Day 76 – Folie à Deux – Part 1 – Catherine

This one has been mulling around in my head for a few years now, and I think now is the time for it to come to light… mainly because I can actually force myself to finish it.

This one is especially copyrighted. Super copyrighted. So copyrighted it’s copyright would copyright your copyright.

Word count: 1506

It was one of those muggy, humid days where heavy clouds threatened rain but glorious interspersed sunshine promised heat and warmth. Outside, it was too hot for jackets but too strange to be wandering around in shorts and summer dresses. It was a day for ice cream and chilled coke. It was a day for pottering around and achieving very little. It was a lazy May afternoon on the brink of what promised to be the best summer in years.

At the end of a dead end street there was a house. A semi-detatched house; quite modern complete with lawn and drive way, it had a tree to the front. On rare years this would occasionally produce crab apples, but they were never very nice to taste. Beside the tree was a window. Though usually the curtains were drawn, the entire living room could be seen presently from the pavement. It was warm looking. There was a fire and a coffee table; a three piece suite completed the room, though it was drowned in throws and cushions. Towards the back, the living room stretched into a dining room. On the other side of the dining table, a patio led out to a relatively large back garden. Currently the earth was being dug up and there was a woman hacking away at some weeds with a trowel. She was wearing her worst appearing but most comfortable clothing. Adorned with a green checked shirt – most likely her husband’s – and a pair of holey old jeans, the woman busied herself for the afternoon by rummaging around the garden, knee deep in earth and flora.  The garden ended with weather stained fence and a patch of rugged shrubberies. It was not the most aesthetic of gardens. Over the fence was beautifully pristine garden, decorated with little flagstones and rockeries. The neighbours were sipping shallow glasses of white wine whilst the woman dirtied herself in earth.

Above, a girl sat slumped by her bedroom window and stared into vacant space. From below it might have looked as if she were looking down at her mother in the garden. But when she looked up and waved at her daughter, there was not an inch of recognition or acknowledgement. Catherine was in a world of her own. It was not unlike any other teenage world of a seventeen year old, but it was far different to what her family might have imagined it to be. In her world right now there were no exams. There was no school and there was no future. She was happily oscillating on a swing in some far distant country, maybe even planet. On the swing she would be dreaming of somewhere else – somewhere hot, exotic and adventurous. There was little in common between her dreams than her reality.

A pit-patter on the window signified rain. It brought Catherine partially back to reality. She blinked a few times and her eye line fell from the dead set horizon. But her mind remained constrained to the unlikely. Today was one her sad days. Though usually she dabbed some make up on in the morning, today she had chosen not to. Her face was red, blotchy, but somehow clearer than normal. Her eyes seemed duller without her eyeliner. She did not look like the normal Catherine.

There were ten days left until exams. Her last set of exams at school. Catherine was not sure if that was a daunting prospect or not. An end of an era? Her heart barely skipped a beat at the mention of exams, pressure, points, scores, results and university. It would be all be just something that would happen. Catherine was never the type to fail at school, but neither was she the type to study relentlessly until either saturation or breaking point. She got bored too easily. Reading books and sleeping were more her forte and lately sleeping was especially her favourite thing to do.

Catherine retired from her post by the window, happily saddened by the rain. She gazed hopelessly around her room. It was a mess; no, a battle against neatness and messiness. Messiness was currently the more powerful of the two. Clothes were slain across the floor; books battling for prominence on her bed and paper spreading like propaganda on her desk. The little desk light look pathetic as it gazed up at her, bulb glaring at her as if to ask her why she could not just tidy up?

She collapsed on to her bed and grabbed the quilt in her hand. Despite the warmth, she was quite chilly. A flu like sensation had been creeping over her for a few days now and she was slightly worried that it might not be gone by the start of exams. Not that she cared, overly, she didn’t think? It was one of those things, maybe. Stress’s way of sneaking in a sly reminder to slow down. Perhaps it might just be hay fever, though she’d never had it before.

At any rate, she was enjoying the peace and quiet of her bedroom. There was no music and there was no talking. There was no clock for which to fill the room with an incessant ticking noise. There was no dog barking downstairs and there was no hamster spinning in its wheel. The only noise that she could hear was the occasional cutting sound of her mother hacking away in the garden. That was soothing, though. Catherine felt her eyes grow heavy. A guilt edged through her chest that she should study some more. It had been days since she had looked properly at her revision notes.

Not leaving the bed, she reached across the desk to her physics notebook. A rapid glance through her notes revealed that she knew all she thought she needed to know on momentum. She had done all the calculations and worked through all the proofs time and time again. She was bored of it all. English was much the same. She knew her book inside out. She knew the characters as if she were them. Catherine threw her notes back at the table and the air carried them down to the ground. She grunted a huff.

From somewhere in the room a phone vibrated and bleeped. A text message. A vague excitement rose in her. Launching herself from the bed she was across the other side of the room in one leap and back by the window once more, where she had left the phone. It was an old phone. It barely worked, the battery was permanently low and it was only really good for texting. But it sufficed. One new message received. Her stomach knotted itself.

Hi, what’s the answer to the third question in last year’s exam?

Her stomach wrapped around on itself. She exited the message quickly and put the phone back down on the windowsill, feeling distinctly distant. She stepped over to her desk and pressed the on button on her laptop. The screen lit up to the login page. Another vibration and a beep. Catherine snatched the phone within seconds.

Sorry, meant to say for History.

Throwing the phone into her laundry pile, she stormed back to her comforting duvet once again. Downstairs she heard the backdoor shut. Her mum had obviously given up on gardening. Catherine looked outside and saw that it had began to pour. The noise comforted her now that she noticed it. For a while she listened to the sound of her mum banging cupboards and rearranging pots and pans downstairs in the kitchen. The light outside began to dim and the rain was suddenly a curtain descending from the sky.

A gentle noise outside alerted her senses from her reverie. A few seconds later she heard quiet yet distinct banging and chirpy, excitable voices. Splashing accompanied footsteps and a scream of delight that could be heard the entire length of the street screeched across her ear drum. It was times like these that Catherine wished she did not have two windows in her room; one at the front of the house and one to the back. The back one was quiet, relaxing. The front one invited in the chaos and the reality that she was not the only person in the world.

The voices carried in from outside into the hallway downstairs. Catherine sank back into her covers and closed her eyes. Her mind was heavy, laden with information. It needed rest. It did not need this.

“Catherine!” her mum shouted up the stairs.

Catherine could picture her excited face beaming up the banisters.

“Catherine!” her mum repeated with more vigor when no response – verbal or physical – came.

Catherine promptly heard the thudding of slippers climbing the stairs and a second later her bedroom door burst open, revealing her mother in fresh clothes and an emanating contentment.

“Your sister’s home! Aren’t you going to come downstairs?”

Catherine feigned a smile and gathered to her feet, leaving the warm, comforting isolation of the duvet behind.

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~ by S.G. Mark on December 22, 2011.

One Response to “Day 76 – Folie à Deux – Part 1 – Catherine”

  1. Not bad.

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