Mary, Magdalen

The first 5000 words of my Na No Wri Mo work; a story about sisters. A story about Mary.


4. Sunday

Sunday goes fast, but also quite slow. I mean that in the simplest sense. Not much happens, leaving me very bored, and so the day goes slowly. But, in reflection, there will not be much to think about – meaning that the day will be quite fast.

Mary doesn’t leave her room. She tells me, when I knock on the door, that she is still sick and she doesn’t want to pass it on to me. I leave her alone. My parents wander around the house, complaining that things aren’t where they left them, and filling out paper work that they should’ve handed in days before.

I do little to nothing. I do not think about Rich. I do not do any homework. I sit. I wait. I imagine my friends sitting next to me. I imagine a broken heart with a firewall next to me. I look to my right. There she is; layers of binary around Lily. I can barely see her through the ones and zeros. I look to my left, hoping to see a hot-head with no sugar. Jack sits there, leaning back against the sofa, legs crossed like a triangle. I imagine him flicking the TV channels with the remote. I imagine him laughing at a show, or grumbling about how bad another might be. Lily would tell him to choose a channel. But she doesn’t say it, so I do.

“Pick a channel,” I tell him. Mother moves her head around the door.

“What was that, Maddie?” She asks. I shake my head.

“Don’t worry.” She moves away. The TV is on the same channel as before. Lily is not next to me. Neither is Jack. I turn the TV over again and then I feel the presence of broken strings and rainy mornings. Harry sits in the arm chair on the opposite side of the room. He is quiet. Reflective. Calm. Peaceful. He tells me that he likes this show. I don’t know what it is, but I keep it on anyway.

I don’t watch it. I don’t move. I feel Jack weighing down the sofa on the left, and Lily’s feet nudging my legs on the right. I don’t look for them though. I don’t move my vision, for fear of the feelings going away. I can sense Harry in the armchair, his feet up on the footrest. I cannot look away. I stare at the floor; a patch tinted red. It could be blood. Maybe squash or wine, though. The corners of my lips tilt upwards, as if I received the suggestions from my friends.

“It’s blood,” Jack says on my left. “There was probably a fight, or someone dropped something. Maybe someone was stabbed?”

“Don’t be an idiot,” Lily tells me from my right. “It’s probably juice. You have black current squash, don’t you?” I feel myself nodding. “See?”

“No,” Harry says from the armchair. “It’s wine. What else would you spill? I’ve seen your parents after a glass too many.” I feel them all look to me for the answer. Well, what is it? I can feel them ask. Blood? Squash? Wine?

“I don’t know,” I say after a few seconds. “I don’t remember.”

The spell is broken. The answer doesn’t matter anymore. The sofa is no longer weighed down on the left. There is no foot pressing against my leg on the right. No one sits in the armchair.

“What was that?” Mother asks again. She stands in the doorway with a pen. I shrug, turning to look at her.

“I didn’t say anything,” I tell her. Mother eyes me for a few seconds.

“I must’ve heard the TV then,” she says before disappearing into the kitchen again. I nod.

“You must’ve.” I would never say a word to thin air, I tell myself. But I know that it is not thin air, it was them. My friends were here, in the room, I felt their presence. I will tell them about this on Monday, I decide. I will tell them that I was sure they were sitting next to me. Jack will claim witchcraft, or ghosts, I’m sure. Lily will tell me that it was a trick of the mind. Harry will shrug. I’m sure he will tell me that they were there, in spirit.

The house is quiet.

My friends are gone.

Mary is upstairs in her bed.

It is two forty one in the afternoon, but I go to bed anyway.

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