Head over water (I)

Emma wondered if that statue had always been there. Towering over the almost leafless trees in that small square in the town park.

How long did she live here? It felt a long time.Too long. The same as her walk through this park.Every single dull faded day of her life. As long as she could remember. And she never noticed this monstrous cold grey stern looking man in the long coat? Strange.

It was a quiet walk which her feet almost did by themselves.Out of the townhouse with the red door, across the big iron gate, following the small tarred path, past the little square and out on the other side to that corner shop. Everyday. For always the same things.

Milk, the one in the blue carton, very important.It HAD to be the blue carton. Bread with seeds on the top but not inside. NOT INSIDE! Emma felt her mother screaming. She cringed even thinking of her razor-sharp voice. NOT INSIDE. Butter. The small sized package in the golden wrapper. “Mother, we could also buy the bigger pack.” Emma tried to talk to her one day. “Not only we could save money but I don’t have to go EVERY day to the shop for the SAME things!” she tried to explain her Mother in a calm voice. She still could feel the spot where the cup hit her. She never tried again.

It was always early morning, when her daily routine started. Not midday, not afternoon. She had to be there, 9 am precisely, when the shop opened. She did not try to question that.

Her Mother was not always like that. Emma remembered days when hugs and laughter filled her and her sisters days. Not too many, but they existed. Emma nodded her head while walking as if she wanted to convince herself. It changed really when Father died. He adored Mother and did everything for her. She only had to throw one of these sweet looks with her dark hazel brown eyes at him and he followed. Emma always thought he acted like her toy she could wind up and down whenever it pleased her. With the years Mothers looks got darker, the wishes more demanding and her voice more piercing. And his resistance more reticent and his reactions carried a sense of surrender. Maybe that was the reason why he died quite early. He was only sixty five, but he had faded more and more the last years. Emma was angry about her fathers death. She had always loved him.

But she was also often desperately furious that not once he tried to stand up, make some noise. He just followed quietly her instructions and year by year he became more hushed and eventually vanished. And it was never mentioned what these muffled thuds behind the closed bedroom doors were. Ever. Or how the fall happened which brought Mother to the wheel chair. Emma hated her mother for all of that.

Her older sister fled. Moira had just finished school, when she met Craig and Emma was not surprised that after a short engagement Moira married and followed her new husband. Getting away was the only chance. It was Emma who was stuck. Taking care of a woman whose inside became more and more like these dark, dreary November days.

How long was Moira gone now? Emma stopped for a moment, when she passed that little town square and tried to think. It was no use. It felt like forever anyway. The pain, the abuse, her bruises inside out.

The park was almost empty today. It was chilly and she put up the collar of her coat. She arrived at the shop as usual, but her voice was hoarse and almost inaudible. When she reached out for the ticket, Emma was not sure if the shopkeeper noticed her hands trembling. She tried to hide them as best as she could in the sleeves of her coat. Then quickly snatched the small yellow paper off the counter, thanked the man hastily, and left the door with the little bell over it, behind her.

Rushing to catch the bus waiting at the end of the road, Emma just managed to jump into the open glass doors, before they closed with a silent hissing sound and the big vehicle started its heavy engine. She chose a seat at the window and placed her small suitcase next to her. When the bus started moving, Emma took a deep breath and reached into the pocket of her coat. She brought out a square clean white tissue.And then suddenly, with a short glance out of the smudgy bus window, she spotted the grey stone statue rise up high out of the tall trees and she realised that the head was taken off . Just gone. She smiled. She was free and rubbed her blood smeared hands in the white tissue...