Archive | June, 2012

School Ties

4 Jun


School Ties

From the other end of the deserted hallway they almost looked like two young, school girls. Their braids wrapped as tightly around their heads as their hands were clasped together. They moved cautiously towards the main staircase. Not because they were blind, no, the two of them had travelled these halls so often as students that even now some 80 years later they could have maneuvered these passages with the ease of the “sighted”.

It’s just that unlike yesteryear there were deep cracks in the floor and blocks of plaster where the ceiling had rained down like some apocalyptic hail that made haste impossible.

‘It is so quiet’ thought Marta. ‘It’s like a church or a…’  She couldn’t quite bring herself to complete the thought. And she made the sign of the cross just in case God had read her heart and had completed her sentence. At the thought she shivered.

Anya felt the shiver and laughed. “Are the ghosts tickling you?” She reached out and squeezed the place just under Marta’s ribs that always made her explode with laughter.

“Do not joke Anya. It’s bad luck.”

“Yes. That’s all we need now as we stand in the parlor of death is bad luck.” Anya said.

The two women continued shuffling in slow measured steps to avoid stumbling and shattering their now delicately fragile bones as brittle as the glass sold to tourists by the street vendors outside.

After spending a lifetime together these two ancient women had returned to this place, this place that had shaped and defined them. This place had helped to free them from the prison of their blindness, as much as it had helped to forge the chains that had bound them together.

There were no more words now. They had said them all. Over almost 8 decades there had been thousands maybe even millions of them, words of love and hate, recrimination, guilt, words of encouragement and laughter. So, so many of them and yet now as they stood at the top of those stairs that had led down to the front door and what had always seemed like freedom as young girls… any words, any last words that might be said were silenced forever as their memories filled with Tomas.

He was so full of laughter and love. They had both loved him, loved him as obsessively and as deeply as you do at 8. They loved him almost as much as they loved each other, which of course was the problem… because Tomas was head over heels for Marta.

Silly now to think back at the things that shatter the world of children, even at 16 the situation would not have seemed as dire. But they had not been 16 and at the time the thought that anything or anyone could come between them, could make them have to choose was so unbearable that the answer was simple. So very, very simple…

Standing at the top of the stairs they could see the broken body of Tomas lying in a pool of laughter and love but unfortunately only for one.

Accidents happen all the time in schools for the blind even when they have been closed for over fifty years. Anya and Marta looked almost like school girls, their braids loose as they lay broken yet together at the foot of the stairs.