Ophelia

By Kelsey Tanasiuk

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A smile twitched at her lips. She knew where the sound was coming from. The row to her left. Two desks back.

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Pencil drumsticks, tapping a desk-top with a military rhythm. Her mind conjured his image. All scruffy brown hair, hanging in his gray-blue eyes. Tanned skin and a sly smile. A crisp white button down with a well-worn band T-shirt pulled over top. He also had a dimple in the middle of his chin that reminded her of John Travolta, though she'd never admit it out loud. And of course his pencil drumsticks –held between long artist's fingers- bouncing off the wooden desktop.

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Forcing herself to stare ahead. The cap of the half finished Dasani bottle on her desk. When the assignment came she threw herself into it. Determined not to be distracted by him.

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Half through class a crumpled ball of lined paper hit her desk. Glancing behind, he shot her a smile. Lying across his desk, head in his arms, he rolled his eyes. She smiled in false sympathy and turned back to face the front. Tugging the wad of paper open with care. No message, just a small heart drawn in black pen. She felt heat rise to her cheeks. Pulling a red pen out of her binder pocket, she colored in his heart and tossed it back. She worked a few moments more before a new airborne note touched down on her desk. A new message lay written beside their heart.

'Say the stars aren't fire

Say the sun doesn't move

Say truth is a liar

But never say I don't love you'

Her face turned to fire and she buried her blush in her arms. With her heart this full she didn't dare look back at him. Somehow he saw her unspoken 'thank you' and answered with a 'your welcome' of his own.

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That sound played through her head. Her only comfort now. She stood, shrouded in black with damp cheeks. Her father's funeral. The polished dark wood of the closed casket reflecting the image of the cross on the alter. The priest standing there, fumbling with the bible in his hands, Reflected beside the cross in this closed casket funeral.

'Closed casket,' she thought bitterly, 'closed casket because no one wants to see a dead man's face.' As bitter as she was she understood. He'd been hit crossing the road. Hit hard. His face didn't look like his face anymore. The driver -probably drunk, the police had said- saw the damage he'd done so he hadn't stuck around. Frankly she didn't blame him.

Smudging the tears across her cheek she tore her big brown eyes from the casket and priest. Staring pointedly at a bouquet of flowers by the alter. Staring at rich colored violets. 'Your mother's favorite' her father had always said, when she was young and ran to smell the flowers at the grocery store displays. Anger rose up inside her ribcage. Those stupid flowers! What right did they have? What right did they have to stay beautiful? Stay beautiful after this. Angry tears filled up her vision.

She ripped her eyes from the violets. The funeral almost over, she cast her eyes around the church once more. Looking around for him. The back rows still near empty. A self-imagined pain blossomed in her chest where her anger used to be. Hot tears spilled from her eyes. How could he not be here? True they'd been growing distant as of late. He'd been out partying and drinking more than usual. He was moody, and that was putting it lightly. But of all the times to leave her alone…

Funeral goers started to shuffle around. Picking up purses and speaking to their neighbors in hushed voices. She stood frozen a moment. Closing her eyes –lashes heavy and wet, and taking a deep shaky breathe. She didn't need him, she insisted in her mind. Biting her lip, the only one she needed was her daddy. Her acrylic nails betrayed her when she tapped his rhythm on the pew in front of her.

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Finally with everyone out of the church, she stepped outside into the chilled air, the cement steps to the sidewalk slick with rainwater from earlier that day. Her black high heels clicking on her way down. She reached to bottom to seem something lying on wet pavement. A violet fallen from a bouquet. She kept walking, crushing the tiny flower under her spike heels. His melody taunting her mind.

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r-r-ratta tat tat ratta tat tat

She didn't cry anymore. She couldn't, only God knows why. Perhaps her body just ran out of tears to spite her. Her sadness now ran deeper. Locked behind her brown eyes where even her shrink couldn't find it.

Her shrink –sorry, her grief consoler-, her Auntie –sorry, her legal guardian- hired him to analyze her head. 'Loosing a father so early, so suddenly, would be difficult for anyone,' she'd said, 'he can help.' Silly Auntie. The shrink let her pick her own chair when she can to his office. Like it was some kind of privilege. To her it felt like a test. She'd curl up on his red armchair every Tuesday at four. Shoes on the floor, stocking feet up on the cushions. Then their figurative chess game would begin. He'd probe her with questions trying to get her to move this way or that. She was sure he thought he was very smart. He wasn't. She'd let him thing he was winning, tell him what he wanted to hear. She was a clever girl and their chess game became her childhood checkers. She always won at checkers.

She never told the shrink about him. She kept that locked away from the shrink's prying eyes. She rarely saw him now and when she did he's disappear in an instant. Leaving her with only his shadow and his cutting insults. He had only one mood now. Bitter.

She was almost numb to her father's absence now, seeing him was the only thing that hurt anymore.

But then hearing him hurt too…

and hearing about him….

And thinking about him...

She walked along the path by the river. She couldn't force herself not to think about him anymore. Because that meant she couldn't think at all. The path by the river that they used to jog along together when she went on her last fitness kick. A slopping mud-covered bank of rocks and rushing water on one side, reaching green saplings and some pathetic underbrush. It's quiet today, but then it's about noon on a Sunday. An odd hour for anyone to be out jogging. As she walks an invisible hand slowly squeezes around her chest, tighter and tighter. Tears won't come, they never will. Some sadness is beyond tears.

Finally she reaches the bridge across the river. The path goes down one side of the bridge, heavy traffic on the other. She walks along, cars zipping by beside her, near the middle of the bridge she stops, sitting down on her heels; the metal beneath her is a grate. she peers through the holes in the grate, staring down at the water below. She remembered as a little girl stopping on the bridge and tossing pennies down the grate into the water. Her father providing the pennies and leaning on the rail. Now grown up, she crouches beside the highway staring down though the grate and wishing she could cry it away.

Slowly she stood up walking over to the rail her father always leaned on while he watched her. Leaning over the rail herself watching the water below. 'would it really be so bad to fall' she thought, biting her lip and trying to judge the distance. It was fairly high, 'but would it kill you?' It's strange how much the mind can change in such a short piece of time.

Carefully she eased herself up on top of the railing, the soles of her sneakers gripping desperately to the battered metal bar. Her slender hand steadying herself on a support beam. Only a month before she'd walked with him and he'd jumped up and stood on this curved bar. She's panicked and begged him with tears in her eyes to come back down before he hurt himself. He'd laughed and hopped down. Hugged her tight and teased her when he noticed how her hands were shaking.

Calmness covered her now. An Eerie calm. She sighed, the cool wind tossing her wavy hair around her. Her chewed down, ragged acrylic fingernails tapped out his rhythm one last time.

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She leaned forward; light grip released the cool metal beam. Free falling down to the water below. Long blonde hair trailing behind like a comet's tail. A final tear leaked from her eye as her last goodbye.


A/N: wrote this as an english assignment. It stems from the play Hamlet and the more subtle points only make sense if you know the play... How ever I wouldn't call this a fan fiction so that's why it's here...I hope you like it please review...