Monday, September 28, 2009

Just Breathe

This story appears in "Beyond the Clouds: two minute tales for women on the go".  This was the original story and is also unedited.                                               
                                               Just Breathe

                                                                 By: Melaina Lausen

     It was a hot summer night. I put my key in the deadbolt and turned it. The house was quiet; I didn’t bother to turn on the lights. There was a fire burning in the hearth and the room smelled of scented woodchips. A half empty bottle of champagne sat on the floor in front of the fireplace, next to my grandmother’s crystal flutes. I slowly climbed the stairs. I felt the smooth wood of the banister slide effortlessly against my palm. The first door on the right was ajar. Candle light filled the room casting shadows. Her beautiful, long, blonde hair spilled over the edge of my pillow, my Ralph Lauren sheets twisted between her thighs. The fluffy, down comforter trailed off the edge of the queen size bed across the floor. Even in the shadows she was breath taking. His dark hair was like a feather touching her shoulder, a stark contrast against her creamy skin. The stubble that covered his jaw aged him. His arm was wrapped around her. They looked peaceful; the scene much like one you read about in a romance novel. I paced to the closet on the left and silently opened the door. The smell of laundry soap and fabric softener invaded my senses. Reaching up, I removed the cardboard box from the top shelf. I was complacent as I returned to the open door; feeling the texture of the oak on my fingertips as I pressed it to open wider. I felt the cold, metal weight in my right hand as I raised it and squeezed. Twice.

     They tell me her name was Emily; I found it fitting for someone so striking. The chair that held me was made of hard plastic. The worn leather straps that bound me were soft against my wrists yet unforgiving. The hatch in front of me was just closing, I heard the suction seal. The sea foam green curtain before me slowly began to draw, revealing the glass observatory. Only one face was familiar. Her soft, sad, blue eyes stared straight into my soul, her elegant dark hair the same as her son’s. She touched her hand to the glass, reaching out to me; tears streaming down her cheeks. I didn’t deserve the love or forgiveness that she freely offered, after taking her only son.

     A deep voice materialized in the small space and asked for my last statement. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath; my throat was thick and sluggish to respond. “Two wrongs don’t make a right, I accept my consequence.” A thick cloud slowly rose from the floor. They told me not to hold my breath, not that I would have tried. I lowered my lids and thought, just breathe. I didn’t gaze up at the faces who watched. I focused on my breathing. In...out…in…out…in…out. Bit by bit, I slipped away.