Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Clara and Charlie, Episode 3

Half a loaf of wonder bread, a cup of blackberry yogurt, a jar of Skippy non-crunchy peanut butter, a tin of meal replacement diet shake powder, and a bottle of Pur water. That's all that was in her mini fridge, and she had just devoured half of it. Lying on her bed some of the pain let go her body, releasing her back to a higher level of thought.

Now she could see the full size of it, she burned with embarrassment at her sin. She squirmed and twisted as if she could rub a hole in her sheets, straight out through the bottom of the bed, and out of existence. How could she have been so weak? And at the exact moment of rapture, no less? Once when she was eight years old she had forgotten to lock the bathroom door, and her brother had walked in at the exact moment she started peeing. This was that times a million. Times a billion.

Jesus had called the army of the faithful, and the vault of her being had swung wide open to show the crimson stain she had let seep in. She had been warned so many times of the apple planted in the Eden of her body. She had been lectured about the hole that let temptation in, that would dangle the juicy fruit of sin so provocatively up against her fingertips. Preachers had bewailed its succulent cries, had told of its siren call that ran as rivulets past a dry tongue in a desiccated barren. She had been warned so many times. And had she not chastised her friends when they had fallen? Had she not lectured the girls at her old secular high school when they had been profligate with their charms, and had she not stood with righteous rectitude as they had thrown away their precious virginity, one after the other like so many harlots and cheap things.

And yet! When the trumpet had sounded for Christ's army to arise and come to his side, He had swung her soul wide open, and there, in the black void of her mind, there in the inner spiritual truth of her being... panties were not where they should have been.

It made her sick even to think of such a thing. Determination boiled up within her and a frenzy drove her limbs to push at once in the same direction. Her groveling squirms aligned and coordinated themselves into purposeful movement. Thin legs drove her tiny frame up and out of bed. Her dark brown hair tangled round her, and clung to her hollow temples and high forehead. Her pressed lips were nearly the pale white of her cheek. A steady stride carried her out to the hall, and down to the second last door. With a shove she entered, passed by the shower stalls, and came finally to rest before the one bathtub. She twisted the soap specked faucet full on hot. A minute later she slid her clothes off, and stepped with gritted teeth into the curling steam. With iron satisfaction she sat, making herself take in everything she deserved. She could feel the sin burning away from her, and she felt lighter than air.

After a few minutes she didn't feel anything any more. She made herself sit there until the water was nearly cold. Only then did she let her head touch the back of the tub, and the gentle tug of oblivion lift her to the temporary respite granted the sleeping.

5 comments:

Ursula L said...

So she thinks she was left behind because she was wearing the wrong undies?

Nenya said...

No, I think she thinks she was left behind because, at a strategic moment, she wasn't wearing any undies, as it were.

Anonymous said...

She was playing with herself right when the rapture hit.

Which makes for a wonderfully sad picture of a girl who thinks a bit of self-gratification means she not only gets stuck in the tribulation, but deserves it.

Ursula L said...

I thought she was talking to her friend who said she was going to drop the astronomy course and then disappeared?

jhlipton said...

Ursala is correct:
"I'm dropping Astronomy." Michelle said, then disappeared.

Maybe Claire was having dirty thoughts about Michelle, but that's a whole different story!