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SURPRISE! BY LILY O’KEEFE

SHIFT DRINK BY JOSHUA BOHNSACK
October 21, 2018
Haunting: 8 songs that will haunt you
October 23, 2018

SURPRISE!

 

I really shouldn’t have been surprised.

She was ethereal, passionate, dark. She belonged to the world of those touched souls who never find home in our reality. (She was a beautiful ballerina in her youth, but ended her career early when she married my father. She danced throughout life, but it was joyless.) She preferred Russian novels and melancholic, garnet wines to attending soccer games or decorating Christmas trees.

The enlightened bitterness of the Russians, she said, spoke to her on a spiritual level.

I never spoke to her on that spiritual level. Or many levels at all, really. My mother’s lack of sunshine made me detached, shy, an introvert. From the beginning of my life, I felt the falseness of other people’s happiness and was never much able to enjoy my own. I perched throughout the scenes of my life, always being an outsider looking in.

Like my mother, I avoided the trivialities of life. I glossed through school, had few friends (for appearances) and spent much of my time composing for and playing the violin. It was my mother’s second favorite instrument. She said it was the most capable of showing passion.

Her favorite, of course, being the organ.

I enjoyed playing the violin for her. And it seemed to be one of my mother’s few entertainments in life. She’d glance up at me from her novels, sigh, wonder out loud why she would force a life into such a miserable world, but comforted herself with the knowledge that at least that life added beauty to the world.

*

It shouldn’t have been a surprise, really.

I was walking home, my mother’s words echoing in my ears. Before I left, I had stopped in her room to say good bye.

She was in a nightgown, and in her bed. Her bed had masses of pillows, comforters, and blankets. It was a cloud.

Her windows were open and she was looking out if them.

She opened her mouth and spoke of so many things. She murmured of the lofty and the beautiful, of the unanswerable mysteries that surround us, of the void that encloses us.

She spoke something like Truth.

Confused, confronted by these gloomy realities, I reared my head like a elephant and left the room.

Her grey eyes searched, hunted beyond the window. She still spoke as I closed the door. Whispering as if she was the one who had murdered Duncan1, telling herself what was real and what couldn’t be, what should be and what oughtn’t be.

Like I said, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I opened the front door, not noticing the leak of blood under the door. I swung it open,

and-

 

 

My mother’s words still haunt me.

She was ethereal, passionate, dark. She belonged to the world of those touched souls who never find home in our reality. (She was a beautiful ballerina in her youth, but ended her career early when she married my father. She danced throughout life, but it was joyless.) She preferred Russian novels and melancholic, garnet wines to attending soccer games or decorating Christmas trees.

The enlightened bitterness of the Russians, she said, spoke to her on a spiritual level.

I never spoke to her on that spiritual level. Or many levels at all, really. My mother’s lack of sunshine made me detached, shy, an introvert. From the beginning of my life, I felt the falseness of other people’s happiness and was never much able to enjoy my own. I perched throughout the scenes of my life, always being an outsider looking in.

Like my mother, I avoided the trivialities of life. I glossed through school, had few friends (for appearances) and spent much of my time composing for and playing the violin. It was my mother’s second favorite instrument. She said it was the most capable of showing passion.

Her favorite, of course, being the organ.

I enjoyed playing the violin for her. And it seemed to be one of my mother’s few entertainments in life. She’d glance up at me from her novels, sigh, wonder out loud why she would force a life into such a miserable world, but comforted herself with the knowledge that at least that life added beauty to the world.

  • It shouldn’t have been a surprise, honestly.

Before I left that morning, I had stopped in her room to say good bye.

She was in a nightgown, and in her bed. Her bed had masses of pillows, comforters, and blankets. It was a cloud.

Her windows were open and she was looking out if them.

She opened her mouth and spoke of so many things. She hummed to herself of the lofty and the beautiful, of the unanswerable mysteries that surround us, of the void that encloses us.

She spoke something like Truth.

Confused, disgusted by the confrontation of gloomy realities, I reared my head, leaving the room before I was infected by her ugly ramblings. She didn’t notice my leaving. Her grey eyes searched, hunted beyond the window. She still spoke as I closed the door. Murmuring feverishly, as if she were the one who had murdered Duncan2, telling herself what was real and what couldn’t be, what should be and what oughtn’t be.

Like I said, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I opened the front door, not noticing the leak of blood spilling from the crack. I swung it open, and-

 


1 King Duncan, murdered by Macbeth.

2 King Duncan, murdered by Macbeth.

 

 

 


Lily is a human, located on earth. She is a student studying literature and philosophy at NEIU. Sometimes, she writes.

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