Baby, Baby

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A girl, about fourteen years old, sits in an old pink bathtub. The brimming warm water hides her naked body beneath it. She dips her head under, causing her brown-blonde hair to darken to a deep chestnut. Her coffee colored eyes close under the surface as the water flows over them.
“He called me baby, baby… all night long…” plays quietly from the radio sitting on the dirty sink counter. Other than the music in the background and the inconsistent ‘plink plunk’ of the dripping tap, the room is encased in complete silence. Peeling white wallpaper covered the walls, underneath was a shockingly bright shade of pink paint that explained the reason for that second layer. The florescent lights above the sink were dark; the late-afternoon sun shone through the crusty window above the tub. Rising up from the bathing salt-filled water, steam escapes over the shower door, fogging the frosty glass.
The song reaches the girl’s ears, and with her head now resting just above the surface of the water she smiles a little, remembering unknown memories and thinking unknown thoughts; the only certain thing was the meaningfulness of this song to her. After the last strum of the guitar that implicates the ending, the girl rises up and slides open the door, standing still for a moment to allow the water to slip off of her body. She cautiously steps over the edge of the tub so as not to slip on the cold tile and reaches for a robe. Pulling the garment over her nude form, then unplugs the radio, opens the bathroom and tiptoes into the hallway; her mother is napping in the next room.
Water puddles form in her wake as she makes her way to her room. After entering and closing the door behind her, she falls onto her bed and encases her robed body in the soft, fleece blankets. A sudden wave of exhaustion overcomes her; soon the only sound in the room is the quiet, even breathing escaping from the mess of covers.
A dingy fan blows around hot air in the already sweltering room where the girl sleeps. Faded posters of various foreign cities are tacked to the peach-coloured walls along with a framed painting of a ballerina and a couple of old 1920’s records. Four dolls sit on a bookcase. Their plastic lips and glass eyes remain motionless; they are unreal and untrue, and yet here they sit, not a crease in their make-believe dresses and not a care in their make-believe world.
The many stresses and thoughts that are buzzing around the girl’s mind are silenced; she sleeps without restlessness or disturbance. Hours pass as the light behind the opened windows splashes with the inconsistent watercolour of the rustic sunset and then all is dark. The crisp, cold night air glides through the window screens and across the girl’s naked body; on her shoulders goose bumps rise up and she shivers quietly.
In her dreams she is not cold, though. In her dreams she is nothing but a transparent ghost, dancing through the stars on the indigo horizon, pretending they are millions of tiny street lights flickering on and off on a road with a destination no one knows; it extends on into the heavens and into hell forever and ever and ever, because as long as this girl is alive, the road exists. This world is completely translucent, she cannot solidify it because then it is real. Then, it becomes tainted and dirty and harsh, and this is not the world she wants to escape to; this is not what she pictures when she thinks of love and safety. Therefore this parallel universe stays hidden in her slumber, in her subconscious it lays, waiting for night to fall so that she can allow herself to return to it again.
The silvery pointe shoes on her feet step weightlessly along the mirrored avenue. Glowing above her head are billions of tiny fairy lights, guiding her way down the extraneous road that leads to everywhere and nowhere.
Someplace, she hears or sees or feels a song, a soft plucking of a guitar in far away world.
“He called me baby, baby…”





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