by Sylvia Heike
What are you up to, Becky? Colouring merry little suns in the day room again? When are you going to learn that no amount of Daffodil Yellow is going to heal the fracture that hides inside you. I’m already in.
We both know what happens next. By tomorrow, your thirty-something pages of pretend sunshine will lie in shreds on the linoleum floor, while you, Becky Bloomington, will be huddled in a corner, plotting to kill yourself.
We aren’t friends exactly, but even I don’t hate you that much. The sunshine though? Sorry, it’s got to go. You know I can’t stand yellow.
Becky’s shoulders slump, her hand drops, and the yellow crayon rolls across the unfinished drawing.
Her chin perks up. She reaches for the crayon, still in its wrapper, and stuffs it into her mouth. She chews and chews, teeth sinking through the wrapper and crushing the waxy heart. It crumbles into chunks, smaller and smaller, mixing with soggy flakes of paper.
Other shades follow. Lemon and Honeycomb and Bitter Orange. At last, she swallows, hard–harder than swallowing tears.
The lumpy mass lands in her stomach where it burns briefly like a liquid sun.
Try adding some sunshine into your life now, Becky. I’ve devoured your sun.
Becky can’t find her yellow crayons. She pouts, tears welling in her eyes.
She calls for the nurse. He asks where she saw them last. But Becky already knows what happened. The gist of it anyway.
“It was her, wasn’t it? I hate her.”
The nurse brings her a glass of water. He makes no comment on the flecks of yellow caught between her teeth.
I feel all tingly inside when he tells her there are no yellow crayons left in the ward. Not today. Maybe never?
“But my sun isn’t finished,” she cries.
A few minutes pass. Instead of drawing something else, Becky jumps ahead of schedule and begins tearing up her daily quota of suns.
Watching her clenched fists destroy her hard work is the most fun I’ve had all day.
I feel closer to her.
A scream pierces the tranquil afternoon. “I can’t see!”
The nurse has allowed Becky outside and turned his back, just for a minute. He grabs Becky by the arm and sits her on a bench.
Becky’s face is still upturned towards the once spotless sky. Her voice breaks into a hollow whisper. “I can’t see.”
The nurse’s deep voice demands to know what’s happened. His voice cuts off when he understands. Later, he’ll blame me–they always do–but as usual, this is all Becky. She did this.
He drapes a cloth over Becky’s head and rushes her indoors.
The voice of Dr. Laszlo enters my consciousness, along with the familiar clicking of her heels. Becky lies on the hard bed, quiet and stiff like a collectible glass doll.
Dr. Laszlo pulls up Becky’s eyelids, and for a few seconds, I am both terrified and fascinated at the possibility that she might somehow see me–trap me between her tweezers and pull me out.
What were you trying to do, Becky? Cast me out with something as mundane as sunshine? Your plan has backfired, and might I add, brilliantly.
That little stunt you pulled? You will never see the sun–or anything else you love–again.
You are trapped. I already know you will never scream or beg or harm yourself again.
We float together in the darkness, your hair flowing in golden threads around us. I hold you close as we sink lower and lower into the well of your fracture.
Becky, you are full of surprises. Your new weight is pulling me deeper than I have ever been. The peaceful black squeezes around us, its tender pressure fusing us into one.
Other creatures like me slither and crawl past us. It’s hard to tell their exact shapes, but I can make out skulls and spikes and tails. Their clouded eyes gaze upon us, but unlike inhabitants of the world above, they don’t judge. You can play with them all you like.
No more sunshine, Becky. No more pain. You are safe here with me.