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Monday, July 23, 2012

Quiet One

It's always the quiet ones. The blacksheep that walk through life like a shadow against the movie screen. They try so desperately to fit in, moving in and out against the chaos of life. Blending, watching.

Mousie blonde hair hung across her pale face. The edges curled where she wished they would fall accenuating the manly features she longed to conceal. Dull hazel eyes darted around the crowd like an animal cornered. "How the hell do I get out of this one?" She pondered aloud. There was no need for her to worry, no one noticed she had spoken, they never did. A misfit. Like a beggar on the corner, everyone noticed it's existence, but no one cared enough to acknowledge it with kidness.

"It". A nameless face in a sea of stars. She inhaled deeply as a large man crowded into her. The aroma of sweat and weakening aftershave nauseated her. Clenching her eyes closed she counted silently to twenty. It was a trick she had learned to keep the panic attacks at bay. After the count she would breathe again and everything would feel spacious. The walls formed by large crowds would open and she would again be alone on the outside looking in.

Watching. Watching was never uncomfortable. Well, maybe occasionally. When a parent became to forecful with a child, a woman weeped thinking no one would notice, or an elderly person struggled, that was uncomfortable. Watching, wanting desperately to help, but knowing any action would only make things worse. She had been good at screwing up with the best of intentions. Her mental rolodex was filled with memories of chastisment, and utter embaressment resulting from speaking or acting outside of the "popular" way of thinking.
It was far less painful to simply observe, even the attrocities of humanity's sheer oblivion to their own cruelty.

Twenty. She opened her eyes and exhaled. The room had gotten smaller. The large man bore down on her private space. Tightness rose from the pit of her stomach into her throat. Constricting, stealing away any hope for air. Darkness began to fall in her eyes. She felt the world slip away certain in the back of her mind when she collapsed they would simply walk over her corpse. She would be there, on the ground, trampled to a pulp like roadkill on a backroad when the midnight cleaners came in. Gasping for air she surrendered.
Her body lunged forward into the burly foul smelling man who recoiled in disgust. Slamming head first into the cold tile floor, a flash of red filled her mind.
How could he do that? How could he, even a stranger, just allow someone to fall without any basic human compassion?

Like a wild fire in the wind the crimson spread through her mind. Anger, rage. A lifetime of watching, a lifetime of allowing pain, culminated inside her.
She didn't rise slowly from the ground, she leapt like a lion onto prey. Blood trickled from a two inch gaping slit in her forehead, merged with two streams from her rapidly blackening nose, and flowed freely off her chin. Arms flailing wildly in the air, she ripped at the strangers face. Claws open, she gouged away sheets of flesh. Fists balled, she hammered like a butcher to a steak.

Silent chaos. A slow motion blink. Suddenly there was space. Redness diminished. Rage receeded. Beneath her, a stranger, bloody, motionless. Shock. She tried to determine where all the blood was coming from. They sat in a river of crimson banked by terrified watchers.
Dazed, confused. What happened? Did I cause this? Why didn't anyone stop me?
They watched as the medics arrived, the police took statements, her life ended. They watched silently from the distance.
From the back of the police car she looked from face to face. Fear. So much fear. But no one dared to laugh at her now.
It's always the quiet ones. The ones that suck it all in and try to stay out of the way, that make the biggest mess in the end.
 
(C) R.M. Brandon 2012


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