A Natural Peace This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Jaime was content. The water was smooth, crystal clear, not too hot but slightly steamier than lukewarm, a gentle temperature which teased her baby fair skin with patchy, sanguine color. She lay comfortably, almost drowsily, against the chill of the slippery green tile, toying with a soft washcloth heavy with moisture. The fresh cake of soap half bobbed above the water's surface like a bright, lone yellow buoy amidst a sea of tranquil froth. It moved about with an uncertainty, exploring space. Jaime watched it from beneath drooping eyelids and a fringe of black lashes. She rather thought it looked sad, bouncing solitarily on its own. Her shoulders were growing cold and she slipped further into the water to shelter them in a close warmth. The movement unsettled the docile loveliness and the soap jerked up and down wildly for a few instants before finally calming again with rippling peace.

Oh, how she enjoyed her baths! She always felt inclined to simply hug herself tightly and snugly and submerge into the soothing underwater world, where everything was warm and compact and still, and even a slight hum of an indescribable rhythm beat in her ears. She knew that when she was above it, there was something missing. She was aware of it because other people had communicated the fact to her. But there really was no way for her to know. She had been born not knowing and for eight years had struggled to discover what was absent in her life, but had never reached an answer, so while she waited she would sink beneath the water and enjoy the familiarity she felt there.

Jaime inched herself further into the depths of the tub, so that the slightly pointed chin of her heart-shaped face just skimmed the water. She was almost floating, her arms wrapped around her torso, she was content. She felt this rush of warmth, which she thought may be love. She knew her name meant love. Her mother once told her that "Jaime" was "I love" in a foreign language, in French. She was not certain what French was, exactly, but she liked the idea that her name had a meaning so special. She closed her eyes and allowed her mouth to be surrounded with wet transparency. Her hair was long and a mixture of amber and sweet honey color and it floated about her, plastering to her ears in soaked strands. In the next moment her ears were beneath the surface and she was holding her breath and she sensed the swirls of tropical bathwater pressing tenderly against her eyelids, and then her forehead.

Jaime's mother had pushed ajar the door ever so gingerly. She watched her oblivious daughter with troubled brown eyes. The first time she had seen Jaime like this she had panicked and nearly cried when Jaime had suddenly opened her eyes with a shake like somebody awakening from the dead. Jaime had not offered her an explanation then and her mother still did not understand. It worried her, unnerved her. She wondered if this was a ritual of every deaf child.

Jaime's mother began to move away, back into the dim hall. She shut the door with thoughtful care so as not to disrupt the noiseless presence, although she knew it didn't really matter. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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dancer13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm
i really like the ending!(: nice work.
 
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