Tangible

“Do you have everything?”“Everything I’ll need, most of it I can’t take, I’ll have to get when I get there” she paused, looking over the room one last time, “that’s everything. Don’t cry.”

“Well, what else is there left for me to do? The car’s packed, and you’re all ready to leave.”

“I’ll be back, Mom, really soon.” She embraced her, more mechanically than lovingly. “December will be here before we’re ready for it, and I’ll be back…here again.” Looking over her mother’s shoulder she wrinkled her nose in distaste, she was ready to leave. She had nothing left here; she had used it all up. All that was left was the core, and she had no use for that. It was time to move on to better things, she had to get ahead. She had to.

The small buildings of hometown rolled lazily past, but her eyes were on the horizon. Just one last stop before she could be on her way; the bridge. It was an old, wooden bridge, weathered by years of rain, and was to soon be replaced. The tired rails bore scars from long-gone travelers, these marks cut deep into the meat of the beams. When she finally came to it, some nostalgic emotion compelled her to stop and search for her own brand amongst the others. Locating it, a wry smile flitted across her face, she remembered carving it. Tracing her fingers across the etching, she didn’t notice the arrival of another lonely soul onto the bridge.

“Trying to leave without a goodbye?” whispered a voice closely behind her, “C’mon Turin, that’s cold.”

She said nothing, just turned around; walking straight to the car that still idled softly. He called for her again, and again; she drove on. As the back wheel touched the last of the bridge, a tear floated down her pale cheek. Then she was gone.


Looking in the mirror, Delcie didn’t like what she saw. Pale, cat-like features glared reproachfully back; even the smile was cynical and false. This wasn’t her. Only light green eyes showed any humanity in that reflection; but they glowed with melancholy and unshed tears. Blinking them back, she turned from the mirror to the window, lost in thought. The world beyond the glass was teeming with people, movement, life; everything that was lacking on the other side of the pane. Some minuet sentiment made her open the nearest sash, as if to show some attempt to belong with the outside race of people. Sighing, the feeling passed, and once again she turned from the window to embrace the solitude. However, the moment for that had passed as well; interrupted by the welcome knocking at the door.

“Delcie, why is the door locked? You know that’s not allowed!” called a slightly muffled voice from the other side, “What are you doing in there anyway?”

Silence.

“Delcie?”

Silence.

With a loud bang the door flew open, revealing a young woman in rumpled pajamas. “Delcie! What have you done?”

The girl was seated in the middle of absolute chaos; over turned desk, broken glass, and torn paper littered the floor, and the atmosphere was tense. On her head was a lamp-shade, tilted jauntily at an angle. The scene was ridiculous.

“What have you done?” the women asked again, however the authority had left her voice, leaving only dismay.

“It was all wrong, so I fixed it.” Was the simple reply.

“You fixed it? Again?”

“Yes, I had too. That mess was driving me crazy.” Delcie looked the women straight in her eyes, smiling at the irony she was creating.

“Esther, this just can’t happen again. I can’t keep covering for you.” The R.A. looked down at the girl, torn between amusement and anger.

The girl’s smile widened, brightening her pretty face. “Esther? I’m not in the bell jar; I broke that bad boy a long time ago.” Standing up slowly she walked towards the woman, who in truth was not all that much older than herself, “I just needed a little change, a little…disorder. This room looked too perfect, cold. Now it’s warm again.”

“You can’t keep doing this…what will everyone think…Delcie?” the women replied helplessly.

“Who cares? I pay ten thousand dollars to live in this cell for a year, can’t I redecorate? Why do other people matter when I’m the one who lives in it?” the girl moved suddenly, pushing a random bit of glass just to the left of its original position, to where it would catch the rays of sunlight in its fragmented curve.

The women had watched this, and shaking her head in wonder, leaned heavily on the door-frame. “You’re crazy, you know that Delcie.”

“Crazy is in the eye of the beholder.” The girl muttered.

“Behold the poet-laureate of Boucle Hall.” The women turned to go, “clean up the glass at least.”

“Ah, Lady…don’t you worry about me. I haven’t flown over the cuckoo’s nest yet.”

“Yet being the operative word there.” Said the retreating figure.

Delcie went back to the window, laughing softly, “Yet…not yet.”

An impulse seized her, and grabbing her jacket, she walked quickly from the room and headed down the hallway.

“Lady, I’m going out.” She called into the R.A’s open doorway.

“Curfew’s in an hour. Don’t be late.” Some disembodied voice muttered out of habit, Delcie went by her own time.

“I won’t, but I have to go and pysch myself out for a little while.”

“Give the poor sap my regards.”

“Bye Lady.” She called as she left the building.


Delcie liked to walk the streets at night, when most of the crowds had dispersed. She saw the big city as a fair-weather friend, much more companionable when it had fewer options. It was almost overly friendly with the heavy air Delcie had to fight through in her journey; she felt weighed down by it, night’s breath feeling hot at her neck. When she finally reached her destination, the welcome escape into cool ventilation was ecstasy.

“Vagabond darling…where are you?” she chirped.

Where she stood in the lighted doorway, she could just make out a large cardboard box down the alley way. “Where are you my filthy little tramp? I need a counseling session. Be my Obi-Wan for the night.”

A coughing noise was all the reply she needed. Smiling to the darkness, she seated herself down comfortably; to an observer it would be clear that this was formal procedure, and almost routine.

Seeming in wait for some occurrence, girl began to hum softly, a tune unknown to anyone but those involved in the ritual. Then a voice emanated quietly from the direction of the box;

“Moon-light becomes you, I want you to know; It’s not just because there’s moonlight, although…moonlight becomes you so…”

The gentle singing continued until the song was complete. However, the humming continued for a long time afterward. Then silence prevailed; only the hushed pulsations of mutual sympathies sounded in the darkness. The pair sat on and on, neither disturbing the other’s reverie, nor intruding the other’s space; these two just remained one-another’s company in their respective solitude. They were souls wholly at peace with the world, even if only for the briefest of times.

A distant clamor broke the charmed silence, living noise stole back into the night; it was time to go. Delcie stood slowly, her small frame stiffened from the long sit. Tossing a bag down the alley in the general direction of the box, she nodded to the figure she could just make out, and smiling genuinely, she murmured.

“Goodnight drifter.”

There was a pause, then a hoarse voice, seemingly unaccustomed to speech replied

“Goodnight my dear. God bless you.”

“Say prayers for others don’t waste them on me.” Delcie turned quickly and left.

A sigh emanated from the box, one of frustration, and resignation; the man watched the girl leave his alley, and wished he could give her all the things she didn’t have; everything.

She walked on, keeping no specific path, just letting her feet take her where they would. Passing buildings, cars, empty streets; she felt her isolation, something rare in such a teeming city. Soft lights from lamps lit her hair and face, giving almost an ethereal glow to the young visage, however marred by humanity it was. However, in some twist of irony, this girl was more beautiful in her flawed persona than in her heavenly one; perfection was cold, but disfigurement at this degree was warm with humanity. The rawness of all her shortcomings, the depth to which they were imprinted on her very being, was beauty at its truest clarity. This thought that she was divinely human never crossed her mind; it was almost a subconscious understanding, one that she was at peace with. Her push to achieve flawlessness had ended sometime ago, leaving only physical scars in its wake. These she did not cover, rather she cherished them as her most redeeming adornments, the ones that had saved her very soul.Without realizing it, she had come to a determined stop, and could not will herself to go any further. Mystified, she turned and tried to gather her bearings, finally seeing what had halted her; a church. With some misgivings, she squared her shoulders and walked to the door, which for some reason was unlocked. Pushing it open, she found the huge chapel dark, except for one lit candle. Delcie watched it flicker, watched the glow it cast on the surrounding wall, felt the gentle warmth it offered to the huge bareness that surrounded it. She watched as its flame burned out after all the dancing, and watched as the last traces of smoke dissipated, she watched until all she could see was blackness. Then she floated slowly to the long row of pews, choosing the one closest to the altar. For the first time in a long while she prayed. Weak sun began to bath the gray from the walls, restoring the pure whiteness to their faces. With a shaking hand, Delcie returned the flame to its extinguished wick. Finally, she gave the church one last look, then exited. The walk back home was long, her having wandered miles off the beaten path in her reverie. When she made it back to the dorm building, it was with weary legs that she began to scale the side towards her open window. Once on the sill, she rested, watching the awakening city bloom beneath her; the Knighting-gale’s song flowing almost seamlessly into that of the lark; it was day. The final bruises of dark night faded from the face of the sky, leaving only roses on her cheeks. The heart was always softened by such a transition, and Delcie hardly noticed the need to wipe tears from her eyes. Relishing the influx of joyful alertness into the environment, Delcie felt her exhaustion ebb from her. This ritual was repeated every morning at the window, and for many nights both previous and following this one, her head had not rested. It was far too busy, over-whelmed by feelings and thoughts trying to juxtapose themselves upon her conscious. These imprints would not be sated within dreams, they now demanded the awakened mind for interview. They engulfed the girl’s psyche, shaking and rattling the core for some resolution, some motion to be set that would settle matters once and for all.“Hey, don’t jump.”

“Damn!” With a bang, Delcie fell from the window, crashing onto the floor. Lying there, she glared in the direction of the bed, “Why’d you just sit there so long?”

“You looked busy, and I didn’t want to interrupt. Sorry if I scared you.”

“You didn’t,” she lied, “what are you doing in here anyway?”

“I could ask you the same thing Turin. This place is a wreck, not your style.”

She stared at this person in disbelief; was he really here, or was she only imaging it? He had changed so much, grown, but he was still the same person. The same dark eyes looked down at her, the same easy smile, but something in those eyes, something in that smile had changed. They lacked depth, they felt uncomfortable. Unsteady, she tried to gain her feet, but they failed in the attempt and she fell to the floor once more.

“Here let me.” He offered his hand, but she hesitated in taking it. The replying look on his face sobered her quickly. She rose without assistance, but took a step back, extending the space between them as much as possible. While his inquiring look continued to study her, she looked at the floor. “Let me.”

“Let you what?” she said, trying to sound nonplussed, “Why are you here?”

“Because of these.” He said, pulling a package from his jacket. Looking down at it disdainfully, he threw them towards Delcie as if it burned his hand. Awkwardly she caught it, and unwrapping it, she looked up at him in surprise.

In her hands were several dozen creamy envelops, all bearing the same words; in neat scrawl an address, in bold red print “return to sender”; hastily she re-wrapped them, tossing them on the desk that had been up-righted. Her expression attempted to remain neutral while she was being silently upbraided by her companion.

“Well?”

“Well what? Nothing. Those letters aren’t a logical reason to come tearing up here after me. You couldn’t have waited two more days for me to come home?” she said with some gravity.

“Why didn’t you write me back? You didn’t even open them.” His voice was pained. “Not even one.”

“I didn’t want to hear what you had to say. Didn’t I tell you before I left to not contact me? Didn’t I ask for space?”

“Yeah but…”

She cut in, “And still you come up here? Why? Why would you do that? We’re done, over with…Why did you come?”

“Just to see you I guess.” He said lamely.

“Well then you’ve accomplished you’re mission, now go.” She pointed at the door. His eyes followed her gesture, coming to a horrified stop at the sight of a long pale scar upon her arm. In the early morning light it had taken on a silvery glow against the snow of her skin.

“What is that?”

She defensively she crossed her arms, covering the wound, and looked anywhere but in his eyes, “What?”

“Delcie, the scar, what did you do to yourself?” he said, attempting to seize her arm. Closing his fingers in a vice-grip around her cold skin, he pulled the resistant limb into a ray of red-ish light that flowed through the pane. His question had been rhetorical, so she didn’t bother answering, just watched his kaleidoscope expressions change in wry amusement. Gently, he traced the mark, then taking her other arm, he bent his head down slowly to kiss each in a passionate kind of sentiment. The cringing of the owner’s body made him pull back.

Delcie had turned her head, in an uncomfortable, but not disgusted way. The boy was repelled by her actions, and stepped back, increasing the space between them. “Why?”

Looking him squarely in the eyes, she said “I wanted too much”. Quietly, she blinked back a tear, and turned towards the open window. Outside the world was bright with wakefulness, with the purest infusion of life commanding their labors to begin. The momentary stillness of dawn was replaced by the hustle of morning, the rushed expectance of what the day would hold. There would be no rest for many hours now. Only inside was that languidness remain, sluggish in the air above the girl’s head. Space was thick between the two beings within that room, even though they were only feet apart. In spite of his shock, at his core he had fathomed such an act out of girl before him. She had always wanted more, unattainable amounts of it. Life just did not fulfill her desire, her lustful nature. As long as he had known her, she had been wholly unsatisfied. However, now the aura around her had shifted, and in those brief moments that she had dwelled somewhere between life and death, she had found her satisfaction, had atoned for her covetousness of divinity, had supplicated for that dusty existence of early life. She was vindicated.

“Oh is that all?” he said

She smiled at him ironically, “Yes, that’s all.”

Glancing at her quickly, he deflected a roguish grin towards his shoes.

“So you’re not surprised by it are you?” she asked, perplexed by his nonchalant manner. Turning from the window, she fixed her keen eyes on his expression, studying every alteration.

“Not at all, you were always a little blasé when it came right down to it; besides, nothing you do surprises me.” He ended untruthfully.

“Okay Pinocchio, whatever you say.” In a tense way they laughed, both feeling the weight of unuttered questions baring down on them. After a pause, she said “I lied, I’m not coming home for awhile.”

“Why not?” he asked, his disappointment etched across his face.

Evasively, she turned again towards the window, “I just think it would be better for me to stay here.” Hearing him take steps towards her, she quickly faced him, “Anyways, you’d better be going. It’s a long drive home.” Her dismissive tone stopped his advance; his expression grew cold.

“Sorry for intruding, I didn’t realize how unwanted I was.” Hastily, he grabbed his jacket and fled the room. Delcie watched him go, then stared at the impression he had left on her bed

All the feelings that had been at war in her mind had declared a shaky armistice; she wandered the hallways, feeling trapped within an empty maze that had no outlet. Seeking space, she headed outside; it was a fine spring day, the delicious amour between winter and summer in the zenith of its passion. The softest breeze teased the curls on her neck, and she felt happy for no reason. Once again, she walked the city, except today she willingly shared it with everyone. Delcie wanted company, but amongst strangers. Pressure to find herself didn’t demand anything in the presence of strangers. Aimlessly she strolled, too busy studying passers-by to notice her path. As often happens on crowded streets, she soon found herself colliding with another body; momentum pushed her into a wall, leaving her breathless.

“Watch where you’re going!” yelled some faceless voice.

“I’m trying to.” She muttered, getting ready to stand.

“Are you okay?” asked a hand that was extended before her.

Delcie blinked in wonder at the apparition, then reached out for it, secretly marveling at its reality. “Yeah, nothing hurt but my pride.” She felt herself being tugged upward to her feet. When she looked to address the saving hand’s owner, she saw no one, that person having already disappeared into the crowd. Shaking her head, she returned to her journey, realizing that the help she had received was merely a formality, and becoming jaded by it. People in this city didn’t have time to stop for long, unless they had to.


“Ms. Turin, you’re late again.” Said the receptionist.

“Really? I thought this was a walk-in.” she quipped.

“No, this is a psychiatrist office, not a drive-thru. The doctor will see you now.”

“I can walk in?” she said.

The receptionist narrowed her eyes, saying nothing but pointing towards the doorway. Delcie smiled charmingly at her, then continued out of the lobby and into the doctor’s office, leaving the door ajar.

She studied the office before completely crossing the threshold, getting a feel for her new therapist. Once again referred to a different specialist, she wondered that she even took the time to show up, it would end the same way; the doctor would probe her mind for answers that legitimized whatever theories he had from reading her file, diagnose her, and when this analysis fell short of the true causes of neurosis, quickly refer her to someone else. This office struck her as different though, the vibe was different, the flow of the room lacked the preverbial clinical feel; it was comfortable, intimate even. She walked towards the desk, seeing pictures of family, pets, and even a few novelty pieces of bric-a-brac. Even the view was picture-esque; this wasn’t an office, it was a club-house for the crazy, a place to divulge secrets, and to be sworn into the society for the demented. Delcie hoped she’d get the handshake down.

“You want to have a seat?”

The doctor had been watching his subject with child-like interest; he was enthralled by her movements, and was anticipating the chance at further study. Crossing the room to his desk, he pulled a thick file from nowhere, opened it and began to skim its contents. After several minutes of perusal, he tossed it lightly into the trash-can and looked across towards his patient.

“Sit. By now you know the routine.” He smiled mockingly, however the girl seemed to relax a little; at least enough to take the chair across from him, but not enough to stop her calculating stare, measuring him up. However, he was doing the same. “Well, Delcie, what brings you here?”

“A referral. How about you?” she returned, narrowing her eyes.

“An appointment.” He replied, choosing to ignore her witticism, “Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? I see from your file that you’ve had a road-block of sorts…”

“You can drop the euphemisms doctor,” she cut across, “they waste time.”

“As you wish, I see that you’ve had a breakdown, one that was long coming according to your other doctors. Apparently you tried to commit suicide, and haven’t recovered as thoroughly as those specialists wanted.”

“Thanks for the summary, pray continue.”

“I also see that you’ve been difficult, even impossible to treat; mainly because you refuse to comply with orders. Why is that? Don’t you want to get better?” he asked. She could feel his eyes penetrating her mind, searching for answers before she gave them.

“No, I just want to do it on my own terms. I’ve read The Bell Jar, I’m wise to your game. I haven’t met one of you guys who were actually interested in helping me, you just want to prove that you’re right, that you’re some hero saving a poor crazy damsel from the evil monster of her mind. Maybe I don’t want to be saved, maybe I want to plunge into that abyss.”

“More like stage dive.” He said evenly, determined to keep professional.

She smiled, “Maybe I’m supposed to suffer through this so I can see more clearly. I was never as alive when my mind was pristine, I was dead to everything. Then I woke up.”

“Well, then. I want to help you.”

“I don’t know where I’m trying to get.”

“You, like everyone else your age, are trying to find a place in this world; you’re just doing it a little more unconventionally than others.” He finally smiled sincerely. Delcie noticed how wonderful he looked when he smiled like that. The goodness radiating from his eyes lit him up, made him beautiful. Those eyes that were warm as summer’s sky, they made her lose any qualms she had about him. He could be trusted.

“Well, I guess I really don’t have a choice. The school said if I didn’t get help they’d have to suspend me; can’t have anyone unstable of campus. Safety reasons and all that.” She said, trying to sound nonchalant, “so I guess you’ll have to do Doc.”

“It’s Doctor…” he started

“No, just Doc.” She interrupted again, “I’m bad with names. One of many flaws.”

“Everyone has flaws Delcie, its human nature.” He said kindly.

“I know, and that’s what I’m trying to be.”

“What? Flawed?”

“No, human.” Was her simple reply, a sheepish smile flitting across her face.

The doctor met her with a disarming grin, “Delcie, being human is something to aspire to. So many people are trying to be gods, it’s nice to come across a person so wholly invested in being exactly what she was designed to be. ‘To thine own self be true.’”

“Hamlet, right?”

“Yes.”

“A fellow kindred spirit.” She said, noting the halo that was now prominent atop her savior’s head. He was to be her godsend, and she recognized her answered prayer.

He shook his head gently at the young girl, not out of pity, rather out of understanding. They contemplated one another for a few minutes in silence, seeing the work that would be need to reach whatever end they were to have. Finally the silence was broken by the ringing of the phone; the sanctuary dissolved back into a simple office, and the change was registered by each. Reluctantly, the doctor reached for the phone, looking apologetically at his patient;

“This is Doctor Cicerone speaking.”

The receptionist’s warbling voice echoed out “Doctor, your one o’clock is here.”

“Alright, send him in.” he placed the phone down smartly, then turned his attention back to the girl before him, beholding her glorious beauty for the first time as a whole, “Delcie, I think we need to meet often, until you’re ready to go at it alone. When are you available?”

She smiled, “I’m free everyday for a month, winter-break.”

He pulled out a slip of paper, wrote hastily across it and handed it over. She read then nodded, rising to leave. With one last pleased smile, she exited. A few moments later, the receptionist entered, starting at the doctor.

“Delcie Turin…?”

“I know exactly what you mean.” He said dismissively, “Bring in the next victim Glenda.”


“Everyday?”

“Yep, everyday. Apparently I’m damaged goods, more than we thought.” She said with a wry smile.

“But you like this one?” The R.A. was in disbelief, Delcie never liked any doctors.

“Yeah, he’s different Lady. He wants to help me, not himself.”

“Wow, high praise coming from you.” She smiled.

The two were in the R.A’s room, the woman seated on her bed, the girl on a chair by the window. It was a neat room, not overly tidy; thoroughly lived-in, and filled with personality. Delcie loved this room, felt at home here. To her, this Lady was an older sister, a mentor. Pretty enough, she was confident in everything, under-control, and steady. Wholly apart from such qualities, Delcie was intoxicatingly beautiful, unpredictable on the best of her days, and often overcome by the under-currents that rippled life’s pond. Everything shocked her, and she was jaded because of this, however, she was more pained when life was banal than when it wasn’t. Being omnipotent to the hypocrisy only brought infuriation, not in-sight. It was impossible for this girl to develop into a mature state of being because it meant a general acceptance of life’s twists and turns; she still resisted acknowledgement that some things just are for no reason. The contrasts in personalities drew these two girls to each other; they bonded over their differences, and learned from them. However, it was these differences that kept them in different phases of life; one in the beginnings of womanhood, the other in the eternal climax of girlhood, and nothing could bridge that gap.

“Not really. If you met him, you’d see the same thing.” Delcie replied.

“I don’t read people the way that you do. You really see people.”

“What? Like in the Emperor’s New Clothes?”

“Yes, you see people exactly as they are, in the truest sense.” The women replied seriously, even while the girl laughed at the comparison. “It’s a gift.”

“Not always. Sometimes lies are easier to live with.” Delcie, looking out the window, began to lose herself in thought.

“But you’re better for what you see. It keeps you grounded.”

“And always surprised. People shock the hell out of Me.” she said truthfully, “I sometimes wish people could hide themselves from me, I’m tired of bared souls. They are never what you expect; I see those flaws, I can’t take my eyes off them, can’t focus on the redeeming qualities that mask them to other people. I can destroy a saint for some secret sin. Idols are ripped from pedestals before my eyes, betrayed by transgressions. I humanize people, and I have been sobered by it. I am shocked that so many other pristine people are just as flawed beneath the surface as I am.”

“You bring ‘don’t’ judge a book by its cover’ to literal meanings.” The lady said. “That’s why people don’t like you.”

“Really? I thought it was because I was crazy.” She said, trying to lighten the mood. “Let’s go do something, I’ve been too serious for one day, I’ll get wrinkles.”

“God forbid.” The lady said, self-consciously rubbing a hand across her own forehead.

“Hey, I’d pay money to get old enough to have wrinkles.” The girl said, giving the women an upbraiding look.

The women smiled, feeling foolish for the involuntary movement of her hand. “You’re right. Let’s get out of here.”

Grabbing jackets, they ambled leisurely out of the building with no destination in mind. Spring brings a frivolous absence to the mind of young people, causing the unshakable desire to drop everything and just wander. Those particular girls were not by far the only persons to find a random ramble through the city as a welcome tonic to the drudgery of work. The bright sun above seemed to be a luminescent Moses ushering his people out of their enslavement and into the freedom that a warm spring afternoon offered. With quick, energetic pace the peoples migrated to and fro and up and down the town. There was no singular distinguishing feature to any of them, for they were all on an identical quest; the search for better things, the treasures so long hidden by Winter’s icy shadow. The air was succulent with the promises of the warmer season, and the people were famished. With greedy hearts, they took the best that was offered, and still were not quenched, calling for riper prizes than those before them. Winter was the time of hording, misering all the scraps, and the Ebenezers of the great city were wise in the best ways of this art. Spring brought on the opportunity to gain a fresher plunder, possibly higher in the tree than those fruits previously picked. Spring brought a rush of desire, of avarice of the flesh as well as of the bank. The young girl saw the hunger in eyes, so many eyes, and she too felt the thirst for more things, those unattainable things just a branch out of reach. Unlike the others, she felt disgust for the gluttony of this season, and checked her lusty thoughts. She wanted to leave the city.“So, where are we going?”“Away.” Was a the simple reply“Never land?”“Yeah, I figured we should give MJ a shout out.”“Really Delcie, where are we going?” there was a hint concern in the older companion’s voice.The girl smiled, but continued to gaze directly ahead, letting the question drift out of the window unanswered. Silence persisted, uninterrupted by either party. Peaceful quite with the buzz of over-active life slowly ebbing from the air around them. Murmuring softly on the breeze, the melodic whisper of the girl’s voice uttered “Good Vibrations.”The older girl laughed loudly, breaking the tranquil soundlessness with a pleasant, throaty rumble. With the white noise of the city fading and the world becoming smaller and closer, the two girls rode on and on and on.

“We’re going to the woods, so we can talk and be alone for once.” Delcie finally answered.

“Why? We’re always alone.”

“No, we’re surrounded on all sides. I can’t stand that racket anymore. I’ll scream if I have to hear it. I’ll kill myself…” feeling the R.A’s eyes on her, she quickly turned on the radio, trying to take the focus off of herself. The other girl flicked the off switch, deafening the crisp notes that staled in the air all to quickly.

“Don’t joke about that, please.” Her tone was serious.

“Why not?”

“Because you might be able to make light of it, but its still all around you. You haven’t washed your hands of it yet. It’s not funny.”

“What do you mean? I have no blood on my hands.” Her voice came out harsh, not her own, “I survived that night and I haven’t thought of it since. I’ve changed.”

“No you haven’t” the car was halted on the side of road.

“What?” Delcie’s voice had a deadly edge to it.

“You are the same, except now you have big bloody scars down your arms. You can’t have an epiphany when you have just attempted to kill yourself. You can’t trade in a life for a new one. You are the same Delcie Turin who was alive for the last nineteen years, the only thing that is dead is the lies you told yourself so you could sleep at night.”

“Thanks for the diagnosis, but I’d rather get that shit from a paid professional.” In a violent motion, the girl swung out of the car, nearly taking the door off the hinges in her movement, and ran full kilter down a rocky trail leading from the big road. Wind whistled in her ears, and dust blew into her eyes, blinding her to everything but those words. Those awful, truthful words. Running running running, but she could feel her assailant closing in. She came to two paths, winding out of sight, the poetic roads that lay before most unseen. Hesitation, and then, veering left, she continued to flee. The path had appeared easier, though gray, it had been worn by heavy traffic. Previously whistling, the air changed, pulsating with the wretched breath of useless toil; the air was her lungs, drawing jagged drags from the smoky atmosphere that swirled in circles around her head. The road began to narrow, to be strewn with fallen branches that caused the girl to stumble in her panic, the trees closed in, stifling her, the bramble became so dense, so overgrown she was forcibly reminded of the description of the fallen Usher’s yard’ everything was putrid with the decay of ages. As she ran, Delcie became conscious that she had been caught on a thorn bush she had been laboring to pass. In her manic haste, she pulled and fought and struggled to free herself, but she only became increasingly ensnarled in the barbs that ripped into her flesh. With one tremendous heave, she extricated herself, feeling the thorns cut deep into the softness of her arms, torso, and legs. The momentum of the struggle brought her down to the hard earth. Taking the briefest moment to observe the damage done to her body, she was horrified by a vision of streaming lines of blood, issuing from two identical ravines in her forearms. The blood would not be stemmed. Try as she might, she was soon covered by it. Raising herself up, she ran, leaving a trail of crimson stains in her wake. Turning to see if she was being pursued any longer, she felt the uneven ground give way, heard her footsteps echo differently. She was on the bridge, the old wooden bridge. It was altered, the river below was dark, fiery and glowing. Everything was screaming in anguish, the air was full of wave upon wave of horrible screaming anguish. Sulfur fumes filled her nostrils, her thoughts, her heart. Then she saw it. Standing before her was him, the person whose sight brought the girl to her knees. The figure before her pulled her upward roughly by the arms, shaking her until her eyes rolled.

“You can’t hide from the truth. You can’t escape it. You’ll never change. You’ll never change! Bleed, it makes no difference. You want too much. You’ll never change Turin, never…never…never…you can’t even feel it.” Savagely he pressed a finger in each gaping wound on the girl’s arm, relishing the screams that seemed to come from the cuts themselves. The shaking grew rougher, “Open your eyes, see where you are! Open them!”

“Open them…” the command rung in her ears, compelling her to do as it said. Weakly her eyes fluttered, taking in light, soft light. She was lying down on a bed, or was it a couch? Reality flooded over her, she was in the doctor’s office, she was safe. “Delcie, are you okay?”

No answer escaped her lips, and the girl began to sob uncontrollably. The doctor mustered a small, kind smile and placed a hand on his patient’s quaking shoulder. “Hypnosis is a no-go then, huh?”

Weakly she returned the smile, and shook her head. Laughing dryly, the doctor went behind his desk and began to write in the new file he had created. “Do you still not sleep Delcie?”

“No, and you’ve shown me why I can’t… I can’t face that every night.” She murmured, reaching for a tissue to wipe dry her damp cheeks. As she calmed down, she became aware of the cold sweat that soaked her clothes and her skin.

“You need to sleep. People who suffer from sleep deprivation can’t function correctly or respond to things correctly, even therapy.” His eyes flitted quickly to his patient, and then drifted back down to the sheaf of papers before him. “I’m going to prescribe some sleeping pills for you, see if they help at all.”

Anxiety furrowed the girl’s pretty brows and she shook her head in silent response. The doctor wrote out the prescription, pretending to not have noticed her reaction. “Take two of these every night before you go to bed. Doctor’s orders.” Fiddling around his desk, he eventually reclaimed his seat across from her. “So, when was the last time you did sleep?”

Delcie stared absently out the window, thinking. “About two weeks ago, but I haven’t slept well in about a year.” Unconsciously she rubbed the scars upon her forearms.

“A year?” he said, shocked. “And you’re just getting help now?”

“A year,” she continued dreamily, as if the doctor had not spoken, “I remember the last time I did.”

“When exactly?”

“The night I killed myself. When I went unconscious, that was the last time. From the time I woke up in the hospital I haven’t slept well.” Turning, she smiled sheepishly over her shoulder and hugged herself. “I slept like the dead that night.”


It had been exactly eight hours since she had left the doctor’s office, had picked up her prescription, had entered her disheveled room, and had sat down on her bed. The bottle of pills was directly across from her, perched menacingly atop the formerly overturned table. For the last hour, the two figures had been sitting in exactly this position, a tense silence pressing heavily in the space between them. It was a quite battle of wills, more of an internal struggle truthfully; body verses mind, need verses want, trepidation verses temptation, and human curiosity verses common sense. It was a war that had been raging since the prescription had been filled. The living figure seemed to reach a decision, and shaking her head, got up and made her way towards the open window. Upon reaching the sill, a conflicting emotion betrayed the mind’s resolve, and she turned her head back towards the bottle. Moments passed, then the figure willed herself to look back towards the window, back towards the peaceful night. The moon was crescent into a teasing smile; the heavens were mocking the weakness of man. A tormented sigh escaped the figures lips, and pulling away from the window, she walked towards the bottle, resigned to her choice. As she placed the pills in her mouth, she hesitated, watching her self in the mirror before her; the eyes of the reflection flashed gently and slowly smiled. A second more passed, and then she swallowed and felt both relief and defeat as she washed the bitter taste down with water. Falling back upon her bed, she slowly sank into beautiful oblivion.

Brilliant light streamed through the window, it was morning, bright and warm, drenching the room in it’s soft glow. Delcie felt herself being roused by the day, pulled from the deep chambers of sleep, and surfacing, she became aware of how rested she felt. A sleepy smile stretched across her face as she rolled over and flexed her seemingly water-logged limbs, still heavy with fatigue. Glancing at the clock beside her, she was surprised to see the later side of eleven flashing before her eyes.“Did I really sleep this late?” she wondered to the room at large. She pulled herself out of bed and ran to the bathroom, filling the tub with steamy water to prolong the gentle weariness that graced her body. Sinking up to her chin, the heat billowed around her, embracing her body in glorious soothing heat. She felt relaxed for the first time in a long while. Only once a chill stole into the water did she dare pull herself from it, and toweling off, she wandered slowly back into her room to dress and dry her hair. The heat of the day was flowing in from the window, helpfully suggesting ideas to fill her time. Delcie swatted away the pestering gnats, and dreamily opened her closet in quest for something to wear. Pushing past suits and skirts and other expensive, beautiful clothes, she reached into the depths of the hangers to recover a soft cotton dress, faded and forgotten with time. She smiled at the memories long sewn into the soft blue of the garment. Coursing with nostalgia, she pulled it quickly over her head and dashed to the mirror. It fell shorter than it once had; with a worn looking appeal it hugged her small frame with loving familiarity. Laughing aloud, she noticed that she still had a towel swathed about her head, taking on the appearance of a fortune teller. Quickly, from long practice, she began to style her hair, however something stopped her mid-comb. Recovering the recently discarded towel, she rumpled her hair, letting the natural waves taste freedom for the first time in years. Her face glowed with happiness, she radiated it. For the once, she felt beautiful.

“Knock knock.” Said a voice quietly. Delcie whirled around, startled by the sound. It was him again, standing there in her room. He hadn’t left after all. Pausing for a minute he smiled awkwardly and continued, “So I see I’m still persona non grata around here. I’ll leave.” Quickly he abandoned the doorway and escaped to the hallway.

“No, wait!” she called, surprising herself. Hearing the footsteps hesitate, she went hastily towards the empty doorway, and looking down the hall, offered a shy smile to the person she found, “Please, come back and talk to me.”

Returning the shaky smile, he followed the girl back into the room, where she was waiting for him. There was a stiff air between the two as they sat down, her on the bed, him on a chair across from her. Several minutes passed before either spoke aloud, the voluminous silence saying thousands of things all at once. When she braved to steal a glance at him, she found his eyes fixed on her in a pensive way, boaring into hers, seeing everything. Quickly she looked her feet.

“I thought you left.”

“You can’t get rid of me that easy Turin, you should know better by now. I’m nothing if not persistent.” He said in an off handed way, his eyes still fixed on her. “You look different since the other night, you look better.”

“Thanks I think,” she said, smiling down at the floor, “I love half ass compliments, there just so sincere.” She began to play with her rings, an old nervous habit.

“You look good Delcie, that’s the truth. The other night you didn’t look so hot. That’s also true.”

“Well thanks for breaking it down for me Iler.”

“No problem, Delcie…” he broke off.

Annoyance flared up inside of her, stealing her poise. She looked up at him, shaking her head, “What’s this shit? Suddenly you and I are on a first name basis? Suddenly we’re friends, and you want me to confide in you? Tell you all my problems and you’ll pat my back and make it all better? I’ve got a shrink for that Iler; I pay him to listen to me bitch about my life and my troubles. I don’t need to share with you.”

“You don’t pay him.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me, you don’t pay him. You’re parents do.” A small smile flitted across his strong features, teasing her.

“Shut up smartass. You always pick the wrong times to be funny.” She tried not to smile. “What do you want anyways?”

“To be with you.” Was his simple reply.

“Fine, let’s go then.” She stood up suddenly, surprising him.

“Where?”

“Anywhere, I’m tired of this room.” She reached the door, “are you coming?”

“Yeah, I’m coming.” He moved quickly, closing the distance between them. She smiled at the nearness of him, it was familiar, it was normal. Quietly they left her building and entered the busy streets, feeling out of place. Everything around the two seemed to be fast forward in movement, jagged in lines, coarse and cold and unnatural. They wandered leisurely, taking in the sights with no general path, just a refreshingly random ramble. Crossing the street, he stepped too early and instinctively she pulled him back, laughing at her reaction and his response. When he reached for her hand several blocks later, she didn’t pull away, instead moved closer.

“I thought you didn’t like PDA.” He questioned teasingly.

“Things change.” Was all she said, her expression replying everything else. Seeing disbelief on his face, she pulled him to her and kissed him. Drawing apart several long moments later, they regarded one another. Fear flared inside of her, and she would turn away, but he embraced her and made her forget, everything. All she could do was feel.

There was a rush, a blur of movement, of clothes that fell like feathers upon the floor, of light and dark and pain. And she let him take her, let herself take his warmth into her, submerge her, overwhelm her. He was above her, his eyes thrusting deep into hers, beyond them, into her soul. For the first time she let him take her, all of her, not just the outer most layer. For the first time she made love with something tangible, something real. This was man’s truest pleasure; this is what he was made for. And after the pair had sated their passion, they slept in each other’s arms; they dreamed in each other’s arms, they lived in each other’s arms.


“Tell me.” He whispered in her ear. “Tell me everything.”

Closing her eyes, she felt a tear fall down her cheek. “Do you love me?”

“Yes.” He murmured, hugging her closer.

For a few minutes she listened to the steady beating of his heart, so close to her ear. The rhythm beat a gentle tattoo on her soul and sighing she began to speak.

“You remember how I was. I was driven, I wanted everything. For as long as I can remember, I’ve known that I wanted more, my appetite was insatiable. I had to conquer the world, nothing less would satisfy me. So I did my damndest to get out of that town, out of my family, they weren’t enough for me, you weren’t enough for me. And I came here, and I met my competition, and I wasn’t good enough. It killed me, despite everything, they were still better, they still had more. They didn’t deserve it. So I pushed and pushed and clawed my way to the top, and left behind everything that held me back and down. I left God, I left you, I left myself. And I made it. I was number one. I was the top of my class, my papers were famed, my work was brilliant, they envied me! They wanted to be me. And I was so high, so elated by all of this, that I didn’t notice at first…”

“Didn’t notice what?”

“I didn’t notice that it wasn’t enough. I came back here, and I looked at myself for the first time in months. I saw what I had become. It wasn’t enough, I was still unsatisfied. The next few days I sat in here, and I went over every paper, every word, every sentence, and it wasn’t enough. It still wasn’t everything, it was empty, it was flawed, it was mediocre even. It all crashed around me, I wasn’t any better. After all of that I still wasn’t anybody. You can’t even imagine the thoughts that haunted me. It wasn’t enough. I had sold my soul, my body, my life to them and still they didn’t want me. I wasn’t enough. And then I was looking at myself again, and I saw these” she looked at her scars, “and with every drop that flowed I felt more unattainable, more perfect, more godlike. All of the money and fame and clothes had never given me this feeling, this euphoria. I was above them with every ragged breath I drew, and finally I was completely separate from them, untouchable. And then I woke up.” Tears began to flow down her face, wetting his chest and the sheets with salty anguish. “And I was warm, and I was alive, and I hurt. I still hurt, and I’m still flawed. I’m alive.”

Tangible

Taylorh

Joined January 2008

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