Cupo

Grace Mary Potts

Australia

My life is comprised of inconsistencies, daydreaming, procrastination techniques and occasionally, writing.

Message to Readers

Upon reflection I probably could have chosen a more cheerful moment in the story to use an excerpt. So I might choose a different moment for the final submission, Have a read and let me know what you think! Be warned - this is a rough draft. Constructive criticism is welcome and very much appreciated.

Finding the Yellow Sky

November 8, 2015

The sun shone pale shards of light through the gap in her curtain, reflecting off of the wooden floor in a square. Like a bright window carved out of darker oaken walls. A splash of alien colour in a room that seemed to be drained of it. The fan whirred above her, rotating in a slow circle that did little more than push stale air around the perpetually stuffy room. A breath escaped her lips and she tilted her head back against the wall behind her, curling her fingers around a fistful of the sheets that lay, still heaped and tangled, on her bed. 

She was wearing a yellow dress. 

A yellow dress with a pleated skirt and a collar that buttoned close to her throat. Formal but not… well. Tracy would probably say – would have said dammit would have said – “not depressing” but saying that struck her as wrong. Wrong when the twisting in her heart, the heaviness in her arms, and the apparent absence of air in her lungs all amounted to something that was so unequivocally not happy

Truth be told this was depressing. This was depressing and unfair in a way Amanda had never known life could be. Because how could it not be? In what world could she survive this day without feeling as though her heart had been ripped from her chest and every breath she breathed was an insult to the fact that Tracy would – God she still couldn’t believe it – never breathe again. 

Amanda closed her eyes for a moment, holding back the tears that had begun to gather there and blur the world around her, distorting it like an out-of-focus camera lens or a window of frosted glass. Her mind chose that moment to recall the mark on the calendar. The line she had struck through the words “Movie Date” and the black-blocked letters she had scribbled bellow reading: Her funeralShe kept her eyes shut. Tears slipped out anyway.  

There was a tentative knock on the door. 

“Amanda?” 

Her mother’s voice came through the wood like the voice of someone trying to speak under water; muffled and distorted. She swallowed, opening her eyes and pulling off of the wall to sit up on the bed. The calendar - their calendar - temporarily forgotten.  

Her mother knocked again. 

“Amanda,” her mother broke off, voice both more gentle and timid than she had ever heard it. “Amanda… sweetheart, do you mind if I come in?” 

She swallowed thickly and croaked out a 'No'. 

There was a creak as the door opened and then her mother’s sad, weary face appeared in the crack. The older woman let out a sigh and stepped through, turning back briefly to shut the door quietly behind her, before coming around the sit on the bed. 

Amanda moved with the dip in the mattress, swaying to the right to lean into her mother’s side. The warmth and familiarity of the position was comforting but at the same time - not. 

There was a beat of silence before her mother spoke again. 

“You’re wearing yellow?” 

Amanda hmm’d and closed her eyes again, pressing her nose against the fabric of her mother’s shirt. 

“Why that colour?” she asked, hesitantly curious, rubbing a hand up and down her daughter’s back. “Why not something darker?” 

Amanda opened her eyes to stare down at the yellow fabric spread across her thighs, too bright and cheerful for a funeral. She waited a moment before answering, the words feeling like led on her tongue and striking a pang in her chest. 

“It was her favourite colour.” 
  
And she could still remember that day all those months ago, sitting in the old graveyard with the grass wet and the clouds spilling sheets of water down on their heads, when she promised Tracy that she’d never – not under any circumstances – wear black to her funeral. 

"Why?" 

Tracy shrugged, leaning down to place the flowers at the base of the headstone, wet and gleaming and dotted with drops of rain. 

"Everyone wore black to my mum's funeral," she sighed and touched a finger to the name on the headstone, "and it just seemed to make everything worse you know? Mum hated black. It was like an insult to her." 

"But Trace..." she fumbled for the right words and ended up with: "you're not going to die." 

Tracy sighed, shoulders slumping forward, and stood back up. Never taking her eyes off the headstone.  

"I know. Just... promise me? I don't want my funeral to be a sad day Mandy. When it happens. I just - I hate making people sad. I hate making you sad." 

Amanda thought this was kind of dumb. She knew, deep down within her very bones, that Tracy's hypothetical death would act like a gunshot, sharp and brutal and devastating everything in its wake. But Tracy was looking at her with pleading eyes.  

So she promised

And Amanda always kept her promises.  
 

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