Monday, 17 September 2012

140: The Day The Dream Died

Sybil reported sick the next day and the one after that.  He was dead and she felt like her life was over too.  He had been ever-present in her world and, in her mind, she referred almost everything she said and did to him for approval.  Her go-to phrase was ‘What would Elvis do?’

Dead.  How could he be, he was supposed to go on forever.  They had never met but she always felt sure they would.  Maybe they would chat, share some wine and then, who knows?  It was a dream but that dream came true for Priscilla, didn’t it.  Why should she be any different?  Except now her dream never would come true, however unlikely it had been even just the day before.

Sybil had heard that sensational headlines screamed from the pages of a newspaper.  She just screamed at the page, screamed and screamed.  Usually she had set off for the factory by the time the paper was delivered but oversleeping that morning, she caught the paperboy as he plopped The Sun on the porch mat.  It was folded front outwards, or she would have missed it then and caught it on a billboard somewhere, perhaps at the station.  Somewhere that a 23 year old woman should not been seen screaming over the untimely death of a fading star she had never met.

She had no idea how long she screamed for on the porch before she returned inside.  Her throat was raw and raspy but when she tried to drink a glass of water she couldn’t swallow.  She tried again and gagged on the water.  Sybil vomited thin breakfast tea into the sink then wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.  More water, more gagging, but this time no vomiting.  Her top lip pricked with sweat and she slid to the floor, back pressed against the cupboard door.

Sybil’s mother worked mornings and came home at lunchtime.  She found Sybil still sat on the kitchen floor, staring but not seeing the tiles.  The newspaper discarded beside her was explanation enough for her mother.  She knelt down, threaded her arm through Sybil’s and led her compliant daughter up from the floor and to her room.  Sybil lay fully clothed on the top of the bed and her mother laid a crochet blanket over her.  She closed her eyes against the day.  Her mother stroked her hair, aware that whenever Sybil opened her eyes, the day would still be there.

Inspiration - The Death of Elvis Presley

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