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The One Who Heard And Saw

In the beginning, it was only a place to hide. She went in an act of desperation, wishing to immerse herself within the sound in an attempt to drown the other things. "End them with music," she said. "Things will improve," she said. "Hide beneath the sound, in the music," she said. "They'll listen." Without knowing if they actually would hear her absence, she left.

With long hair and pale white dress she lifted the lid and tucked herself away within the piano, maybe only to admire the interior design, they thought, but they didn't know. The "mice" they heard were fingernails, scratching and clawing at the instrument's structure, breaking it from the inside, like they did to her. The curls of wood beneath her fingernails soon became a nest, a bed of uncomfortable fragments to run hands through and a bed to curse for not being softer. She scratched until her fingernails became dull, jagged, broken, soft, bleeding, nothing. The girl closed her ears with her jaded hands. She wanted sitting and listening con brio, even if it meant discomfort and led to tears. The keys would bring her back, the keys would bring them back, she thought, but it had to be soon. The strings she had so carefully weaved as safe in her mind were not innocuous. They would carry her, wrap themselves around her, and choke her. Her body would begin to bloat and turn blue, maggots would chew her organs and she would decompose. The piano would absorb all of her and claws would sprout from beneath the piano, awoken by the girl's death, and inch by inch, slowly, the piano would escape its life of stillness.

The girl was an Insider: (the only one, of course, though she believed the piano to be one with her) she was The One Who Heard and Saw. The piano knew her and had felt her weight, her clawing fingernails, her heavy head, and had engulfed the girl. Wrapped in piano strings, she was unable to move but completely willing to be still because she had been right. There was no Outside now, there was only Inside and she was The One Who Heard and Saw. Dreams were no longer conceived for she couldn't fathom anything better than her reality. Cobwebs and dust no longer deterred her; they were the Inside and in the Inside was she, the Insider. Sempre.

Days passed and wood creaked, strings wheezed, dust fell, sounds echoed and resonated within the Inside. The girl's fingers sacrificed their interior carving and now traced only shapes onto the walls that sheltered them. She was her own still point in her turning world. The girl was nothing else and everything else. Sunken grey eyes became darker as her weight became lighter. Long hair became longer while her white dress was stained by darkness. Imperfection and inadequacy adorned the girl's body but she felt no feelings because she had forgotten they existed. Trivial things once deemed eminent lost place in her mind and joined the Forgotten: her. She would always remember to cover her ears. Sempre.

Her jutting hip bones only seemed to create a reassurance. Full of conviction she continued to sit in the piano, waiting for sound and silence. The ghosts of voices and harsh tones still echoed in her and she hoped they would end soon. Distinct cheek bones and knobby knees only escalated her determination. "I will beat time," she said. "This can be a game," she said. "This can be a sad, cruel, game."

Still no sound.

"Give me sound, it's all I want, God," she had remembered pain, and its return was begrudgingly cherished only because it was a feeling and the girl loved to feel. Hands smothered sobs and scraped tears, but no sound came. "I am so sorry. I'm sorry. This is my fault, and it is tearing me apart. I'm lost in sound and silence and I can't bear it anymore," Screams and sobs and tears and prayers filled her ears. "No one's listening. I just want someone to hear me."

Putting her hands on her ears, pushing inward, pushing down on her closed eyelids, her hair, her knees. "Just shrink, disappear, disappear because no one wants you anymore, they don't want you anymore, the Outsiders do not love you. They scream and scream, make me wish I was dead dying gone, stop screaming please." Ending her monologue of feelings was not a choice but an inevitability. There were no tears, for she had completely given up the expression of something she didn't know. The girl was trying to trap everything in, pushing on her face and ears, willing thoughts to leave her, closing her eyes so tightly all she saw was blackness and all she felt was the absence of being wanted. The Insider was Inside and alone because she thought she was. Eyes closed and ears covered.

Wiping soaked palms on walls, she listened. She held her breath and waited for sound while none arrived. Gasping because the echo of screams was gone. There was nothing to listen to and nothing to hide from because it wasn't there. Eyes open and ears uncovered she listened to the Outside for Outside noises. Chairs being pushed, exhalation, shoes scuffing parquet floor, hands screeching, footsteps footsteps closer closer closer. Piano keys being pressed.



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