The Numbing Effect (Cont.)

*This is a continuation of my first imitation so you might want to read that first before reading this so it makes more sense.

Tom pulls Natalie from behind the dumpster saddened by the blisters on the lips he used to kiss. He pulls her sallow, bruised arms behind her and lightly clicks the cool, silver metal around her frail wrists. He puts his hand on her back as he leads her towards the flashing blue lights and feels a knot forming in his throat blocking his air.

“Daddy?” Natalie asks looking up into Tom’s eyes as if they are her father’s.

He protects her head as he gently guides her into the back of his cruiser.

“Daddy?” she asks desperately.

“How could I have let this happen?” he thinks as he catches her reflection in the rear view mirror. It seemed like yesterday they were watching her parents’ dancing, he envious of their love. He hoped as he watched them that he was seeing Natalie and his future. He had been working, bagging groceries, saving to buy her a ring. He wanted what her parents’ had. He thought he would have it with her.

He flips the blue lights off and drives through the darkening streets to his home. He takes off the cuffs. Natalie is passed out, no longer a threat. When he picks her up the softness of her neck catches him off guard; nothing but bare, undisturbed skin. He had kissed her there, on that soft, undisturbed skin, as he tried to convince her to leave her father’s birthday party with him. But she didn’t want to disappoint her father. Maybe things would have turned out differently.

He sets her down in his bed, removes her tattered clothes. He touches her blistered lips and watches them return to the smooth, fullness that he remembers. He touches the needle marks in the delicate curve of her arm and they disappear. As he touches each part of her body, her skin comes alive, no longer fading quickly from yellow to blue. It seems that he can save her, from the pain, from the outside world, from herself. He falls asleep next to her hopeful of his new future, of the life he has breathed into her with his touch, until he wakes up the next morning to an empty bed.

After shift, he comes to find her each night behind this dumpster, thrown out like yesterday’s trash. He touches her cold body, bringing it back from the darkness it had fallen into. When she opens her icy eyes she only calls out for her father. But he takes her to his home anyway, tries to salvage what has been lost, having faith that one day he will finally save her.

This short was for a class assignment. It is an attempt to imitate Toni Morrison’s Beloved with a little bit of Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being.

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5 thoughts on “The Numbing Effect (Cont.)

  1. Heartbreaking. I wanted to cry. (Maybe I’m overreacting because I just finished Beautiful Boy by David Sheff–a man giving an account of his relationship with a drug addicted son. 🙂 These things people do to themselves–and we hold onto slivers of hope that things can change… The use of “Daddy” here is wonderful. Thank you. 🙂

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