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pat medlin

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Cement Dancer
By pat medlin
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A story of damaging manipulation.

     The water was running.  Tired of their argument, she lifted herself from the couch and made her long way down the short hall.  At the doorway she paused and stood still, watching his hunched profile through the shards of water on the clear shower curtain.  She sighed softly to herself and lowered the thin black straps from her shoulders, closing her eyes as the silk taunted its way down her body.  She stepped closer to stand in front of him.  He did not look.

     The girl parted the curtain, stepped in and seated herself behind him, her butt against the back of the tub, wrapping her legs around his body.  She pressed her cheek tightly against his back to shield her eyes from the stinging water, cupped his softly rolling belly in her hands and began to rock their bodies back and forth, humming softly to him songs that he did not know.

     After a while she began to listen to the water.  It was coming down on them hot and hard from the showerhead above.  Each drop had its own unique voice.  She imagined the ones that hit her own flesh sang light and sweet, the ones bouncing off the tub and fixtures rang metallic and harsh, the curtain's drops would be flat and dull.  She wondered which sound was his.  This must be what it's like to live in the rain forest, a chorus of droplets.

     "Baby, when I was little I always had to sit in the back of the car.  My parents had cars with bucket seats, you know?   Anyway, to keep from getting bored back there with no one to talk to, I would imagine myself dancing on the cement things that divide the highway.  It didn't matter how fast we were going, I could keep up.  I did pirouettes and leaps and bends and I danced on my toes.  I always wore pink.  A frilly pink tutu with pink toes and shoes with ribbons that criss and crossed up my leg." 

     She showed him now on her shriveled skin where the ribbons would be.

     "I had no doubt in my mind that if I was really up there that I could do it all."

     She moved her hands to trace the moles on his back.  She found a wiry black hair and pulled it gently.  She kissed his skin.

     "I got my ears pierced when I was four, you know?  I asked my mama every night;  when can I pierce my ears Mama?  She told me when I was old enough to walk from her beauty shop to the Merle Norman next door and ask Mama Helen -she was the lady who sold wigs and pierced ears there - would she do it, then I could.  I thought about it for a long time, trying to figure out in my head if it was worth it or not.  I finally asked Mama for a dollar.  And you know what?  I guess she thought it was for a coke or something, but the next thing she knew, Mama Helen was on the phone asking her if it would be okay."

     Her cat, Ruth, was on the other side of the curtain watching them.  Ruth had a fascination with water and never would leave them alone when they were in the bathtub.  It drove him crazy, but she liked it.

     "Meow"

     "Hey Ruthie.  Ruthie,"  the girl cooed to the calico.

     Through the curtain the man elbowed the cat, knocking it off the ledge of the tub.  It ran away.  "Baby" she whined.

     His silence remained dark and heavy.

     She leaned her head back against the wall and opened her eyes to the water.  It cascaded down on her, growing larger as it neared her body.  Her nipples hardened under the touch.  Her body felt alert and sensitive for the first time in months.  Being pregnant was not exciting.  She had figured that out early on.  She felt fat and unattractive, her breasts were swollen ridiculously, and she threw up every morning.  It was always the same color, same taste.  And she was only seven weeks.

     Under this domesticated rain she felt alive.

     "Do you remember when we first met?  Some days we wouldn't get out of bed.  We'd call in sick and order pizza and put the box right there in bed with us!  Used to, when we lived on Evergreen Street, every Saturday morning my Mama would wake up early and fix me breakfast, so when I got up for Saturday morning cartoons, there'd be a tray with scrambled eggs with cheese and grits with little pieces of bacon in them.  That was when the Roadrunner was still on, though."

     The water was beginning to get cold, she wondered if he noticed.  Is he noticing anything?  What is he thinking?  What is he doing?  Why is he here, sitting in the shower by himself?

     "Dammit, say something to me....anything!  If you don't fucking say something to me, I'm going to scream."

     But she didn't.  She just sat there.....knowing that he had finally won.

     He laughed softly in a sinister sounding tone.  "You're too much of a fucking pussy to do anything."

     She slowly stood up and stepped out onto the damp linoleum.  She watched the puddles grow on the floor as she walked doen the hall to the kitchen.  She opened the bottom of three drawers and fished out the phone book,  She made an appointment for early the next Saturday.

    

     They arrived early and she chose a seat in the waiting room that was closest to the window.  She liked to look out.  He held her hand tightly as he browsed through a magazine.  As the clock ticked, the room began to fill.  There were all sorts here.  She sat wide eyed, staring, trying to think about all of them instead of herself.

     There was a young girl in black tights and a Metallica tee shirt.  She smiled a lot.  Her boyfriend had lots of earrings, a pair of black Cons, and long, greasy straight hair.  There was a man with them, sad and grey.  He looked away when they kissed.  She saw him sign some papers with the girl.

     There was an older woman there by herself, who had a big bag with her.  The woman kept pulling all this stuff out of it....books and pillows, cross-stitch, like she didn't know what to bring along so she brought everything.  The girl noticed that the woman had perfect hair and thought of Mary Poppins.

     She looked around and could find only one other couple that she thought was married,  The young woman was crying and the man couldn't comfort her.  She stared at that woman a lot, trying to comfort her with her eyes....(through her eyes)

     They called her name.

     "Lyla Lucetta?"

     She rose stiffly.  Taking the two rings from her left hand, she kissed his rough cheek and dropped them into his thick calloused hand.  He did not look up.  She did not say good bye.

       

     She woke with a nurse shaking her.

     "Lyla, honey wake up.  Wake up darling." 

     She opened her eyes and vomited down the front of her gown.  It was yellow and smelled and tasted familiar.  She looked across the recovery room at all the women around her.  They were all looking around at each other, searching for answers and ease.

     She knew if they'd only ask..... she could help them all.....she was 'Lyla'.....cement divide dancer and she could do anything.
    


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Reviewed by kj Force 4/10/2014
WOW..that was to say the least..awesome ! I think at one time or another many of us have been where she was, and it only makes us stronger. We as women tend to sometimes sell ourselves short. I look forward to reading your other writes...kudos on a job well done...
Reviewed by Michael True 7/21/2013
Again you demonstrate an uncanny way of putting so much into so few action-packed paragraphs. If you have not already, I do hope you find a way to publish and circulate your emotionally intense prose. M.True
Reviewed by Lark Pogue 7/13/2013
This is excellence. Can't wait to read more.
L
Reviewed by Diana Legun 7/10/2012
So real is this that my face hurts from reading it, which is the best way I can express how greatly I found this to be written. ~~ DIana
Reviewed by Lonnie Hicks 7/10/2012
Wow. A tremendous piece of writing here. Human drama, not sentimental but affecting. Felt it.
Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 7/3/2012
Dark...and very dramatic....clearly defined characters...well penned, Pat...enjoyed the story...

Anna
Reviewed by Jane Noponen Perinacci 6/28/2012
He had no love to give.

Love ya!

Jane
Reviewed by Morgan Merriweather 6/28/2012
Pregnant is pregnant and this topic will always illicit debate. What I find fascinating is she seems to be bullied into a. Choice when ironicaly this is not a person you would want her to have a child with. She can dance alright. Right out the door. Dark and interesting
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton 6/28/2012
Strange story, Pat. I liked the directness of it and the mood of the man, dark, and darker. Her leaving the two rings (engagement and wedding band?) in the man's hand before being led to the abortion room(?) I'm question my comments because I'm wondering if you haven't misdirected the story and it isn't an abortion after all. I think so though, she was only seven weeks.





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