This week’s Red Writing Hood Prompt was “Water gives life. It also takes it away. Write a short piece – fiction or non-fiction – inspired by one or both of these statements.”
A hand slapping her out of her chair with it’s force and element of surprise, her body’s weight hitting cold tile. The taste of blood in her mouth and the beginning of bruises taking shape.
Whenever she felt like she was about to lose her balance, this was the memory that got conjured up.
The memory came again now as the wave crashed against her, almost knocking her down. But she liked to walk out into the ocean as far as she dared and let wave after wave crash over her. She couldn’t swim so perhaps it was a foolish thing to do, but it made her happy.
The wind whipped her hair against her face and she bent down to cup a little sea water to moisten the errant hairs away from her. The water droplets fell into her mouth in drips, filling her with the taste of the sea. Salt and death, pain and blood.
Rachael willed the thoughts to leave her, this was her time her escape while Bud slept off last night’s party for one. Bud was an angry drunk and she should have known better then to mouth off but, well whatever.
She could take hits like a prizefighter, a skill learned early.
Her father had been like that her exes had been too. She was magnet for girl hitters. But dammit why did they always have to hit her in the face? One hit and she went dizzy, her whole head pounded. And she was always stupid enough to jump back up again too. Impulse, blame it on impulse.
The same impulse that led her to men like Bud, men like her father.
“You think you’re so damn smart don’t ya? Mouthy bitch, with those books you’re always reading. You ain’t nothing, you ain’t better then anyone else, Got it? I’ll make you get it, believe that.”
The ocean betrayed her by bringing those words in it’s roar.
I could keep walking into it.
The thought nagged at her.
I could walk into it farther and just see what happened.
Didn’t Virginia Woolf do the same thing? Just walk and walk into the water till it buried her.
I’m tired. It would be easy, like letting the ocean hug me. If I stopped thinking, if I didn’t struggle…would I float or just sink? I want rest.
The suddenness of the wave woke her up a bit. The same sick, falling feeling came to her. What if I struggle? What if it’s the struggling,falling feeling amplified all the way down? And what happens after?
Death scared her, at least she knew what to expect from Bud.
She stood for a bit while the sand under her feet tried the join the retreating wave and another feeling began in her stomach.
What if I just leave? What if I just leave Bud and me here and all of this and just start over?
It wouldn’t be today if that was her choice, she had spent too long in the waves and the town was beginning to stir. People would be joining her soon, any minute perhaps. But she could plan and figure something out… the beginning of a possibility danced in her stomach and she pushed the urge to just give up to the side.
That urge was still strong, it called to her as she watched the next wave rising up to greet her. The unknown was so scary.
It would be her choice.