Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's Words: conniption, janky, scooch.
I know that ThomG meant to challenge us, and I struggled with 'janky' (gave him grief for it on Twitter), but I hope that my use of his prompts doesn't sound forced.
Some stories need to be told. Miranda's begins here.
And now, it continues, with a flashback to the beginning...
* * *
In a darkened classroom of St. Phillip’s Elementary School, Miranda crouched on the cold terrazzo floor, her arms wrapped around her knees.
The other teenagers participating in the church-sponsored retreat, all of them strangers, were off in other classrooms, now designated as living room, dining room and den—their makeshift home for the duration of the weekend. Laughing voices carried through the halls as everyone exchanged tales of their recent outing: a visit to the local nursing home to bring cheer to the elderly.
For Miranda, it was something of a breakthrough.
Pressed into the darkest corner, she let the tears stream down her face. She couldn’t fight them, didn’t have the energy. The memories she’d somehow suppressed all these years pummelled her, swirled in a Technicolor strobe effect. She slammed her back into the classroom wall, over and over, as though she could jar the memories out of her, make them stop. God, she just wanted to make them stop.
That’s how Jason found her. Huddled on the floor, rocking back and forth.
At first, he thought she was having some sort of conniption, perhaps an epilepsy attack. Then he heard the crooning, a sort of soft keening.
“Stop. Stop. Stop.”
She just kept chanting it over and over, her voice janky as she slammed into the wall with each word.
Moving on instinct, he slipped into the room and slid down to the floor beside her. He would have put his arm around her to soothe, but she scooched away from him, seemed to withdraw even more. So, he sat with her in the dark. In silence. Mirroring her pose, Jason hooked his arms around his legs, pressed his head into his knees and rocked in sync with her.
First, the crooning subsided, then the rocking stopped. Soon, the only sound from her was the occasional sniffle and grunt as she wiped her nose on her sleeve.
Miranda rested her cheek against her knees, her large brown eyes staring.
“I hadn’t remembered any of that…any of it…until now.” She squeezed her eyes shut. A tear leaked down her cheek.
He had no clue what she was talking about, only knew she needed to get it out. “The mind is a powerful thing. Sometimes it shuts out what you can’t process until you’re ready.” He’d read that somewhere in his psych class.
“I don’t think I’m ready.”
“You’re probably a lot stronger than you think. Wanna tell me what happened?”
He took it as a good sign that she unfolded herself then, stretched out her legs, though she kept her arms hugged around her body. She gazed up at the ceiling.
“He grabbed my ass.”
“One of the old guys at the nursing home. He was going to play cards with some of the other folks and I helped him put on his sweater. He thanked me by grabbing my ass.” Her voice caught. “He squeezed it and gave it a little shake.”
Jason was silent. Not because he didn’t know what to say, but because he knew there was more. Somehow, he knew there was more.
“It’s what my grandfather did to me. Until I was twelve. I don’t know how, but I’d forgotten all of that, all these years. I’m fifteen and I buried it somewhere deep inside all this time. Kept it locked away until…until that old man put his hands on me.”
She let out a huff, allowed the vignette of horrors to simply wash over her. “It started when I was four. We were alone. He took my hand and rubbed it against his…”
She made a vague gesture and Jason nodded his understanding. He wouldn’t make her say it.
“It was warm and hard and wet. I ran away, hid in my room and cried. But I never told my mom.” She shook her head in wonder, amazed by that. “I think I thought she wouldn’t believe me.”
Miranda took in a shaky breath. Jason sat beside her in silence, never touching her. His presence seemed to comfort, give her strength to purge.
“Every time my grandparents visited, or we’d visit them, he’d arrange it somehow so that we’d be alone. It was worse every time. My entire childhood was shredded. And I’d forgotten that. All of it.”
Her moist, sad eyes slid over to his and held him.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget again.”
* * *
Miranda's story continues...