Voiceless

The words spewed from her mouth like water out of a broken fire hydrant. Uncontrollably. Therefore honestly.

But the back pressure couldn’t last. Her passionate words slowed to a gurgle. And all that remained was a fine mist, drifting awkwardly around her.

If the sun was out, that mist might have made a rainbow.

But it wasn’t.

And that was the day Hayley decided never to speak again.

***

Hayley grabbed a pack of beef jerky and a can of ginger ale from the convenience store. She stood completely still while the line of four in front of her made their purchases.

She then approached the counter, and laid out her feast.

“$3.29” the overweight clerk stated.

Hayley extracted her wallet from her back pocket. She placed a five dollar bill on the counter and waited for her change.

She pocketed the dollar, the two quarters, the two dimes, and the penny.

And left.

***

The man with the clipboard spied her from a few feet away.

Hayley wasn’t walking fast, and her eyes stared at the man when he looked at her.

He fell in step.

“How would you like to support woman’s rights? This petition is to show support for the ousting of Mayor Greenich, who divorced his wife and rid of three city council members. The three women council members!”

Hayley never stopped looking at him while he talked. She never slowed her pace. She never spoke.

***

Hayley entered her apartment.

A man watching her TV quickly turned it off, got up, and approached her.

He tried to kiss her, placing his hands on her.

She didn’t respond.

He talked about himself. About his life, his family.

Hayley made herself some cereal.

The man placed several twenties on Hayley’s counter.

And then left.

***
***

The words spewed from her mouth like water out of a broken fire hydrant. Uncontrollably. Therefore honestly. She spoke of many things. They came from her curiosity, and that spurred her onward. But she knew that the things she spoke were terrible.

But the back pressure couldn’t last. She started hearing her voice falter. She started to worry that what she was saying was truly wrong. Her passionate words slowed to a gurgle. And all that remained was a fine mist, drifting awkwardly around her.

If the sun was out, that mist might have made a rainbow.

But it wasn’t. She wanted to cry.

She was hurt. No one had heard her. No one even said anything back.

And that was the day Hayley decided never to speak again.

***

Hayley grabbed a pack of beef jerky and a can of ginger ale from the convenience store. She liked the smell of the stores, musty and delicious. What she didn’t enjoy, though, was the line of people in front of her, also getting their morning fix. She stood completely still while they made their purchases.

She then approached the counter, and laid out her feast. Slim jim and Canada dry. It really didn’t get any better.

“$3.29” the overweight clerk stated. She thought it interesting how well the clerk belonged in that spot in her mind, like he couldn’t fit anywhere else. This was his domain, his counter.

Hayley extracted her wallet from her back pocket. She placed a five dollar bill on the counter and waited for her change. She wanted to say thank you. But why? He was just doing his job. She knew she just wanted to tell him her name. He was good with names, and would wish the regulars a good day by theirs. She was a regular, but she had never spoken to him.

She pocketed the dollar, the two quarters, the two dimes, and the penny. Her poor little five dollar desecrated into pieces.

And left.

***

The man with the clipboard spied her from a few feet away.

Hayley wasn’t walking fast, and her eyes stared at the man when he looked at her. She could tell a lot about people by there eyes. This man was a bit unsure of himself, but passionate.

He fell in step. He had ugly purple converse on.

“How would you like to support woman’s rights? This petition is to show support for the ousting of Mayor Greenich, who divorced his wife and rid of three city council members. The three women council members!”

Hayley never stopped looking at him while he talked. But she did think about it. What if those council members sucked? What if his wife sucked? She never slowed her pace. How did signing a piece of paper really do anything? She never spoke.

***

Hayley entered her apartment. Her heart was beating a bit fast. She wondered if he had left.

A man watching her TV quickly turned it off, got up, and approached her. She was honestly a bit scared. The men she met rarely stayed long. She knew why.

He tried to kiss her, placing his hands on her.

She didn’t respond. She wanted to. He was nice and gentle, and smelled a bit like a convenience store.

He talked about himself. About his life, his family. She heard. That was one thing she always did. She always listened. She probably looked like a dog.

Hayley made herself some cereal. She was really hungry. She never ate much. She was worried, the man had stopped talking. He was going to leave. Hayley so wanted to speak. But she didn’t. She couldn’t.

The man left a a few twenties on Hayley’s counter.

And then left.

***
***

The words spewed from her mouth like water out of a broken fire hydrant. Uncontrollably. Therefore honestly. She spoke of many things. They came from her curiosity, and that spurred her onward. What would happen if she took things too far? She knew the things were true, she knew that the things were terrible.

“You don’t deserve her, bigot. You don’t. Deserve. Her.”

But the back pressure couldn’t last. She started hearing her voice falter. Her mother’s eyes seemed to be begging her to stop. She started to worry that what she was saying was truly wrong. Her passionate words began to slow to a gurgle. And all that remained was a fine mist, drifting awkwardly around her.

If the sun was out, that mist might have made a rainbow.

But it wasn’t. She wanted to cry.

She was hurt. No one had heard her. No one even said anything back. He just stared. She knew her punishment would come later. She knew she hadn’t changed anything.

And that was the day Hayley decided never to speak again.

***

Hayley grabbed a pack of beef jerky and a can of ginger ale from the convenience store. She liked the smell of the stores, musty and delicious. What she didn’t enjoy, though, was the line of people in front of her, also getting their morning fix. She stood completely still while they made their purchases.

She then approached the counter, and laid out her feast. Slim jim and Canada dry. It really didn’t get much better.

“$3.29” the overweight clerk stated. She thought it interesting how well the clerk belonged in that spot in her mind, like he couldn’t fit anywhere else. This was his domain, his counter.

Hayley extracted her wallet from her back pocket. She placed a five dollar bill on the counter and waited for her change. She wanted to say thank you. But why? He was just doing his job. She knew she just wanted to tell him her–

“Hayley.”

The sound startled herself at first. It was. Beautiful. A whisper and a kiss, barely audible. She worried that the man at the counter wouldn’t hear her. She was worried that he would.

“Enjoy the Dry, Hayley. It is as good as carbonated bevs get.”

She smiled. She beamed. She pocketed the dollar, the two quarters, and dropped the rest. A little girl sprinted from her mom to help her gather her fortune. Her little hand slapped two coins into hers.

“Thanks.”

The sound cracked as it gurgled up her throat, the vibrations like an earthquake.

“No prob, got you covered.”

The mother smiled, the daughter ran for some goody. A reward, maybe, for her noble deed. Hayley hoped that was the case. She was still smiling. She didn’t want to ever leave this place.

She left.

***

The man with the clipboard spied her from a few feet away.

Hayley wasn’t walking fast, and her eyes stared at the man when he looked at her. She could tell a lot about people by there eyes. This man was a bit unsure of himself, but passionate.

He fell in step. He had ugly purple converse on.

“How would you like to support woman’s rights? This petition is to show support for the ousting of Mayor Greenich, who divorced his wife and rid of three city council members. The three women council members!”

Hayley never stopped looking at him while he talked. But she did think about it. What if those council members sucked? What if his wife sucked? She never slowed her pace.

“How does signing a piece of paper do anything?”

The question tasted good as it left her chap-stick coated lips. In the winter they always tended to crack.

“Well, the city council legislation of 93′ states that a petition signed by 1,000 citizens gets its intended ideas put up for vote in the next city election. Your John Hancock can make history!”

Hayley wouldn’t condemn a man she knew nothing of, but this signing thing was interesting.

“Ummm, I’ll think about it, thanks.”

The man stepped in front of her cutting her off. Hayley nearly bumped him as she halted her militant pace.

“Come on, just a quick signature, won’t take no time at all!”

Hayley got scared, and felt very sick very fast. He can’t tell me what to do. No one can. She walked through the man. And then started skipping. And then running.

Tears rolled off of her eyes and rained fire on the asphalt.

***

Hayley entered her apartment. Her heart was beating a bit fast. She wondered if he had left. She really hoped he had. Hayley needed to think.

He hadn’t. The man watching her TV quickly turned it off, got up, and approached her. She was honestly a bit scared. The men she met rarely stayed long. She knew why.

He tried to kiss her, placing his hands on her. She punched him in the stomach and ran into the bathroom, stifling back sobs. She slammed the door shut.

Please go away. Please.

He knocked on the door.

“Are you all right?”

She said nothing. This man was an idiot. She punched him for no reason. She had done no such thing to make it clear she wouldn’t want to be touched, especially after the night.

He started to talk. About himself. His problems. How he was sorry about his offenses. She heard. That was easy to do. Easy yet so important. So important. She listened. Hugging her legs closer as she sat on the tile.

She heard him get up. Hayley didn’t want him to leave. He was nice and gentle. She knew more about him now. About the things he was afraid of. She wanted to tell him what she was afraid of.

She heard the front door close.

Hayley placed her pale white hand underneath the bathroom door. It was clenched in hatred. Hatred at waste, hatred at herself. Afraid she had lost some great war. More afraid she was still fighting in it. Now.

Then she heard the door open.

Her hand unfurled.

The steps got closer to the door.

When his hand touched hers, she grasped it like a rope.

“I am afraid.”

She spoke loudly, though her voice quivered.

He stroked her wrist with his other hand.

“So am I.”

The two of them stayed like that for a long time. It was the most intimate experience she ever had with another human being.

Hayley felt like it must be getting dark. And then her stomach grumbled.

She abruptly let go of his hand and got up and opened the door in a single, fluid motion.

Staring the man in the eyes, completely taught, utterly confident, Hayley spoke:

“Let me make us some cereal.”

 

© 2013 Jacob Jarecki All Rights Reserved

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