- Sixteen in Ten
Naomi sits alone in the back corner of her classroom, dangling her feet from the short counter. She had another one. None of the children in the room dare look at her the same way after it. They look at her like a monster, some sort of freak.
“It’ll be alright, honey, I promise. We’ll just have to take you to the doctor and have you checked out…” Her teacher consoles her, as her parents drive furiously to the school, with a pointed purpose. To fix her. Make her right. Figure out what went wrong with their little baby girl.
Naomi sits in an office, her feet pressed against her chest. A doctor asks her mother and father questions, while a nurse asks her questions. Naomi doesn’t talk, though. She’s afraid she’ll mess it all up again.
They all keep talking about an EEG. Naomi doesn’t know what that is, but it doesn’t sound good. Little disks attached to her head, and sharp jolts. Then comes the sighs, and the pain. Electric acts of violence against her broken little head.
“We’re sorry, Naomi. We’ll do all we can to make it better for you. We promise,” all the doctors say.
Naomi is sitting on the edge of her bed, body layered under blankets upon blankets. Her aunt and uncle are sitting on the desk, talking to her quietly.
She hadn’t talked for a month; she had refused. The last time she talked, was when it happened. Talking to a friend, when she simply went limp. Talking was bad.
“Naomi, please. We’re here for you, promise.”
The first words to leave her mouth ever since that third seizure. ‘No.’
Naomi’s voice came back to her the same way it left, “Nobody can make any more promises. They don’t work."
Naomi is lying down on the carpet, face to the ceiling. Catatonic was the only word to describe her.
“We can’t help you if you keep refusing us! Naomi, we promise! It’s going to work out!”
But they can’t understand the looks, the pain. It was impossible to go back to that place. She would rather die. She went back to not talking.
She never did have to go back to school. Her family sacrificed.
She learned about the outside world in inverse; she experienced the outside from inside, the intricacies of life lost to a scared pair of parents.
Naomi’s sitting at a table, head in her lap. A cake was laid out across the table, candles lit and balloons flying. Mother and father are sitting on the counter, faces buried in hands. Aunt Ankeno and Uncle Minoru standing at Naomi’s side, hands on shoulders, calm, but sad, smiles lining their faces.
She sent invites. They were a prod into darkness. She didn’t really expect anyone to show up. She had hopes, but not promises.
The doorbell rang. Uncle Minoru ran from her side, opening the door with a happy face. In walked a girl, much like Naomi. Broken.
Naomi was happy, a grin crossing her face for the first time in many days. Weeks, even. Months. The girl’s name was Natsume. She walked funny, and had adorable little eyes, an eye of olive and an eye of amber.
Naomi and Natsume were quick friends. Both of them were home schooled from a young age. They understood each other. They liked the same things. Did the same things.
“I’ll be with you forever, Naomi! I promise!”
Maybe promises could work. Maybe things could work. Maybe life could move on from that stand still, that broken tick in life’s clock.
Naomi is sitting, cross legged on her bed. Natsume is across from her, with a flashlight and a stack of books.
They’re supposed to be asleep. It’s too dark, and the late nights are ‘bad.’
But Naomi wanted to have fun. She flicked off the light, kissed her mom and dad good night, and then Natsume bounced up and down on the bed with joy, flicking open the first book. Naomi sat down and got to reading.
Hours into the night, Naomi went rigid. Natsume laughed at first, but broke into screams soon after. Mother and father sigh and scold.
Naomi is sitting in the corner of her room, knees dragged to her chest. Natsume hasn’t been around, but she doesn’t know why. Naomi thinks it’s because of the seizure.
Working up the courage, she remembers that promise; that Natsume will be with her forever.
She walks downstairs, eyes red and puffy, and says that she’s going out, bold faced and prepared. Naomi had only been to Natsume’s once. She knew how to get there though.
When she stepped up the stairs to the house, her parents still shouting in the background, Natsume answered, arms and legs wrapped in casts.
Naomi is sitting on the couch, a pair of glasses across her dainty nose. A blue tint staining her eyes, she was experiencing something she wasn’t really supposed to. She thought, at least. The glasses made it possible. Something just as simple as the news was a wonder.
Natsume was sat next to her, watching her promise unfold, grinning madly. When Naomi’s parents walked through the door, they stared at the television, then to Naomi, confused.
Bouncing the couch, Naomi watched the news like your average child would watch the Sunday morning cartoons, utterly enthralled by the idea of television.
Naomi was standing, on the solid pavement. A hill. Leading up to the massive gates of that school. A smile across her face, but sweat beading her forehead. Her hand is gripping tightly to Natsume’s, stepping slowly up the hill. Natsume struts along, her crutches tapping against the pavement alongside Naomi..
They had come to terms with it. Naomi’s epilepsy, Natsume’s arthritis. They seemed mundane. Just something to mark down. Twitching, weakness.
“Naomi.” Natsume stops.
Naomi turns, facing her. “What?”
“We’ll still be together forever. Promise?”
“I… promise.” Those words stuttered out, hard to leave, but perfect across the tongue.
I've been dead for a bit. Writing for contests and doing early semester projects. All sortsa fun.
Wrote this as a little exercise, considering how much of my focus is on length, usually inadvertently.
I'll have more Innumerable Fits to post soon. Just need to break myself back in and all. Had a long holiday season.