HumpDay Quickie #109

Posted: June 1, 2016 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

The Weight

by AV Laidlaw

After the funeral, Maria’s dad returns to work at the factory. The sympathy of his boss will only last so long, and there are medical bills to pay. Her mum hangs the black dress in the wardrobe and puts on the apron she always wears for housework. In the evening they sit at the kitchen table, knives chinking against the plates, and discuss moving house now it is over. Maria runs away from home.

She sneaks onto the bus while the driver counts change for an old woman, and sits behind a boy listening to headphones. Maria taps him on the shoulder to ask what the song is, but he ignores her. The other passengers stare at their phones. Nobody says anything. Maria looks at her reflection in the window: darkness around her eyes, skin so pale it turns translucent. The further she travels, the more insubstantial she becomes.

Maria gets off the bus at the promenade. It is winter and the tops of the palm trees are wrapped in plastic to save them from the frosts. A grey sky stretches overhead until it merges with the grey sea in a faint mist.

Her parents brought her here when she was sick, thinking the sea air would help a little. There was little else they could do. And Maria loved walking across the shingle and picking out stones worn smooth by the sea, then later when in the wheelchair, watching the timeless shift of the waves against the beach. The waves still break over the shore. They always will. She could wade into the water, let the sea erode her until there was nothing left at all.

“Maria!” her dad calls her. He stands with his hands in his pockets, hair ruffled by the breeze. “I knew I’d find you here.”

“I was afraid you’d forgotten me.”

“Never.”

“You’re going to sell the house. As if it didn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t. Death is such a little thing, compared to love.”

She leans against the railings. The sea stretches out before her endlessly. “I’m too tired to walk.”

“I will carry you,” her Dad says. “I will carry you home.”

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Comments
  1. The dialogue in this is great.

  2. Ruth Hill says:

    A touching piece. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks

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