The Calm


1. The Calm

She woke up, no alarm, dead silence in the house, the kind of silence that was empty of humans. She slid out of bed stepping over last night's book and onto the hallway tiles. The cold making her feet sensitive, a shiver running up her spine and down her arms out through her fingertips. A dead weight in her stomach reminding her that something was worrying her even before her drowsy brain recalled the events of the last few days. She walked into the bathroom, squinting in the mid morning light. She leant her hands on the bench, looking deep into her own eyes. Was her life falling apart? Her gut knew it. She knew it. But he tried to tell her otherwise. And always the niggling thought, what if she was wrong? She would drive him away with her accusations. She pulled her dark hair off her face with a stray hair band, splashed cold water in her face, patting it dry and trying to relish in the freshness of cleanliness. She hated her skin, dreamed of pure, smooth, unblemished skin. She massaged moisturiser into it and down her neck. She glanced down at her body, willing it to have magically changed since her last look. Nope. Same flabby tummy, same "back fat". She was a stress eater. A bored eater. When something truly bad happened in the future she would learn that she lost all her appetite, but so far, she had had a good life, sure it hadn't been empty of ups and downs, but she had been spared real tragedy and her suspicions' and time off for study had combined to give her not much else but another 5kg on her waistline, not that she had room for it. She knew that these were the moments she should grasp, that she should ignore these petty teenage problems and focus on the future. She knew all of these things. She was smart enough and mature enough to be able to clearly see what should matter and what would be most beneficial in this situation. But she was still a teenager; she didn't quite have the level of maturity to implement the self discipline that was required. She picked up her mobile, aside from a good morning message from her Mum there was nothing. She tried to call him, his phone was off. Her stomach churned, her eyes burned hot with tears soon to come and she glanced around the empty living room. Suddenly, she missed her Mum. She was generally an independent girl; she enjoyed her solitude and found herself most productive when left to her own devices. But at this moment all she wanted was her Mum to force her to sit at her desk, at least feigning study which helped to mildly distract her, especially as she popped in with sustenance and encouragement frequently. She picked up the house phone to call her Mum, fighting to keep the tears in check so her voice would sound normal. But she knew straight away something was up. Asking what was wrong was met with a pause as she regained control of her voice.

'I'm fine just wondering where you are'. Her mother responded saying she was at the shops but still had to go drop off some Christmas cards but wouldn't be long. The girl smiled with affection at that errand in itself defining her mother, but the thought of being alone for even an hour long was conveyed to the mother without any real words needed.

'How about I come pick you up and we deliver them together?' So casual a question yet being skilled in the art of reading her daughter they both knew the favour she was offering was simply a respite from her worries, her stresses. One of the things she had always admired in her daughter was the fact that when she did things or felt things there was no half way, she threw herself into everything body and soul, charging at the future in a way that left her mother in awe, but at times of despair her mother recognised that this characteristic would certainly not be beneficial. She went to her room to get changed, her woes slightly alleviated, purely by briefly taking her mind from her aching chest. She got dressed preparing to meet her mother out the front. Glancing briefly at her phone she left it where it was, wishing he would call while he was gone, but being fairly positive that he wouldn't. The emptiness she felt was a corset constricting her rib cage. The pain driving deep into her core forcing her to acknowledge every element of her tired body. 

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