The Guardian

reclaimed-bathroom

On one not so special day, a young girl of fourteen, sat at her desk in a class filled with diversity, from the pretty blonde and the delusional class clown to the timid mouse that sits in the corner. The young girl did not belong there. She knew this from the way she looked, how she lived and who she was inside. This certainty had planted itself so deeply within her soul, she would often look out of the dirty school windows, wondering if she would ever fit. Whether she would ever be who she was. This day in particular, the unusual, crouched over young girl felt a strong, earth trembling ache in her chest. She looked up to her teacher, his dark eyes sad for her. He knew she was not well, but he knew no one could help, only she could pull herself from the mess that was her mind. The girl’s startling blue eyes looked about the room, suddenly confused by the strange faces that she perceived. Who was this stranger sat next to her, looking at her with confusion? The girl’s friend, stared with her big brown eyes into the girl’s soul. Knowing the girl’s heart behind the eyes was troubled, she put her small, dainty hand on the girl’s arm, silently asking what was wrong. The girl couldn’t say, she shook her head at her pretty little friend, someone whom was shockingly different in appearance to herself. The girls looked at each other with a brief recognition but the friend went back to the work she’d been set whilst the girl continued to look out of the grubby panes, staring at the grey sky that looked as though it was stained with ash, such a grey was it, that many birds and creatures would not face it. Much like how the girl felt.

In a different part of the world not so far away, a grim little bungalow with peeling paint and a white plastic door with glass windows seemed to breathe the pain it had witnessed. The small curving driveway, half made out of the lawn, to fit the two burgundy red cars upon it. Within the bungalow was a good-sized room with an orange tinted wooden table and chairs set. There was a chimney breast, covered in a bright red flowery print wallpaper with no chimney entrance, bricked up long ago. There were two large comfy red sofa’s that contrasted with the cream walls that enclosed the room. So much red everywhere. It was like the blood of it’s inhabitants had seeped through. Small pieces of furniture littered around the outside of the room, a medium-sized flat screen television stood upon a cupboard with two draws, the wood the same colour as the table. Within the room sat two individuals, an old man with a tartan farmer’s cap and a grey loose cardigan reading the local newspaper. A younger woman, nearly middle-aged with blonde hair and sad eyes, much like her daughters, also sat in the room on the opposite red sofa. From inside you could hear the grandmother rustling about in the kitchen, making tea one would expect, ready for her granddaughters return. The middle-aged woman looked out of the window, waiting for her daughter to walk up the drive. She heard the grandfather, her father, snap his newspaper shut and place it down on the side table.

“What are you doing staring out of the window like that, people will think we’re keeping you hostage. Go and help your mother prepare food for your daughter, you lazy sod” The grandfather said cruelly.

The younger woman looked at him with pure sadness, a poison crept into her heart, a coldness that left her with a chill. Her mind closed off into an orb of voices, telling her she was not worth the life she was living. She cried out, both angry and sad at her father’s pitiless comment. The grandmother ran in through the glass door connecting to the kitchenette, a tea towel fluttering in her hands.

“What’s going on in here!” She said in a gravelly voice, loud enough to scare the two silver tabby cats in their wicker baskets.

“I know I’m not worth living, I know I’m lazy!” The woman replied sharply at her father and walked out of the room to run herself a bath. She rushed into the bathroom and locked the door. Turning the cold silver taps, she looked at her reflection. A tear fell down her cheek, crushing the last bit of sanity that was left in the dark soul of her heart. As the bath filled up with steaming hot water, the woman stripped her dark lounge clothes and put them in a pile by the door. She looked into the little cupboard mirror that was on the wall above the sink. In it she saw reflected thirty-eight years of trauma, terror and sadness. Her poor swollen eyes were surprisingly sunk into their sockets. Her small lips trembled as she heard her mother banging on the bathroom door, pleading with her to open it. Suddenly she could hear her little old mother trying to ram the door with her body. She was calling to her husband to get an axe but he did not care to move from his comfortable chair and told his little wife to leave their sick daughter alone. The younger woman turned and gently lowered her petite but round body into the bath, the definition of grace. She lifted her small legs out of the steam and gently pulled her head under the water. Fear and freedom piercing her mind with determination.

In the bungalow, the young girl from the dingy classroom returned home. She opened the front door to be met by her little grandmother screaming for her to help. The girl dropped her school bag and let the door swing shut as she rushed to the bathroom door, screaming for her mother to see sense. In her passion she barged the door with her mighty six-foot frame. The door wouldn’t budge. But the girl had met many non-moving obstacles before and she had always managed to push through them. Not giving in, the girl ran at the door, over and over again until her side was pounding with pain. Determination poured from the girls pores. She stepped back and kicked at the door with her strong legs, shaking the door, once, twice, three times. Finally, the door gave way with a large crash. The daughter ran in, pushed her arms underneath her peaceful mother and with all her might, pulled the useless weight out of the bath. The girl dragged her mother out of the bath and onto the cold tiled floor where her mother began to breathe. The girl screamed for her mother to wake, tears falling onto the mother’s soaked, naked body. The woman’s body looked ghostly white, marred only by the red blotches from the baths steaming heat. The daughter pulled her mothers head to her breast, her legs folded underneath the heap of human sadness. The grandmother produced a large towel which the child wrapped carefully around her mother as though she were a small infant.

Finally getting her broken mother off the cold wet floor, the girl guided her to bed. The grandmother pushed the bed covers back so that her daughter could lay down. The shaking woman slowly lowered herself onto the bed, now with the night-gown her dutiful child found for her. The grandmother pulled the duvet cover up to her neck and the young girl climbed up next to her. As the light started to fade from the grueling day, the daughter pulled her mother to her chest and held her tightly in an embrace, thinking of nothing but the safety of her charge. Neither said a word until the woman fell asleep, softly snoring into her daughter’s arms.

Thinking of what could have been, the young girl softly cried into her mother’s damp hair. The cold cooling her hot, exhausted face. She stoked her hair softly and whispered her love into the women’s sleeping ears, until finally, she too fell asleep. Still holding on, to whatever was left of her wicked life.

 

By Lauren Victoria

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