A person could walk right through them without falling, without succumbing to the dizzying vortex, the desire to hurl oneself like a dervish spinning into oblivion. It was possible and, of course, necessary. She hesitated. There they all were, milling about, expectant, buoyed up in their Sunday best, children fidgeting, women smoothing their dresses, men jingling the change in their pockets, rocking back on their heels.
Slipping behind the doorpost, she rested her back against the wall and closed her eyes. An image floated into mind of herself as a child, dolled up by her mother in a starchy dress, her hair equally starchy in a perfect, immovable bob, paraded out for company, grinning, repelled and flushed with the unasked-for attention. Another image of herself: holding an absent classmate's paper while passing back papers at school, the nun in her black habit staring at her, waiting for an answer, repeating: "What do you think you should do with it?" Her mind blank, windpipe squeezed, tears welling. Such a small thing, in every sense of the word. So ridiculous.
What we do to each other. She shook her head. What we expect. The thought of the nun's sour, pinched face staring at her now made her laugh, hard enough that she had to run to the ladies room so no-one would hear. Dabbing mascara from under her eyes and straightening her satin dress, she looked at herself in the mirror. Drawing a deep breath, she said, "This one's for you, Sister!"
This is the tenth post in an ongoing online game of Consequences. Each successive entry begins with the closing line of its predecessor. Entries are 250 words long, and are linked thematically. The series started with Hydragenic, and was followed by Patteran Pages, Porous Borders, The Middlewesterner, Feathers of Hope, Blaugustine, Small Change, Via Negativa, and Cassandra Pages. The series will continue soon at Mole.