I wasn’t supposed to start writing until the end of summer. I blogged it! I wrote it on my phone notes! I sticky posted it on my desk! I’m a LIAR!!!! I couldn’t do it. I sat at the computer and said if the story with the character that is driving me mad doesn’t flow effortlessly, then she would have to wait until September. Twenty-ones minutes (I timed it)and 1,098 words at the computer and this is what she had to say:
Watching him watch me causes my heart to race and bound so loud I want to cup my ears. But I have to stand strong; he can’t see me falter or sense one moment’s hesitation. This is my choice, though the sweat beading warm at the back of my neck is starting to cause me doubt. No. I clench my eyes tight and face away from him. I must remain stubborn and resolved to finish what I started. There is no life for me here, and deep down I’m certain he understands that. I hope he understands that.
“You’ve hardly packed a thing,” he says, the slight sigh barely audible as he pushes a finger at the navy blue and white striped duffle bag strapped across my shoulder. I don’t want to look at him for fear that I’ll expose the yellow cowardness of my soul and show the weakness that’s striking my knees. He hasn’t asked me not to leave yet—not in so many words, but it’s there, in the dimness of his hazel eyes. Because of that, I look away and say it’s better to pack light. Only the necessities, I tell him. There’s that pained sigh again, and it strikes me like a cow prod deep between my eyes as he replies, “I’ll miss you, you know?”
“I know.” It’s all I can muster between black dragging heart beats, and I know the words strike him like a blunt blow to the head. The words I love you haven’t escaped my lips in days, but not because I don’t—because I do. I love Tom with all my eighteen year old heart could possibly love another person. His name is on my lips when my eyes first open, and sometimes even before they do. It is him who occupies my deepest thoughts and sends my mind racing in swirls, causing many nights of insomnia. And for all those reasons, the words—the pretty words—can no longer be spoken lest his heart be trampled a little more each time they are said. Mine is darkened at the mere thought.
A tear is lost as I brush it behind my ear, out of his line of vision. The spongy sound of the mattress tells me he’s sat on the edge of the bed. I’m surprised he has stayed as long as he has, but Tom made a promise, and he is a man of his word no matter how much it eats at him. Good souls like him are lost on the world, at least that’s what Mendy, my dad’s pretty awesome girlfriend, says. I know she’s right, and I can’t help but replay the words, “nice guys finish . . .” No. I shake my head of the thought. Tom doesn’t deserve to be some worn out, old cliché. He sure doesn’t deserve the likes of me; some despondent, stubborn, misguided, loser of a girlfriend. Hell, the world deserves better, but my heart aches for Tom.
“Do you know where you’re going?” he asks for the millionth time. Through the reflection of the glass on a picture frame, it is easy to see him looking down, palm brushing heavy on the sandy blond hair I loved to mess up. He never complained. Not once.
“Yes,” I answer as vague as possible—for the millionth time. I have no idea where I’m going.
He catches a glimpse of me in the reflection of the frame and I quickly turn away. “You still won’t tell me?”
I suck down so much air it feels my lungs are going to explode. It makes no sense that he would put himself through this over and over knowing the response would be the same. Crazy. I close my eyes and channel the fading courage to shake my head. It makes no difference, I say through defiant exasperation.
The warmth of his breath lingers at my neck now. It’s not fair. All I want to do is fall in his arms and runaway to the place his pretty words can always take me. He alone knows me and how to bring me out to be the person I truly am; how to take me beyond this world with nothing more than the expressions of beauty which slips passed his thin pale lips so easily. Once he learned of my special attribute—hearing in color—he embraced it as a form of uniqueness and ran with the appealing words, forming linguistic prisms of color from his lips to my eyes every chance he had. It was nothing short of magic, only shared before with my mother before she passed away.
“I love you, Raven.” He cheated. The words floated on the air like a symphony of yellow ribbons increasing in radiance until the last word disappeared behind my eyes. I want to melt into his touch and hit him all at once, but he said the words again and so, I close my eyes to not see them in all their eloquence of flight.
“Stop saying them!” I shout.
“But I mean them,” he says, his breath tickling the soft spot behind my ear. “I want to tell you all the pretty words every day. I want to take you away to the places you get lost in when we talk.” He pauses, and I know there’s more. “Stay with me, Raven.”
There were rules to my leaving, and in his panic, Tom is breaking them. I pull away. Not because I want to, because I have to. This isn’t about Tom, it never has been.
My father doesn’t understand it—this lovely, miserable element that is me. In the ugly world of fame and power built up like a sable fortress around his life, I am a challenge. My gift of hearing words in color is a burden, once dismissed to friends as a possible brain tumor, is a disgrace; no more than an adolescent plea for attention from a daughter resembling nothing of what a prominent lawyer’s daughter should be. I’ll never be free under his vice. Worse yet, I’ll never see the pretty words in his world.
Looks like I’m writing again!
By the way, the reason I had such a hard time with thinking of writing this, is that I’ll be adding in graphics so readers can see what Raven sees. Example: she sees the words I Love you floating from his lips to her eyes like a radiant yellow ribbon. (for this purpose I just copied something off the net for effect). I’ll add in a graphic of what this might look like, hence, I’ll need a graphic artist and know that this will never be an e-book and with full color will be a pricey physical book. Oye vay! Somebody stop me now.
Tania L Ramos, Author Who Hears in Color (Synesthesia)
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