Is That You?

Posted: November 14, 2013 by writingsprint in Is That You?
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The guards tossed Whitaker into his cell and slammed the door shut. He rolled back and forth on the ground. His legs weren’t broken, but the backs of his thighs had to be black and blue. Each pulse of blood through his body brought agony, ripping maws of pain on his legs. They twitched. The pain radiated up into his spine and down into his toes. Every time he moved it hurt more.

He heard other cell doors being opened and closed. The guards continued their music with the truncheons. Whitaker pounded his head against his arm. Hot salty tears poured down his face.

It had been good to see Marina. He didn’t regret it for a second. He told himself that he didn’t regret it. The other half of his spirit told him that he was crazy, that he shouldn’t even look at her again.

He heard the door to Marina’s cell open. He held his breath. The pain still cascaded all over him. He waited to hear if anything happened with her.

Footsteps, then her door closed. Other doors on the cell block closed too. The music stayed in the hallway.

Whitaker dragged himself over to the air slit between the cells. It was a little over half an inch high. Even pressing his face down hard into the concrete, he could barely see anything.

Marina was looking, too. He saw part of her eye and her hair. She whispered, “You fool.”

Whitaker was about to respond and realized he still had the tape across his mouth. He peeled it off. “It was good to see you,” he whispered.

“And you. Don’t do that again.”

“I won’t promise that.”

“You’re going to get us both in trouble.”

“We’re already in trouble. He’s watching us. You know that.”

Marina made quiet, fussing sounds. He didn’t know what she was doing.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“Will you be sorry when they take you away? Put you in another cell?”

Whitaker’s heart almost broke. The sound of the tapping truncheons outside filled his ears. Good God, it beat in time with the pain from his wounds. Was he dreaming? Was this real?

“I’m sorry,” he repeated.

They lay there in silence, separated by a foot of concrete, with only their feelings connecting them. Whitaker felt guilty for not thinking of the rest of his family. Having a friend inside had kept him going. She meant more to him now.

“If I never see you again…”

“Don’t say that.”

“Would you take my hand?” he whispered.

He reached his hand under the wall. He couldn’t see her his hand in the way. His hand was getting stuck on the knuckles, like trying to put on a ring that was just barely too small to fit.

“Stop! They’ll break your fingers. Or mine.”

“Please.”

“No.”

He kept reaching.

“Are you trying?” she asked.

“Yes, I’m trying. I can’t…” He heard scraping from her side too.

He winced and breathed in and out, pushing his hand even farther in. He was going to get it stuck, and they’d break his fingers pulling him out. Or they’d leave him there. Yes, that’s what they’d do. Whichever was the most indignifying. He didn’t care. He didn’t care. He felt himself move what had to be an ungodly quarter of an inch.

“Where are you?” he asked.

“Right in the middle. My hand hurts.”

“Mine does too.”

“I can’t move any farther.”

“Push harder.”

“I can’t.”

“I can’t believe you’ll…”

“What?”

Let me down like this. No! “You won’t fit in there.”

“I’m trying. Wait. Wait!”

He felt the tip of her finger. Both of them hushed quiet. He wasn’t sure at first, if he could be that lucky, to finally feel what he had dreamt of for the past three years. He choked back something that was half sadness, because he felt just how desperate and lonely he was, now that he knew the other feeling. The other feeling was joy.

“Is that you?” he whispered.

“Yes.”

Hushed, he said, “Thank you.”

There was only enough room to press their fingertips against each other, and to caress them against each other. He couldn’t move his fingers any closer. He doubted she could. It was like sipping sweet nectar. This simple act of affection, physical touch, was like being given a look at the sun after being shut in a pit for years. Tears were falling down his face. He would have wept aloud if it wouldn’t have brought the guards.

light on the floor

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