It shines through the window that rests within the arched attic wall and creates an eerie shroud that seems to embrace her. She sits on a small stool. Its ragged, mix-matched colored cloth and putrid cotton hang torn underneath her tiny buttocks. Blonde hair hides her neck and drapes her shoulders, perfect save for being slightly frayed at the ends. She wears a silk nightgown, which is too big to be her own. It smells of the damp cardboard box it had been stored inside, and had obviously been stored so for some time. The gown is an unattractive shade of gold, trimmed with lace that once was white and now blotted with small, crusty smears and faded stains of brownish red.
She glances at her feet, which are dangling, forgetting her present state and thinks of her mother. She’s always thinking of her, wonders if she was pretty, wonders about her life and all those questions she had learned early on not to ask her father. With a fragile, pale finger she traces the lace near her ankles, she doesn’t feel the cloth, but feels the loss it holds within itself, and knows it’s real.
The stairs suddenly give with their usual squeals and groans under the bulk of living lard known to her as father. His breath is heavy and his forehead has quickly become coated with sweat; A bead slides through his thick eyebrow, down his wide, blemished nose and falls and lands left of a dark stain on a yellowed undershirt, just above the dark mass of hair that has taken over his enlarged gut. He grows more exhausted with each step, feels the quickening of his heart and knows what it wants. He’s known for some time.
Only her lovely blue eyes move. They look away from the trail of her finger upon the lace and set themselves into the moonlight. They are not afraid this time; they’re not worried or anxious. They know.
The breath on the stairs grows deeper and the pauses between each grow longer. She waits in the moonlight, thinking those thoughts she’s forbidden to speak. Her finger moves unconsciously up the gown and she feels her skin through the torn silk, it’s smooth and warm and she’s startled by the sensation. She places her palm against her belly and the sensation increases; her eyes close as she inhales deeply, completely unaware of the silence from the stairs.
It does not startle her. Her eyes remain closed as he tumbles down the stairs; the sensation inside her belly flutters upwards and tickles her throat as it rises, she exhales and opens her eyes.
Copyright © 2004 by Dustin LaValley