Saturday, December 24, 2011

Short Story: Safety in Seclusion

Her sweaty hands tremble on the cool, rusty metal of the door handle. She reaches into her worn jeans and took out her jingling keys and click; she locks the front door. She takes a deep breath of the fresh spring air. She put her hands inside her fuzzy sweater to warm them. She briskly heads to the bakery store down the block, occasionally looking over her shoulders and side to side on the quiet, empty suburban street filled with rows of identical brick-red houses. The healthy green, groomed lawns and blooming buds and flowers are moist from the refreshing spring dew.

The melodic wind chimes in front of the small bakery noisily welcome her in, as the lighted sign ‘Leon’s Bakery’ in big bold cherry-red letters twitches on and off. She glances at the counter; no one there. The warm, enticing smell of buttery croissants fills her nose. She stares the glass display and the variety of fresh baked goods inside; giant chocolate chip cookies, double-chocolate cake, apple tarts, pecan pie, and her favorite, strawberry cheesecake. She turns away from the display to see a man with a dark, thick mustache flipped at the edges and intense black eyebrows in a white apron. He flashes his widest smile, his light hazel eyes twinkling.

“Lina, my dear! It’s been so long!” the burly man gives Lina a warm bear hug.

“I missed you, uncle Leon.” She fights back aggressive tears ready to leave her eyes, her voice cracking “I-I finally…” she trails off momentarily, wiping off the tears “.. .Managed to leave the house.”

Uncle Leon gently pats Lina’s back and pulls up another chair by the counter.

“I knew you could do it, Lina. Remember that me and Aunty Rose are always here for you, okay?”

Lina nods, biting her lower up, “Where is Aunty Rose?”

The sound of the wind chimes fills the store once again as a tall, frail-looking woman enters the store carrying a tan wicker basket full of baking supplies. Lina leaps out of her seat and hugs her. Aunty Rose hugs her back, stroking Lina’s soft black hair, “We missed you, sweetie.”

Lina remembers that harsh, winter day again- a day she cannot forget.

Winter 2009.

Lina walks home from the bakery, carrying a plastic bag full of cakes and pastries Uncle Leon baked earlier. Suddenly, she feels a jolt of pain in her lower back that momentarily freezes her entire body. She swiftly turns around, alarmed and confused to find two menacing grins. The thinner boy, Jacob has a lopsided smirk, his dark eyes hollow and smug. The short one, Damien, roars with laughter, crossing his arms. Lina’s voice becomes a whisper, “Why did you do that?”

Now, Jacob joins in on the laughter; his gaunt, angular face looks menacing.

“Are you gonna eat all that, you fat pig?” Damien glares at Lina with a disgusted face, eyeing her up and down.

“Oink, oink!” Jacob laughs, slapping his knee in excitement.

Lina’s right hand holding on to the plastic bag shakes. She could feel her face become hot and flustered, her ears almost burning in embarrassment.

“My weight is none of your business.” Lina sputters, “What right do you have to make fun of my weight, anyway?”

Jacob bares his teeth like a rabid dog, fuming. He grabs onto Lina’s coat and punches her repeatedly, ignoring Lina’s yelps of pain. Damien grabs the plastic bag lying on the concrete pavement and opens the box of warm pastries, throwing it on top of Lina. Jacob and Damien snicker, satisfied seeing the fear in Lina’s eyes.

15 minutes after Jacob and Damien leave, Lina slowly gets up, first on her knees, then all the way up. She wipes off the cake icing and crumbs of cake from her clothes, her knees trembling. She wipes off the hot tears burning her eyes, gasping for air as her throat feels muffled and twisted. Her lungs feel like they are about to burst any minute, like an over blown balloon.

December 3, 2009.

Dear Diary,

Today might just be the worst day of my life. Yes, it’s about my weight again. I would do anything to lose this weight. I hate being fat. I hate it so much. The only thing I hate more than being fat in my life right now is the depression. It’s like people think that if someone’s overweight, you automatically have the right to make fun of them. It’s not just Damien and Jacob. Even in the media, it’s always the fat person who’s made fun of. I find it funny how on TV, they show the big, fat kid as the bully, though in real life, the fat kid is the one being bullied.

Is it some sort of crime to be a few pounds overweight? I feel worthless and insecure because of my weight. Of course, this depression is like a vicious cycle and I’m aware of that; I eat more to numb my feelings and pain and in turn, I gain even more weight. I wish I could stop. I’m sick of being made fun of. This is eating me up inside. I made a decision today. I won’t leave my house anymore. Ever. At least at home, I feel safe and protected, away from people who can hurt me.


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