Or rabbit’s foot
Don’t bring me luck
But I have You
Amanda closed the cubicle door. She lowered the lid and sat down. Her pulse should have been racing, given but she felt extremely calm. She took a box of Panadol out of her school rucksack. She had bought one at the pharmacy last week to add to the package she had found at home. She popped one pill out of the blister package. Her fingertip traced the groove in the middle of the pill. Would breaking them in the middle quicken the effect? She held each end between a thumb and index finger and pressed. It was harder to split the pill in the middle than she had expected. She decided to leave the remaining pills whole. She couldn’t risk dropping any of the pills; she needed every single one.
Her heart skipped a beat at the shrill ring of the school bell. She prayed that no one would enter the toilet. She had chosen the one on the third floor because most of the rooms were only used for Extra-Curricular Activities. She had one more free period before her next lesson started. How fitting that it would a Math class; since she hated it and hopefully wouldn’t have to live through it. It would have been nice, if it were music instead because singing made her happy. Amanda wiped the tears on her right sleeve.
There was no other way out.
She needed to put an end to the pain. She threw the ham and cheese sandwich, her mom had made for her lunch, in the bin in the cubicle; the lunch menu has changed. She removed the remaining pills from the blister packages and put them in her lunch box. She concentrated on the monotonous action and managed not to think about the chain of events that had brought her there. She had 47 pills in all. She hoped it was enough for her plan to be successful. She stuffed the empty packages in her rucksack. She stood up, righted her uniform, swung her rucksack over her right shoulder and left the cubicle.
Amanda knew the perfect spot, where she could consume her special lunch in peace. There was a bench next to the canteen, overlooking the school garden. There was a rose bush right next to the bench. She loved sitting there because the roses smelled lovely. When she closed her eyes, she imagined being in a candy shop, surrounded by the sticky sweet smell of roses. She bought a can of Coke from the vending machine. She had read on the internet that carbonated drinks increased the effect of paracetemol. Even if it did not, it was much tastier than plain water.
She placed the first pill onto her tongue. She took a sip from her can and swallowed the mixture. The next 5 followed swiftly in the same manner. However she couldn’t hold back the tears for long. She wiped her tears with a tissue paper, folded it and blew her nose. She hoped no one noticed her crying, especially not a teacher. She was doing the right thing. She couldn’t live another day reading the lies her classmates spread about her on Facebook. The names they had for her went through her mind, virtually burning, hitting, spitting on and shaming her before hundreds of spectators. Some were strangers but most she knew personally. They encouraged her demons with their applauding and cheering! Why her? Some of her tormentors used to be her friends. She has looked for a reason many times before as to why they had turned on her. But she always came up blank. There was no sense to the madness that had overcome them.
Amanda had difficulties swallowing the remaining pills. Her throat felt constricted and she was sure that the slightest pressure could result in her puking into the rose bush. But she would see this through. She wanted her death to haunt her tormentors with guilt for the rest of their lives. She practically shoved the remaining pills one by one down her throat and washed each down with Coke.
The bell rang again. Amanda stuck the empty lunchbox in her rucksack and threw away the can. She was starting to feel ill, comparable to the time she had the flu. Her stomach was cramping as she slowly made her way to class.
“Amanda, you’re late!”
“Sorry! I don’t feel well.”
“What is wrong with you?”
“I don’t know.”
“You do look pretty pale. Cynthia, please escort Amanda to the sick bay.”
“Not Cynthia. I can go myself.”
“You look as if you would faint any moment. Now get to the sickbay quickly.”
Amanda and Cynthia walked to the sickbay in silence. Amanda wanted to tell her a lot of hurtful things but she couldn’t get a single one out. Instead as they stood in front of the sickbay she said, “Hope my death makes you feel happy.” The shock in Cynthia’s eyes was enough to make Amanda feel temporarily happy. At least Cynthia will suffer after her death.
“Here’s a pail my dear, in case you need to be sick again. Your mom is on her way here. She will bring you to the doctor. You have a slight fever. It is probably only a stomach-flu. Have had a couple of kids come down with it last week. You will be fine in a few days time.”
“Amanda! You have visitors.”
“Mom! Who?… Oh! What do you all want here?”
Cynthia and five other classmates entered her bedroom. Cynthia held a bouquet of roses up and spoke.
“We want to apologise for being mean to you. We did not seriously mean the things we said. It was only fun. We have deleted all the posts about you. We hope you can forgive us.”
The original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.
François-René de Chateaubriand, Le génie du Christianisme (1802)
I begin already to weigh my words and sentences more than I did, and am looking about for a sentiment, an illustration, or a metaphor in every corner of the room. Could my Ideas flow as fast as the rain in the Storecloset it would be charming.
Jane Austen (December 16, 1775 – July 18, 1817)
Some interestings historical facts surrounding poetry. 🙂
Many of the posts here, and much of the discussion, revolves around one aspect or another of ‘story’. However, the modern understanding of ‘story’ seems to be based mainly in the world of prose. This is a relatively recent evolution in the history of storytelling (it could be argued that Western fictional narrative, and its more ‘informal’ language, grew out of the ‘histories’ – and only became popular when books first became widely available in the fifteenth century).
If we go back to the first storytellers, while they may not have originally thought of themselves as poets, that is what they were. In order to remember extremely long tales, certain formulations, certain rhythms were used to aid memory.
The oldest known version of the “Epic of Gilgamesh” was originally five independent Sumerian poems that date from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (2150-2000 BC). Four of the poems…
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She is ripe for the taking
If you had gotten through the wall
Sleeping beauty won’t be waking
Just because you call
Make room for the next
Knight in Shining Armour
Who is game to axe
The enchanted wall with ardour
Why cry over a kiss
That never took place?
You knew that one miss
Would throw you out of the race
It would seem
It was not on the card
Outside of your dream
She was never yours to start
Irene squeezed her eyes shut blocking out the sunrays and pulled the blanket over her head.
“Wake up sleeping beauty. It is a beautiful day!”
M opened the windows letting in the sound of birds chirping and thousands of invisible pollen. Although she could not see them, she felt their presence immediately. She rubbed her tongue against the roof of her mouth. With closed eyes she groped for the packet of Kleenex she always kept on the nightstand. The itch spread to her nostril and she felt the pressure to sneeze growing within her. She was ready to give in to it.
M said loudly, “Achoo!”
“Why did you do that for? It is bad enough that you rip me out of a wonderful dream. Am I not even allowed the satisfaction of a sneeze?”
“Stop complaining and eat. We are going to make the best use of the first sunny day after winter.”
Without another word, Irene ate her toast with jam and drank her semi-hot cup of chocolate quickly. M was probably trying to make her agreeable by serving breakfast in bed. She dragged herself from the bed and into the bathroom.
“I assume you already have it all planned out. What are we doing?”
The hot shower caused the sore skin around her upper lips to burn; another reason why she hated spring. The following weeks she would be wearing a moustache of crusted skin, caused by the attrition of super soft paper handkerchiefs against her even softer facial skin.
“We are going to the mobile home fair. It is outdoors. What better way than to spend a day like this outside?”
“Afterwards I’d like to go to that newly opened frozen yoghurt place. I forgot the name. Michel was raving about how great it is the whole day yesterday at the office.”
“Fine with me! Now get changed quickly. The later we get there, the more difficult it would be to find a parking lot.”
“15 more minutes, if you let me get ready in peace.”
Irene washed down her allergy tablet with a big gulp of water. She packed her anti-allergic eye drops and nasal spray in her handbag. She was ready for the wild outdoors!
Irene stopped in midstride and pressed her upper thighs together. Another watery glob of pollens came charging out of her nostrils. But she was ready to capture it with a new paper handkerchief. She folded the tissue in half and held it before her nose like a hygiene mask, ready for the next sneeze. The tingly feeling in her nose was a dead giveaway that she wouldn’t have to wait long for the next one.
She scanned the crowd around her. Where was he? She had only paused for a few seconds. He couldn’t have gone far. That is the problem with visiting an outdoor mobile home fair. On the one hand, the constant pollen attack was weakening her physical state of being. On the other hand, she kept losing track of M in the blink of an eye it took her to sneeze. She remained standing in the middle of the path. He had to come out of one of these mobile homes sooner or later.
She felt drained of all energy. Too bad she was too old to lug a schnuffeltuch around. She would love to curl up on her sofa with a comforter and give in to the feeling of sickness that overwhelmed her. But she couldn’t hide indoors all spring or could she? She contemplated the repercussions of such a decision when someone tapped her on the shoulder.
“Would you like some apple juice?”
“No thank you. My panty wouldn’t remain dry for long when I have to walk around with a full bladder and sneeze unrelentingly. Let us get on with this show. A frozen yoghurt is waiting for me.”
They walked down the aisle hand in hand.