The first man

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The beginning of Violets story

Submitted: April 08, 2015

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Submitted: April 08, 2015

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The very first time, it was as if her feet couldn't find the floor and the only thing left to ground her was the all consuming, blinding pain. And she had been so blind. He left when she was twelve, a half smile that didn't touch his eyes and a brief ruffle of her hair was the only gesture in the way of a goodbye. He'd taken her down from his shoulders where she was invincible and placed her at the ground by her mother's feet. By the time she turned around to reach for him he was half-way out the door. Watching him leave had been as meaningless as ever until a fortnight later she found herself waiting on that same step in the freezing cold, hair whipping around her face, waiting for the first man who ever broke her heart. After two hours of numb fingers and a deep rooted confusion, her mother told her to 'stop this nonsense and come inside'. Despite not really having understood the reasons behind the abandonment, she cried for two days and when she finished she never shed another tear for him, or anyone, failing a particularly moving actor in anemotionally wrought movie scene. 

Years later she received an email from him, trying to explain the various convolutions of his life that had led up to the moment where he had inadvertently shown his daughter that she was simply not enough of a reason for him to stay. The wording was poor and even if it had been a literary masterpiece, it still would have held very little value to her. The damage was done and the message it had sent her remained unchanged, and to this day, unanswered. 

The replacement man her mother drafted in to take up her father's mantle, did nothing to heal the wounds that had ravagedher heart. He was devoid of any real charm or emotion, and she found him wanting in every area she felt a father should be, barring his copious wealth. For reasons unfathomable, he was under the impression that this gave him leave to dictate to her the kind of person she should aspire to be. His primary insult when she displeased him was to fondly refer to her as her 'father's daughter' and this instilled in her a deep and underlying hatred for the man. The first time he raised a hand to her she broke his finger and the second time it was his nose. On her fifteenth birthday, fearing that she was ungrateful for the diamond studded earrings he had bought the girl with not a single piercing, he had attempted to pierce her ears with a knife largely over sized for the task, so instead she had turned the blade on him and sliced his brow. Two weeks later when her mother convinced her it was safe to return home, she felt a sense of great satisfaction to see the puckered pink line catch the light above his right eye. After he fractured her mother's cheek bone by way of retaliation however, she learned not to react. That was the worst part, she often thought, seeing the vapid, twitching creature he reduced the once impervious woman her mother had been, to. 

On the days when she felt most hopeless, she would plot the various ways in which she would bring about his demise. She was spared the trouble of having to actually carry out any of these elaborate fantasies when, on the routine family boxing day walk, he suffered a heart attack and died within minutes. In keeping with tradition, she did not cry. She felt a great deal less than was considered proper and felt little obligation to feign any emotion, which nobody understood apart from her mother, the family secrets having been cleverly concealed over the years. People seemed to think this made her cold and a small part of her agreed with them. Not enough though and she remained unfeeling. Her mother took the opportunity to move out of the house where the men of her life had defined her as lacking and downsize to a smaller house that she could fill exactly as she pleased and her daughter could feel safe. 

Violet was surprised when, after having carried the last box of her things out of the house, she was overcome with a sense of relief. Looking back at the house that was characterized by broken promises and misuse, she sighed. With her sigh the despair she had carried with her every time she walked up the drive, that had settled in her soul the day her father never came and been reinforced by the dread of his replacement, left her and a wave of acceptance washed over her. She smiled at the house, forgiving now that it's hold over her had been broken. She loaded the box and jumped into the front seat of the moving van her mother had hired to transport their possessions. As they drove away from the house tainted with misery, Violet held her mother's hand over the gear stick and felt in her touch the toll that such an unfulfilling existence had taken. Her skin was paper thin and cold to the touch, her veins deep blue and impossible not to notice through the white of her skin. She wound down her window and gave the house the finger as they passed it from the road, in one last spat of defiance. 

As they drove, Violet's head went back against her head rest and the anger that only children can feel when they are unheard, began to drain from her body. As if noticing, her mother turned to smile at her from the driver's seat and for a brief second Violet saw the woman who raised her behind the fog of disappointment that clouded her eyes. The woman who use to dance at the stove cooking before her husband swept in and kissed her, the little girl watching her parents laugh at each other and not understanding the beauty of a moment so fleeting because of its normality. But then the smile faded and her eyes found their way back to the road, the broken woman fading back out of existence. 

At seventeen Violet was by no means an extraordinary girl, but in everyone there is something that makes them inescapably beautiful. For Violet it was her eyes, on any given day they were never the same and whatever shade they took seemed to be largely determined by her mood. This went unnoticed by most people because Violet was not in the habit of getting close enough to people for them to evaluate her face with any real scrutiny. She herself found it something of an annoyance but if someone were to really pay attention to the versatile beauty hidden in their depth they would appreciate both how unique and intriguing it truly was.


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