To Erase

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


Sometimes, we get what we wish for. It's what we do with it that counts the most.



[A/N] I don't know what's happening to the formatting. I've tried my best to fix it, so I apologize in advance.

Submitted: August 26, 2018

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Submitted: August 26, 2018

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Sometimes, just sometimes, prayers are answered. Prayers for rain, for example, are occasionally answered with torrential downpours. Prayers for love are sometimes answered with a chance date, or a sudden romance. But every once in a while, they’re not answered in the way you might think - or even hope. Sara takes this very seriously now. A prayer, given kneeling beside her bed one night at the small age of seven. A gentle whisper into the darkness, a hushed soliloquy for God Himself. She prayed.

The bruises on her arms still stung deeply, but she ignored them. Much more worse were the unseen scars, the untold number of cuts her mind endured every day. She wanted them to go away, to be erased, to just vanish so that she could be happy. Normal. Like Susie, or Katie, or even Lily, though Lily would occasionally show up with bruises too, sometimes. But Lily smiled a lot more than Sara, and Sara liked that. Envied it.

And then, Sara went to bed. She slept soundly that night, tenderly as only a child can, undisturbed by the sound of her father coming home late and dropping a bottle on the floor, only for it to shatter. Undisturbed by her mother’s hushed voice, scolding him. Undisturbed by the slap that came from the kitchen. She slept oddly peacefully.

When morning came, poking its rays of first light through her blue giraffe and rhino speckled curtains, she awoke with a sore neck. Craning it this way and that to stretch it out, she noticed a small lump in her pillow. She looked at it for a moment, wary, before reaching under it and pulling out a vibrant pink rhombus shaped eraser.  It was like one of those ones you buy at the Dollar General when the back-to-school sales are on, only this one was the size of her hand and pretty weighty. She inspected it in the light, turning it this way and that, looking for markings, but found none. It was simply a pink eraser. Sara took it anyway, because, why not? When something falls out of the sky, do you not take it? If anything, it would be interesting for show and tell on the playground.

The sounds from the kitchen alerted her that her mother was already up, cooking. Undoubtedly her father was still asleep; he always was when she got up. She’d learned early on never to bother him this early in the morning. That would be severely unwise. In fact, just thinking about it made her shudder.

Still, she couldn’t let her mother see the eraser. If she told her that an eraser had suddenly appeared under her pillow, especially one of this size, her mother was likely to take it and ask if she stole it or something dumb like that. Her mom was like that, she thought. Maybe she could say that she traded it with Katie for… something, but her mother would want to know what she gave up, and then scold her for it because ‘we don’t have enough money for that’. It always happened when she traded things. So in the end, she decided to get out of bed and shamble over to her pink backpack, stuffing it in the very bottom, under her folders and papers.

Then, after a good stretch - her neck was feeling better now - she made her way out of her bedroom and into her kitchen, where her mother was making what smelled like scrambled eggs. She inhaled deeply, taking in the scent, her mouth watering despite the smell of smoke lingering in the air. Quietly taking her place at the kitchen table, she waited patiently while her mother, wordlessly, finished the eggs.

Soon, there was a plate of eggs before her, mostly scrambled. Her mother looked disheveled, with frizzy black hair and tired blue eyes ringed with dark bags, but still smiled at her. “Here you go sweetheart. Eat up,” she said, walking away.

Looking down, she noticed that there was a little smiley face made out of ketchup on the eggs, just how she liked it. Sara smiled but ate quickly, eager to get to school and show off her newfound gift from… well, where had it come from? She was sure there was no eraser fairy. Well, fairly sure, at least. She supposed she couldn’t be too sure. There was a tooth fairy, after all. Why couldn’t there be an eraser fairy? But thinking back to her prayer the night before, she was more sure that it was from God. But… why?

She scarfed down her eggs and put the plate in the sink, careful not to make a single sound, as usual. Then, tiptoeing back to her room, she threw on her little school uniform and brushed her teeth, before saddling up with her backpack and heading back out into the living room. Her mother sat on the couch, smoking, again as usual. Sara gave her a little wave, and she did her best to smile, tired though it was, and wave back.

Then, she made her way to the bus stop, eager to tell everyone about the magical eraser from God.

 

 


 

 

That day, the first few hours of school dragged on for what seemed like an eternity. She kept looking outside, at the playground, an eager flock of butterflies fluttering in her stomach as she waited for the moment when she could show everyone her new thingy. Then, she went back to her paper. On it was a small doodle - a hobby of hers, an escape if you will - of a tree and a house, where she and her mom and her dad were sitting on the porch enjoying the day. She smiled at it, and decided to add a little sun in the corner. A little picture of better times. Miss Yucius blabbered on about topics that she didn’t really care about, but was forced to pay attention to when eventually a thwack came from the chalkboard, and the teacher said, “Ahem. While we’re in class, we pay attention to class. Understand?”

Sara nodded slowly, knowing that nobody knew who the teacher was talking to, but she could see Miss Yucius eyes boring into her. She sunk back a bit, determined to at least seem like she was paying attention now. The last thing she wanted was her parents finding out she’d done poorly in school that day. That would just lead to more bruises from her father.

When the sun was high and recess was afoot, she finally took it out, showing it to Susie and Katie and Lily, explaining how it came from the sky or the eraser fairy or something like that. They laughed at her, but of course they would. Lily in particular thought it was super silly. An eraser fairy? That was just ridiculous. Everybody knew that the only fairy was the tooth fairy.  That was okay though, Sara thought. She knew the truth.

Of all the kids though, Lily had the loosest lips. So of course word got around to Jacob. He was a skinny boy, with buck teeth and a short head of brown hair. He looked silly, but the things that came out of his mouth weren’t funny at all. Still, Sara didn’t think about it too much, preferring to play on the green slide and climb the jungle gym out back, kid things, her mother would say. She wouldn’t understand adult things, or why dad drank, or why he was always out late. Or why dad would get angry. Or why mom never said anything when he was. Or anything like that. She supposed she wouldn’t. But she understood kid things, like swinging on the monkey bars and laughing with friends.

But Jacob, he understood something else, this she knew. He understood that being mean was fun. And so that day, he cornered her between the fence corners on the playground, saying, “I want to see your eraser.”

Sara, holding the eraser, her little brown bangs falling in front of her eyes, backed away. “Go away Jake.”

“Not until you give me your thing,” he said, confidently. Then, he reached out and grabbed her arm, yanking her around. “Gimme the thing!”

“No!”

Jake took a step toward her. “I’m not going to say it again,” he said, their faces close to one another. “Give. Me. The eraser.”

And she swiped at him with it. She thought it was heavy enough that it would make him let go, and she could run and get a teacher. Jacob was known for this kind of thing, bullying kids and putting his hands on them. The teachers were nearly fed up with it, Sara could tell. And she had a suspicion - something she felt she shouldn’t have, thanks to her age, but she had it nonetheless - that his father was much like hers, so she wasn’t surprised that he was a bully. But suddenly, Jacob was… gone. He hadn’t left, let her go and run off to beat up some other poor soul. He was just gone. Poof. As if he’d vanished. She was left alone.

The newspapers would later call it a case of a child abduction, whatever that meant. All she knew was that, after that day, Jake never showed back up to school.

For now, Sara looked around, then back down to her eraser. There was a mark from where it hit Jacob; its corner was dented, ripped a little, like a normal eraser would be if it had scratched something from a piece of paper.

Suddenly, an idea came to mind. Miss Yucius, the one that’d made a fool of her this morning, her cheeks burning and her heart stuttering. She’d done it before. Called her out, made her come to the board to write lines. Gave her less good bucks than the rest of the class for the monthly good buck sale the school had. She never really did like Miss Yucius, she thought now, staring at the eraser.

So, she wandered across the playground, ignoring calls from her friends to come play hide and seek with them, or tag, or whatever they were playing, and with determination she made her way to where Miss Yucius stood on the edge of the playground alone, watching. She was always alone, Sara thought. Not even the other teachers liked her, she bet, not even the principle, who was as mean a man as ever.

If this didn’t work, she knew, she was going to be beaten by her father and then scolded by her mother. It always happened when they got a call from the school. But if it did… If it did, then there would be no more class. There would be recess forever. No more lacking good bucks, no more snide remarks about her doodles, no more writing lines. She would be a hero.

And, after all, the eraser was magic. It got rid of Jacob, right? If it could do that, maybe it could get rid of Miss Yucius. Maybe that was why God had given it to her. To get rid of the bad things in her life. To set her free. So she walked up to the old lady, whose permed hair and painted nails made her look like a stereotypical grandmother, and without saying a word, closed her eyes and hit her with the eraser.

It made a thud, and for a moment, she felt panic start to flow through her veins like molten iron. Had it not worked? What if she was still there, staring down at Sara with disappointed or even angry eyes? She’d be beaten, sent to bed without dinner, or, or…

She opened her eyes, ripping off the metaphorical bandaid, and when she did, Miss Yucius was nowhere to be seen. A relief washed over her that made her giggle like a maniac, and she had to sit to recover from the icy fear that had made its way up her back and given her gooseflesh.

Years later, she would find a picture of the old woman with the caption Still Missing: Information on the Whereabouts for Miss Olivia Yucius Should be Reported to Crime Stoppers.

But for now, recess was on. And it didn’t end for the rest of the day.

 

 


 

When she got home, she rushed to her bedroom and threw her backpack on her bed, getting a small smile from her mother, but little more. That was alright, she thought, humming to herself. She had a fix for that. If the eraser got rid of the bad things, then why wouldn’t it work here? It seemed to make sense at the time. Now, thought, years later, she thinks back to it in horror. A good, godly intention gone wrong.

Dinner that night was quiet. Her father wasn’t present, off doing whatever he did late at night, and afterward, while her mother sat down for her after dinner smoke, Sara scurried off and grabbed her eraser from God. Rushing back with it hidden behind her back, she noticed her mother hiding her face in her hands. Soft sobs came from beneath them as she was slouched over on the table.

The soft sounds filled the room and, Sara’s heart, with sadness. Sara frowned watching her mother cry quietly for a moment, before walking up to her and looking up. “Mom?” she asked.

Looking down at her with the red eyes of a woman who’d cried her soul out time and time again, she simply said, “Hey sweetie.”

Those tears, they stung to see. They fell like icicles, stabbing at her heart. Here was the mother that held her when her father was angry, who read stories to her at night. Who truly loved her, even when she was at her most exhausted. And here was Sara’s chance, her chance to erase the sadness flowing from her mother’s watery eyes. She could to this, she told herself. She could do this.

Her mother looked at her questioningly. Wordlessly, Sara reached up with the eraser, dabbing it at the tears, taking them away. But in a blink, her mother was gone. Just like Jacob. Just like Miss Yucius. She was gone. Vanished.

A moment of dread swept over Sara, filling her heart with an icy cold. Sara stared at the now empty chair, the cigarette that had fallen to the table, and dropped the eraser. Her mother was… gone. Not just her tears, but her whole mother, just gone. The eraser had… erased her.

Sara’s lip quivered, and her eyes began to water. What had she done? Where was her mother? She’d just wanted the tears to stop, to go away. She wanted to erase the sadness her mother felt. That was all. That was all.

Just then, the door behind her, the front door, swung open, and her father stepped in smelling strongly of alcohol. Sara spun around, picking up the eraser and looking to the bottle in her father’s hand. Without thinking, she braced herself.

“Where’s your mother?” her father asked in his gruff voice, clearly not in the mood for anything childlike.

She opened her mouth to answer, but found she couldn't. Where was her mother? Not even she knew. A tear trickled down her cheek as she stifled a sob. “M-Mom…”

Her father approached her menacingly, looming over her like a giant staring down at little people. It reminded her of a fairy tale her mother would read to her before bed. That was enough to make the tears flow in ernest.

“Kid, I’m not in the mood for your shit,” her father said, bending down and grabbing both her arms. She yelped when he pinched her bruises, but otherwise continued to cry silently. “Where. Is. Your mother?”

“G-Gone,” she stuttered, turning away. His breath reeked and made her want to gag, but she knew if she did he would get truly angry.

“What do you mean gone,” he said, quietly. He stood up and looked down at her, a terrifying calm sweeping over his face. “What do you mean?”

“She… she,” Sara stammered, unable to confess that she’d just erased her mother.

This seemed to anger her father. He threw the bottle down to the floor, shattering it in a loud cacophony of splintering glass. Then, he turned to the wall and put his fist through it, sending Sara scurrying away to hide between the living room couch and the wall.

“What do you mean she’s gone!” he screamed, putting another hole through the wall. Then, he looked at her, a look of sheer rage befalling his face. It contorted, went from being her father to being the demon that was inside of him.But this time, tears came with it. Painful tears, tears of rage and sorrow. “Sara,” he said, stepping toward her. “If you don’t tell me where she went, I’m going to have to hurt you. I’m going to hurt you bad.”

But just as he stood over her, she swiped at him with the eraser, and just like that, it was over. No more shouting. No more crying, or glass breaking, or holes in the wall. No more father. He was gone, leaving Sara huddled beside the couch, pulling her knees in and crying. The tears flowed with little damming them. She cried freely, loudly, for the first time in years, no father around to shout at her or mother to hold her. She cried deeply, huddled into herself, her tears falling on the eraser and vanishing.

The next day, she was removed from school by the police. She’d gone because she didn’t know what else to do, and found that she was in a new class thanks to the disappearance of Miss Yucius - another oversight.  But before it even began, police officers showed up and took her away, explaining how her mom and dad had gone missing, but everything would be okay, yes, things would be alright. They called her grandparents, and she’d be staying with them for a while, until her mommy and daddy showed back up. But things would be alright, they promised as they took her to the station. Things would be alright.

Turns out, they were right. Sara looks back on that day with a type of sadness that almost feels like nostalgia, but isn’t quite. She’s an accountant now, working with a big firm, offered a better childhood by her grandparents than her real parents, even though she is reluctant to admit it. But that’s alright, she thinks. Things turned out to be alright in the end.

She’s a talented artist now, and drawings of her mother and father hang on her wall in her little apartment. She looks at them from time to time, remembering them fondly, not so much for who they were as what they were. Her mother had been a particularly painful one to draw, taking hours upon hours and days on end. But still, they’re there.

She misses her mother. God, how she misses her mother. Looking at the page every day brings her back the joyous memories of when she would take Sara down to the beach, or cuddle her when she had nightmares, or read to her at bedtime. Sometimes she would even tear up a bit looking at the sketch, remembering the good times, cherishing them before her plan had gone awry.

She even misses her father, in a fashion. Before the alcohol, before he’d lost his job, he was a fine man. He tickled her, picked her up and held her over his head. These were the moments she held on to. The good times. The loving times. Not the man he was at the end.

She’s never used the eraser since then, though. She keepst it tucked away safely, vowing on her life to never use it again. And every night, just as she did when she was seven, she prays. She prays for that little boy on the playground, whose parents never got to see again. For Miss Yucius, who, although mean, probably had grandchildren of her own. For her mother and father, despite their flaws. She prays for them all.

And, perhaps most of all, she prays for a pencil.

 


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