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Happy readings!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Hush Nightingale



Hush Nightingale
The noises of the city intruded on her in her quiet room.
Sometimes she’d quit staring at the drab white walls and just close her eyes.
She’d pull her knees up on the ground and let her mind follow the cars, the honks and the voices in the streets.
When it got warmer, the sounds picked up and the people outside were cheerful. High voices laughing, chatting and deep wolf-whistles reached her dulled ears and she listened with rapture to the people she could never see.
Once, she nearly tumbled out in an attempt to look down on the street; crawling onto the high window frame, she lost her balance without even catching a glimpse of what went on. She never tried again, contented just to listen to the world below.
On days when the sky was clear and open, the distant echo of music would seep through the windows, too far away to make out the words, but near enough to sway to it, making dreamy pirouettes and turns across the empty floor. She leapt about on the tips of her toes, bending sideways on stretched legs like once was her habit, making figurines in the air. Suddenly she remembered the tones of Tchaikovsky and gently sung, swirling round and round her still room.
She’d often sit hunched in a corner and hum to herself bits and pieces of songs she still remembered, residues of lullabies from her childhood. She’d curl up and suck her thumb, like when she was little and had not a care in the world.
She sat there, by her wall, and drew circles on the plaster, over and over, lining the rays of light as they lowered into the room from the windows. All of a sudden she wondered what her face looked like in the sunlight. She had forgotten.
And then it came back, something demonic, it kept banging inside her head and nearly split her skull apart. She pulled her hair and screamed, covering her ears, pushing them shut until it would go away. It had to stay quiet. ‘Shhh.’ She whispered again and again, her slight shoulders shaking with the heaviness of her load.
She did not go out, no, she dared not and so she stayed, basking in the light unseen, forever, forever, until her limps turned to stone, and with a face like breathing dark-veined marble, she lifted her weary eyes at the windows and slowly dimmed to grey.

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I didn't see that coming! That's quite a story you've written.
    As ever, I'm in awe of your abilities to create small stories that say so much.

    ReplyDelete

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