“Want to Talk About It?” for Story A Day May; Day Seven


“Want to Talk About It?”

“Ophelia Martin – no, it can’t be you, can it?”

The voice jerked her head up from the bin of camisoles and panties she’d been fishing through. There was something familiar in it – and in the face of the girl, about her own age, who was staring at her like she simply didn’t compute.

“I’m Ophelia.” She dropped the intimate apparel, thankful for a complexion that didn’t exactly reveal a blush. None of the things she’d been holding would come close to fitting her. “I’m sorry, Miss – ”

“You don’t remember me.”

She was opening her mouth to try to deny it when the other girl laughed, her aquamarine eyes sparking – and that, and the sound of her laughter, gave her identity away, even if it seemed incredibly coincidental that they would end up in the same Ohio town, in the lingerie section of the same department store, at the same time.

“Lucy Prior!”

“Yup. Didn’t mean to embarrass you at the underwear bin, but I was afraid if I waited -” She mimed a ‘whoosh’.

“It’s okay. These aren’t for me, anyway…” Ophelia trailed off; she had no idea how to explain Marilyn, and her problems, or even if she should.

“Someone’s in trouble.” Lucy wasn’t asking, or guessing.

“How do you always know? Even when we haven’t seen each other for – what, six or seven years?”

“Want to get a smoothie once you’re done here, and talk it out?” Lucy had a way of answering questions with questions. “I’m buying.”

“I don’t think I can – not now.” Ophelia didn’t want to refuse. Marilyn needed pretty much everything. All of her clothes were so loose, they were practically falling off her, everywhere but her swollen belly. Maybe she should be in the maternity department –

“Whoever’s the one in trouble, you’re not going to be as much help if you make your whole life about tending to her needs. Now, there’s no use arguing with me – not when you know I know what I’m talking about here. Come on – let me help you, for old time’s sake, and then we can take a break and catch up. I’ll call my aunt; don’t want her to worry.”

Ophelia had almost forgotten what a force of nature Lucy was. Some things apparently didn’t change – even an alcoholic mother and absent father hadn’t crushed her will.

Wait. Lucy had lived through that – could she have insights that would help Ophelia to help Marilyn?

“All right,” she said. She wouldn’t ask anything unless it felt right – but Lucy did have a point. She’d spent the last three days pretty much consumed by what Marilyn needed, scarcely even taking the time to eat. Sleep eluded her every time she tried, because she just had nightmares where Marilyn was back in that lump on her daybed, surrounded by rag dolls, wearing her own blood and nothing else. “But let’s do it now – I need to stop and think about what still needs to be done; my brain’s too fried right now.”

She let Lucy lead her to the smoothie place, and sank into a chair as Lucy went up to order. She was suddenly aware that she was beyond fatigued, basically running on autopilot. She didn’t even care what Lucy brought her; she was pretty sure she was too tired to even taste it.

Her old friend came back with a tray bearing smoothies and soft pretzels – one of their favorite cheap treats, back in the sixth grade, when all they had were their allowances – and Lucy’s mom often forgot that. “Thank you.”

“It’s nice to be able to even the score a little. You spent a lot of allowance on me, after all.” There was a companionable silence, as they opened straws, sipped, and chewed. Then, once they were both settled, Lucy looked at Ophelia and said, “Okay, old friend. Want to talk about it?”

Does Ophelia want to talk?

Can Lucy help Ophelia?

Can Ophelia help Marilyn?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!


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