rain drop within itself. She was hanging on a delicate leaf, holding fast until gravity slapped the reality of having it splash into tinier droplets, evaporating into the atmosphere. She would be ruined as a person that way. She knew this. Why couldn’t her family understand it? And just what was so wrong with wanting things to remain as they were? Nothing was wrong with that, except she could die before experiencing something incredible. Ever! She tried to convince herself but the image of that one drop of rain hanging on a leaf, ready to fall, betrayed any reason. A knock startled her.
Two knocks from Mom and the thud of her food tray being placed at the foot of the bedroom door beckoned her. She slid out of bed slowly and sat in a stupor of sleepy melancholy. She wiped her eyes and began the arduous journey of letting her left hand exit through the sliding slot Dad had installed at the bottom of her door. Nourishment was on the other side. You can do this, Violet. You’ve done this many times before. This is just like all those other times. She fell on all fours crawling towards the door. Breathe, Violet. Another thud sounded with a clinking sound.
“Good morning, Violet.”
“Michael… good morning.”
“Did you sleep okay?”
“Not really, but I did eventually.”
“Hmmm… are you… are you okay?”
“Yes. My life is screwed but I’m okay.”
Michael gasped and swallowed. He was used to her moods and ways. He just wanted her to be okay. He knew she was not okay. This was not normal. The conversation with Luna and George the night before had set the wheels in his head to turn at a cross velocity. This was not going to be easy but he had to try.
“Want me to hold your tray up?”
“No… well… okay.”
Violet was worried about touching his hand. Michael was counting on it. He missed her warmth. He wanted to feel his sister’s arms around him and he wanted to kiss her cheek. Violet held the knob and slid the door slowly to her right. Her breath became heavy as she contemplated the individual carton of almond milk, the closed cereal packet, bowl and utensils enclosed in a ziplock bag, a water bottle, bacon and hard boiled eggs and Michael’s hands touching her tray. She gasped.
“It’s okay, Violet. You can do this. I know you’re starving. Mom said you didn’t eat your dinner last night. C’mon! You’ve done this before. You can do it. Today is just like any other day.”
Michael lifted the tray slowly towards the opening. Violet met him half way. Her hands clasped at the tray, afraid to touch him. Michael, on the other hand, stretched out his fingers to meet hers. Her heart raced and her eyes widened as she felt his fingertips on her thumb. She jumped back and let the contents of the tray spill over onto the floor.
“Damn you, Michael!”
She yelled out, rocking herself to cope with the feeling of warmth. She was torn. She wanted to feel him but her brain reacted as if a fire would scorch her core into flooding embers and she hated it.
“Please, Violet! Take my hand! Please!”
Michael kept his arm stretched out through the opening, his hand out for hers, one eye observing her. It was a tight fit and he couldn’t fit his whole head through the rectangular space. He was satisfied to see her in the present of the moment, live, not through skype or face time. He couldn’t hold back the tears. They overwhelmed him. She sobbed along with the ache she felt, the agony that kept her apart. It kept her a piece of the missing puzzle that was here family, the incomplete canvas of love.
“Michael! I can’t do this! You know I can’t! Why would you do this to me? Why!”
She cried out through tears that burned her eyes tracing her face down to her neck. Her breaths became fast and furious, playing along with her fears, dancing in the pit of her stomach, working their way into a state of gasses, causing the numb to come to life.
“Please, Violet… I love you! I miss you! Come out and talk to me! Take my hand! Please!”
“Go away! Leave me alone! Please! Leave me be!”
“No! Take my hand! Do it! Do it!”
“No! No! No! No! No…”
Violet repeated as she took a pillow from her bed and began to strike Michael’s extended arm with it. He endured the blows until the edge of the opening dug a gash into him. He pulled his injured arm back collapsing into tears next to the door. Violet rushed to shut it and secured the latches on either side. Both siblings in parallel sadness, longing for a peace in a warzone neither wanted to be a part of. A wall of issues rendered Michael to sob. Her shadow was loud in his life. He struggled with his needs versus hers.
“Our twenty-first birthday is in two months. You have time. Will you please consider carefully, what I want for my gift?”
Michael demanded between sniffles. His brown eyes soaked red and salty, he held his injured arm close to him, sat up leaning against the wall next to the door and let out a sigh.
“Did you hear me, Violet?”
“I heard you… heard you.”
Violet’s voice was shaky and her sniffles resonated with barb wired tears. Her overwhelmed body retreated to the foot of her bed. She was exactly parallel to Michael in position and their breaths filled the space between them. Their emotional velocity reaching full throttle, they were overcome as their lungs suffocated on the struggle to individualize.
© 2018 Mel Gutiér