One of my objectives was to leave you thinking, asking questions. I hope I got there in the end.
A Reserved Space
©Sandra Fitzgerald May 2017
She sits with her hands cupped in her lap, her fingers slack; the energy to entwine them has long since escaped. Her skirt rides up annoyingly to expose more of her bruised, thinning legs than she cares to, but not cares enough about to make an adjustment. Her back is straight and are shoulders square, even though her chest aches while her heart struggles to be invested. Every thick, weighty beat more laborious than the previous.
Such a callous and uncaring thing that it is, the world continues on as it does… as it will. People wake, they live… they belong.
A ruckus half-heartedly distracts her from her empty thoughts. She indifferently raises her eyes from the mesmerising scuff mark on the highly polished, concrete floor to see teens jostle and laugh, drape loose arms over shoulders before they turn to order at the counter.
They dart curious eyes around the over-filled room as they speak. The larger, blonde boy pauses on the lady sitting alone at a table set for six, his brows crossing in annoyance as his brilliant blues spot the stainless steel place card before they roll to the ceiling. A heavy huff passes through his nostrils while he turns slightly to say something to the teenager closest to him. After a beat the second boy follows his friends gaze and frowns. His expression soon becomes a perfect match to the blonde. He nudges a young girl with his elbow before nodding in the lady’s direction. Her appearance doesn’t morph as expected; instead the doe-eyed girl takes a moment to study the lady. She takes in her ill-fitting, brown cardigan, buttoned firmly all the way to the very top. She notices that one crisp, white collar is jutting out oddly, the other neatly tucked into place. The young girl’s frown pinches for an entirely different reason than her friends. Her heart sinks and her stomach stirs, only she can’t quite explain why.
Without losing her focus, she gently jostles the dark haired boys arm, shaking her head in a subtle, no. She licks her lips to help hide her sadness, replacing her frown with a sombre, lopsided smile that does little for the weight in her chest but does, however, elevate the stirring in her stomach.
Her instinct is to go to the lady, but the young, doe-eyed girl doesn’t. Perhaps because of her youth, perhaps it’s because of fear, either way her inaction will haunt her. Creep into her dreams and turn them into nightmares.
The teenagers collect their drinks then weave their way to the back of the crowed room placing them at the opposite side to the lady. A full wall of glass allows for the stunning cliff face and crashing waves to add to the theatrics to come.
A joke is shared, laughter bellowed, and soon the small group have all but forgotten the easily forgotten.
The too-thin lady sitting alone at a table set for six, wearing a tight knitted cardigan with a miss-matched collar mechanically reaches for her handbag. She unclips the catch and slips her small hand inside, all without taking her focus off the server working with fluid confidence. The cool metal wrapped in her palm gives her the confidence she needs as she stands surprisingly steadily. Her skirt slips effortlessly to below her knees restricts the size of her gait, but she takes unexpectedly steadfast paces to the counter. She smiles. It’s small and takes effort, but it’s a smile nonetheless. Her hand, still in her bag, clutches tighter before she draws the gun and presses the slim barrel firmly against the server’s forehead. Her watery eyes rise upwards and her sad smile broadens in a sorrowful goodbye.
There’s a jarring explosion. Collective gasps and shrieks from people who become statues of shock and disbelief. The server’s corpse is sent flying into a wall of condiments quickly followed by a melody of shrill screams, the statues become reactive. Then there’s another deafening eruption… and then…
The callous and uncaring thing that it is, the world continues on as it does… as it will. People wake, they live… they belong.
Love Big & Love Hard