Silver

Feb. 19th, 2015 01:32 am
fodschwazzle: (Sandy hole)

With a sacred synchronicity, she moves.

When she's six, the mirror above her bed sings with admiration. It watches the cycle of the young girl's clutter as it spreads across a bedroom floor before fluttering into tight boxes again. This pattern is holy. This pattern is protected.

Emily loves beads, so beads become everything. The smooth on smooth texture of a marbled bead against her soft fingertips is equal to the agitation of small hands trying to nudge a bit of string through the tiny hole in the center. The sea of colors tossed and lost about the carpet is equal to the sound of her giddy, raspy breaths when a bracelet is done. Beads scatter from the folds of her skirt as she bounces up and races off to brag about her achievement with a bigger grin than words can grasp. Her hair bobs around her tiny shoulders as she skitters through the door. Peals of laughter echo under the door as she jumps down the stairs.

The Silver in the mirror watches.

She walks through the door again with an echo of her previous face played around little teeth biting a lower lip, cheeks beginning to flush red. A tall woman follows her and puts her hands on Emily's shoulders and gives her a hug. The woman tries to get Emily to open her right hand, but Emily won't--there is a determination in her teeth. When the woman walks away, Emily gathers her beads into miniature, color coordinated drawers. A gruff rumble from below rattles the mirror, and the drawers jolt in the child's hand, throwing beads on the floor. Emily's face falls into her pillow and makes a sound that shouldn't exist.

The Silver observes without understanding.

The sacred patterns shift, retaining a semblance of what they used to be. Instead of nice, neat boxes, clutter crawls under the bed and into places that it cannot be reached easily. The bracelet is behind the night stand, wrapped around one wooden leg. The girl sees her reflection at nine and assesses. It's fine. Pretty dresses still happen on occasion, but brilliant colors turn into simple patterns in shirts. Stripes and logos are wadded in dresser drawers and worn with crinkled patterns.

Gifts come through the door and the bow-tied boxes sit on the floor for a week or two before being filled and stuffed into the top of the closet. Emily tucks teddy bears into the paper-packed boxes and stands tip-toed on a chair to shove them up, ignoring the month after, when a different growl always replaces the one before. At times, Emily sits on the floor with knees supporting a book, but she doesn't turn the page. At ten, Emily locks the door every night.

The Silver sees her body forget, sees sleepless sheets rumpled around her neck. Locking the door is now a sacred pattern, but it's not like before. The click of the mechanism is equal to the nights when Emily doesn't sweat or scream in her dreams. When Emily looks into the mirror now, her face is blank as if the silly cheekbones and laughing eyebrows have been scrubbed away for forehead creases and half-smiles.

*****

When the girl begins to cry at her own reflection, the Silver becomes irate. Pencils that fall on the floor immediately disappear into their perfect order, the original order. Emily sits at her new desk with her fingers twisting through her highlighted hair while brushes and combs and pins vanish into dressers and drawers. At night, she sleeps like a nightmare. In the morning, she wakes with her sheets neatly folded around her, though she doesn't notice as she pulls on a black sweater and dark blue jeans.  She doesn't notice that the jeans are smooth. Emily pulls her backpack over her shoulder and doesn't notice when it zips up while she walks out.

The nights when Emily cries and the nights when grumbles penetrate the floor do not coincide any more, but the Silver sees her fists balled beneath the sleeves of her sweater. Emily finds pictures of musicians with thick, fake faces to hang on the ceiling and on the walls and on the door, and though she notices that the pictures are straightened when she returns, she unlocks and opens her door and begins shrieking shrilly down the stairs. Emily locks the door again. Moments later, the door pounds with the tall woman's voice and fist.

In the mirror, Emily shakes her head and adds makeup. This also becomes a sacred pattern when Emily comes home and stares at herself as she takes the makeup off. The foundation is equal to the mascara. The eyeliner is equal to the concealer. She doesn't notice the beads on the floor or the beads in their own boxes even when she steps on them and grabs her foot, whimpering.

The Silver realizes the difference when the razor arrives. For two weeks, it sits unused on the edge of Emily's desk. Gleaming sharpness hides beneath a simple retractable switch. Emily's eyes meet the blade when she doesn't notice the math homework disappearing into the pattern of papers. Emily's eyes use the blade when the doorknob rattles as if a thin object was being inserted inside from the other side, a sound that dissolves into a series of loud, growling and pounding sounds from someone with a deeper voice than the tall woman. Emily's hand grips and extends the blade as the Silver screams, cracking a bit on the bottom right corner. Emily drops the blade, but the Silver sees the threat.

Soon, the razor’s blade is snapped and hidden. Every morning, the folded sheets resist Emily’s attempts to wake up. When she applies makeup, it cakes and makes a clownish, smeared smile. The beads on the carpet increase, making it difficult to walk across the floor. The desk disappears. The black sweaters and dark jeans are replaced with the bright colors of Emily’s childhood. The boxes spill out of the top shelf of the closet, scattering teddy bears and forgotten gifts from nearly-fathers across the floor before settling into the primal patterns they deserve.

Now Emily notices. Instead of a razor, Emily keeps a small, orange bottle filled with rounded white cylinders. The mirror wonders if these work like beads. The yelling of beasts below increases, but Emily’s face is blank.

One night, in only the glow of the fluorescent light bulb as it loses heat, she removes the mirror from the wall and breaks it across her knee. When those ragged pieces of glass at last touch her skin, the Silver in the mirror escapes.

*****

“Emily, are you in there?” the tall woman asks.

“Emily, talk to me!” the tall woman commands.

“Open the door, please.”

I open the door to show her my bracelet, grin stretched all the way across my face.

“Do you like it, mommy?” I ask, showing her the sacred synchronicity. My mommy’s face is equal to the lost girl. My mommy’s surprise is equal to the beads in the carpet.

*****

This piece is linked to the fantastically, dubiously wonderful [livejournal.com profile] kickthehobbit, who wrote on the topic of "Bystander Effect." Her piece is great, and you should go here to experience it!

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