A wholesome Day- Dinner

Her tummy satiated, Vivienne felt unwilling to return to class. Instead, she decided she would skip school for the rest of the day and head out to the fields near Clifford’s Hill.

Swinging her satchel high in the air, she skipped across the roads and found herself in the lush greenery that covered the fields. Sighing with pleasure, she sank into the wet and verdant softness, languishing in the feel of the blades as they caressed her arms and feet. With eyes closed, she listened to the chirping of a cuckoo on a tree, far away. Her eyes were closed, lidded to protect them from the rays of the sun as they gently beat down upon her supine form.

Before long, the sun shed his fierceness and started sinking on the horizon. With a start, she opened her eyes and checked her watch. Dinner time!

Grabbing her things, she sprinted all the way home. She flung open the door and raced up the stairs. Man, she was starving!

She came back down, showered and fresh, to see her favourite meal laid out on the table. With a yelp of excitement, she sat down to eat, grabbing every item in sight.

She looked over at her parents, seated opposite her and smiled. They looked through her. She could have sworn there were tears in her mother’s eyes.

Her father reached out and touched her mom’s hand in support.

I know it’s hard, Mabel. But we really need to move on. It’s been a year now. 

Mabel wiped her eyes and nodded, with sadness. Her eyes strayed to the photo on the mantelpiece. Vivienne followed her gaze and almost choked. Her spoon clattered to the table with a loud rattle.

There sat a photo of Vivienne, with the inscription: ‘Our beloved daughter, who now lives with Jesus, but forever resides in our hearts.’

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

~~~~ The End ~~~~

©Shailaja V

This is the final part in a 3-part flash fiction piece. Hope you enjoyed it 🙂

I am a Write Tribe Pro Blogger– Blogging everyday for a year.

Today is Day 30

The Greatest Loss- #Part 3- Conclusion

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

– Maya Angelou

{This is Part 3 of my 3-part Serial story- The Greatest Loss. 

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here}

White light blinded her as she opened her eyes. Where was she? She couldn’t remember much.

Struggling to prop herself up on one elbow, she tried to shield her face from the piercing light. Looking down at herself, she saw a white robe. Scraps of memory flitted across her mind: The tears, the blackouts, the anger, the arguments, a man’s sweet face , the bridge. . .

Wait! The Bridge! She was going to jump off it! Was this it? Had she taken the plunge? Was this. . .?

Tears touched the edge of her eyelashes. She didn’t mean to do it. She would give anything to see him again, hug him one more time, apologise for all the angst and the fury. Wait, who was he? What was his name? Why was she so muddled?

Soft footsteps distracted her line of thought. The light still kept her from seeing anything, so she called out, ‘Who’s there?’

“It’s me, Gabriel,” said a masculine voice. “Are you feeling better? Can we talk now?”

‘Who are you? Where am I?’

“We’ve discussed this before, Sylvia. Don’t you remember?” his gentle voice soothed her but also made her mind race.

‘No, I can’t remember anything,’ she whispered in grief.

“Never mind, go back to sleep,” his voice continued. And, as if in a dream (or death?), she slipped peacefully back into oblivion.

~~~~

‘How is she?’

“The prognosis is the same, I’m afraid. Deep-seated dementia and schizophrenia, leading to manic-depression with suicidal tendencies. She was rather violent in the first few days after we found her, if you remember?”

‘Yes, how can I forget? I still recall the broken window panes in your office.’

“Well, that was my fault. I should have known better than to stock ancient Incan artifacts in a doctor’s office. Of course, I guess I never did anticipate them flying out the window.”

The strained expression on the other’s face made him switch his tone abruptly.” Sorry, I didn’t mean to make light of the matter.”

‘So, what now? When can I see her?’

“Not for some more time, I’m sorry. The sedative is working now and we want to gradually ease her back into normalcy. The dosage can take weeks to take complete effect.”

‘Weeks?’ His breath caught in his throat, as he swallowed a lump.

Kindness in his eyes, Dr. Gabriel touched Mark’s shoulder. “She needs time, Mark. Give her that and she will come back to you, good as new. I promise you this.”

~~~~

Five weeks later

Soft tones of flute music played in the room where she sat, wrapped in a warm rug, sipping on her lemon tea. She looked placidly out the window and watched the gentle snowflakes dancing in the air, chasing each other in a lazy pirouette. Her hair was no longer in a tight bun but fell softly about her face, framing the filled-out cheekbones which had a tiny spot of colour in them.

“Can I get you something else?”

Sylvia looked up and gazed with gratitude into Mark’s eyes. ‘Thank you, kind sir. I have everything I need.’

It stabbed him every time she called him, ‘Sir’, but he never let it show. With a beaming smile, he bowed and left the room quietly. Outside, he met Dr. Gabriel and said, ‘ She spoke to me with more emotion today.’ The childlike happiness on his face wrung Gabriel’s heart. “Of course she did,” he said brightly, not showing the emotion he really felt.

He then watched as Mark picked up his hat and gloves and left for the day. He would return the following day. And every day after that for many weeks to come. . .

snow daybreak

~~~~

Nine months later

Mark sat in the armchair next to the bed, his hand on the bed, next to Sylvia as she lay sleeping. The cool wintry breeze was lulling him to sleep and he gave in to the stupor.

‘Mark, wake up.’

His eyes flew open as he heard her voice calling out his name. She was sitting up in bed, holding his hand, smiling into his eyes. In them was the spark he had longed to see all year- the look of recognition. There was so much to tell, so much to share and so much more to look forward to, as they locked glances for the first time in nearly a year.

In that moment, on a cold winter’s morning, like the sun peeping out from behind the clouds to give the sliver of warmth, Mark embraced Sylvia, welcoming her back into his life.

©Shailaja V

The Greatest loss- Part 2

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

– Maya Angelou

{This is Part 2 of my 3-part Serial story- The Greatest Loss. Read Part 1 here}

‘I don’t know who you are anymore,’ he said, looking at her helplessly. You need to take it easy, darling. This is not doing you any good.

And who will manage the bills? You, I suppose? she spat back, anger in her face and dark circles of irritability around her eyes. Don’t you know we need two incomes to survive? How are we ever going to pay off the mortgage on this house, if I don’t work?

I never said that. All I suggest is that you ask your boss to cut you some slack. I am sure there are others who can help share the responsibility. 

Ah, so you’re the expert now? On who can do my job well? Sylvia replied, sarcasm searing a hole in the air between them.

Shaking his head, Mark turned away, sending up a silent prayer and shrugging into his overcoat, before leaving for work. At the door, he turned and looked fondly at her, trying to see the woman that he had married, less than six months ago. He sought that sparkling smile, the black curl escaping from behind her ear or that impish dimple that lit up her face. Yet, all he could see was a careworn figure, seething and fuming, hair dishevelled, smoke rising out of her ears.

Another day wasted in arguing, she muttered to herself, watching the clock’s hands move. Darn it all! She was late for work! Hurriedly, she grabbed half a glass of orange juice and eyed the toast on the table. Her eyes switched to the clock on the counter and the toast was forgotten. Half running, half stumbling, her feet carried her out the door and into the icy winter.

winter road

Once at work, she stood in the foyer, shaking the snow off her lapels. Suddenly, her eyes glazed over in confusion. Where was she? Her eyes darted about and lit upon a middle-aged woman walking down the corridor towards her. Hello, Sylvia. Bit nippy out there, eh?

Swallowing hard, she managed a smile and replied, ‘Oh yes, it is.’ Before the conversation could go further, she scurried into the warm office, lined with cubicles. Linda looked up from her desk and waved Sylvia over. Hiya! How was last night?

Last night? Sylvia asked in confusion.

Yeah, weren’t you and Mark planning to go out for your six-month anniversary?

Oh, that, she laughed nervously, twisting her handbag’s strap. It was lovely. We , er..cut a cake. Chocolate frosting, my favourite. Sylvia was shocked that she was making this up as she went along. Last night was a total blur. Why couldn’t she remember what had happened?

Sigh, I hope I find my Mr.Right soon, gushed Linda, eyes staring into the distance.

Leaving Linda to her daydream, Sylvia walked mechanically to her booth and sat down. Her head hurt, all of a sudden and she didn’t know why. She had just experienced a mental blackout and she wasn’t aware why. After sitting and staring at the blank laptop screen for 30 minutes, she punched a button on the intercom and asked to speak to her supervisor. When he answered, she said that she would like the day off, if he could spare her. He acknowledged with a ‘Sure’ and cut the call brusquely.

Picking up her hat and gloves, she walked out into the chilly winds outside and looked up and down the street. Tears stung her eyes as she realised that things were getting worse. She had kept it to herself all these days, but this was the seventh time she’d experienced the blackout.

Before she knew it, her steps had carried her to the bridge overlooking the icy-cold river near her home. The crushing weight of despair sat on her shoulders as she watched her individuality disappear. A whispered voice told her that there was an easy way out. All it took was one step forward. The sheet of ice on the surface wasn’t fully formed. She wouldn’t even feel it hit her face if she dove straight down.

Perhaps then this pain would stop and with it, the anxiety, the uncertainty and the constant stress.

Putting one foot on the railing before her, she climbed up and stood looking over the bridge at the tempting chasm of death below.

{To be concluded…}

©Shailaja V

Read the Concluding Part here.