Water trickles from the tap weakly, cold and numb on my hands. I slap my cheeks and stare at the puffy circles beneath each eye in the grimy mirror. Stale alcohol lingers on my breath. Distant voices blare from the hotel-room’s old TV. I can’t tell what the program is-I don’t care. It’s better than the silence.
I dry my face, dragging the rough cotton over my face. Falling on the linoleum with a small crack, the rail breaks from the wall as I throw the towel. I don’t think. I just kick it against the yellowing bath tub. I kick again and again, as the curses spill from my lips.
I am on the floor. My throat is raw with the taste of bile. Flexing my fingers, I feel jagged pieces of plastic dig into my skin. There’s a pile of them circling my aching body. I slide them into a line. None of the edges fit together anymore. I stare at the wall and the only signs of damage are the two metal hooks, which are still intact. Leaving the broken pieces, I drag myself out to the balcony, letting the noise from the TV drift from the open door. A stretch of blistering orange behind bleak buildings. The street below is empty, apart from two children who are chasing each other up and down. A boy of no more than twelve and a girl of eight. She screams as he darts towards her with a stick. I don’t understand what they are saying.
Two sets of eyes stare down at me. I can’t hear the words they whisper. Neither of them remove their gaze from my face. Knotty brown tendrils fall from the young face and tickle my cheek. Still not faltering the stare, as she lowers her face towards mine I feel her small hands curl round my shoulders. She bats away the older arms that try to pull hers away. Attempting to shake me, her face contorts with the strain. I don’t move. Then, droplets splatter on my face and in my eyes. Some fall down my cheeks and into my mouth. I can taste her salty tears. She closes her eyes slowly, tears coating her long eyelashes. An arm embraces her and she is pulled away.
I stare up at the thinning strip of sun. I cannot move. All I feel is the hard concrete beneath me. Sticky pools of crimson glue my limbs to the ground. Why did I jump?
In the breeze, my t-shirt ripples across my back and chest. My knees shake slightly as I edge my feet forward slightly. My heart beats fast in my mouth, my head, and my ears.
I whisper to the air: Just take me, just let me fly, even if I fall. I don’t belong here. I don’t belong anywhere.
I want to turn up the volume of the TV, but I have gone too far to go back. I remember the bridge. Looking down at the grey concrete I wonder, would the river have been any better?
A strangled shriek shoots my eyes towards the little girl. She is yanking her brother’s arm, pointing at me, but it is too late He sees me, too. Shaking my head, I step down, off the edge. ‘I wasn’t going to-‘ I stop because they don’t understand. With all my strength I tug the corners of my mouth upwards. But I cannot smile. Even from this distance, I can see her lips trembling. My head is still shaking. I step away from them; I don’t want their innocent eyes on me. They can’t see me, not like this.
I perch on the bed again, staring at the TV, but not watching it. Just shapes moving around, just colours. I recognise the voices…Richard Gere. I try to focus on the shapes. Slowly, the figures on the screen become clearer. It is Richard Gere. And what’s-his-name. I know the film because it’s Jeanne’s favourite.
I can feel her laughing. Her golden hair falling in waves down her back. She shouts, imitating the accent, “Did you see that bodacious set of tatas?” Laughter bursts from my lips.
What is the name of that goddamned film? I turn the TV off.
Even if I had stayed, even if she were sitting beside me in this moment, she would still be a hundred miles away. A distance I will never get back.
This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge #6
This week’s prompts were:
Homesickness by René Magritte
Also, the film I was referring to was ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’, which was where I found the inspiration of how to use bodacious in my story.