#32 – “CELIA”

Short story submitted by Katy grubb, UK
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It was now eight thirty; Danni sat hunched on the grimy little balcony, gripping a cigarette. She took another long drag, and the icy sensation engulfed her throat. Clearing her head somewhat, but failing to untangle the knot in her stomach.

It was the third day that she hadn’t been able to eat. The bowl of soup on the kitchen counter, now cold and beginning to congeal in its Styrofoam bowl, had made her heave so much that she was unable to finish it.

Sitting on the edge of the battered couch with bits of the stuffing springing out of the shredded blue and green material, Danni summoned the courage to look directly into Celia’s eyes; slate blue and glittering with malicious pleasure, that cruel mocking smile as she took another sip of whisky. The worst part of Celia always came out when she drank; it was as if a demon was unleashed. But even now Danni still looked intently at her, searching for some kindness, some trace of the girl she loved. The girl who loved her. But there was nothing.

 Sliding open the glass door, Danni walked over to the bookcase and drew one of her favourites from the shelf; a battered Paula Danziger that she was now much too old for, but still found comforting. She fumbled in her bedside table for her reading glasses and came across a card Celia had given her on her birthday the year before. In Celia’s sloping handwriting it read ‘Hey sweetheart here’s to an awesome 21st!! J Words can’t express how much you mean to me and how blessed I am to have you in my life. I love you with all my heart, never forget that..’

On the front of the card was a picture from when they went to Dream World with Kendra, Stephanie, Brandon and Tanja. Celia’s arm was wrapped around her waist as they smiled broadly towards the camera. Danni thought back to that day out and how much fun it had been. Celia was so vivacious and energetic. There had been a brief unpleasant moment when Danni had been twenty minutes late picking Celia up, but thankfully it had blown over and not spoilt the day. She remembered walking with Celia arm in arm, and the warm security that Celia loved only her.

Everything had changed now though, perhaps irreparably. Danni thought back to the viciousness of Celia’s words three nights ago, the way she had spoken to her in front of their friends when they were at the local bar and later when they went back to Celia’s apartment.

It would horrible seeing her around campus, particularly in the classes they were taking together: no acknowledgement except to shoot dirty looks. Having to do all the normal day-to-day things; things she would normally have done with Celia. Yes she had other friends that she could meet for lunch or go for a smoke with, but none of them had Celia’s sparkling vitality, the infectious laugh that always made Danni join in too even if she was in a bad mood. The feeling of Celia’s warm body pressed against hers as they lay on Celia’s bed watching movies.

The Celia that seemed completely incongruent with the monster that sometimes took over. The hands that stroked her hair so gently, but at the same time could also smash her face in; Danni gingerly stroked the yellow/purple bruise along her jaw line.

Maybe, thought Danni, she will forgive me if I phone her and apologise enough. If I make no mistakes at all and don’t give her any reason to lose it maybe Celia will stay the person that I love.  If I’m ‘perfect’.

 With that, Danni picked up her iphone and began to scroll through her contacts to Celia’s number. Smoothing down her sleeves to cover up the long scratches clawed up her arms, she pressed the call button and waited.

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