Luciana closed her eyes, as she lay on the walkway. “No one knows why I come here. No one understands.” It stirred her soul to know how alone she was, how misunderstood. “They think I’m nuts, I know.”
As she closed her eyes, the sound of the water pouring into the overflow pipe washed away everything. Drowned out everything. All the noise. The words. The sounds. The tapping of the teacher’s pen on paper during the test, as if impatiently waiting for everyone to fail. The sound of those she knew, at lunch, and their gossip. “Gabriella kissed him yesterday! I saw it!” What did it matter who Gabriella kissed? Or even if she’d slept with him?
The sound of the water overwhelmed it all. Crushed it all into dust, memories, the past. Showed her it wasn’t real. Showed her it was gone.
The noise of the boys on the football field, kicking the ball to each other. How they tried to show off, each in their turn, put on a show, tried to do a trick. Then kicked the ball to the next boy. They knew the girls were watching, from the bleachers. Maria who always sat on the first row, and always stood when Angel kicked the ball. It was no secret, everyone knew, Maria first got naked for Angel. And she got naked for him any time he asked her.
Luciana asked her once, “Why? Why do you do that?”
“I’m going to marry him. He will take care of me. We will have a family. You’ll see.”
“But, don’t you know? Everyone knows. They say he is using you. Getting his jollies.”
“They know nothing. Nothing at all.”
Maria always watched Angel on the field. The other girls always watched Maria. And Luciana? She watched them all, and wondered why they were the way they were. And why they could not see the meaningless way they behaved.
But on the walkway, above the drain, after a hard rain, it all went away. And she could remember. Who she was, what she loved, everything that mattered to here.
At home, it was her family, mother, father, brothers, who never let her find herself. Always demanded something. Always.
“Luciana! There will be time for your homework after you have helped make dinner!” Mother always took her books, handed her an apron, and a bowl of something. “We must do our work, and take care of our men.”
She heard the words of her parents at night, after all were asleep. “That girl will never learn. She will never understand her place in this world.”
And her mother, “It takes time. She knows. She does. But she must first learn what it is a woman does. Who a woman is to be. And when she does, she will take care of her family. And they will take care of her.”
Her brothers, always, her brothers. They came first at everything. First in school. “Your brother has problems with his homework. You must help him.” “Your brother has a report due tomorrow. You must help him.” Always, it was her brothers before her.
But here. Above the drain, after the storms, it all washed away. And Luciana dreamed, once more. Of the stories in her heart. The words in her soul. Of which no one knew. And she wondered if she should ever share them with a world that was so wrong. A world where women stayed at home. And behaved. And took care of their men.
And never dreamed.
She felt the power of the water, and let the sound wash everything away. It would not last, she knew. But for a few moments. A brief time.
She was free.
Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 18th week. You can read about the challenge here. This week, I tried something different again Hope it’s worth the effort. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.