[CLOSED] Moments of Painful Silence

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[CLOSED] Moments of Painful Silence

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:03 pm

[Right, I wrote this with a bunch of music in the background, as usual, but I felt like the music I used for inspiration and mood seemed to really enhance the piece, so I've attached links to them in the spoilers below. Of course, it's not necessary if you don't feel like it, but I felt like it added to the emotion of it all. It should run on roughly in time with the length of the piece. I hope... Anyways, enjoy!]

Mood Piece 1:
Mood Piece 2:

Jimmy was having a terrible day. He felt lonely and withdrawn, thoughts of Hikari plaguing him, eating away at his mind. He'd looked at the many pictures of her on his phone countless times. Each one brought back an old memory that made his chest hurt as though his wound was brand new again, as though his damaged lung was in some way connected to his emotions. He stared at a picture he had taken of his ex-girlfriend in the courtyard of his old school in Tokyo. She was laughing in the picture, dimples in her cheeks. Her hair was wild and windswept, a few long black strands covering the pale white skin of her face, intersecting at wild angles. He could almost hear her laughter. Then he was brought back to the day of one of her biggest ballet performances.

"Holy shit, the crowd's so big. I can't do this, Jimmy... I can't..." Hikari babbled nervously as she checked her hair and makeup one last time. She was the lead in the school production of Swan Lake. It was her biggest role yet, and she was fidgeting in her chair backstage. Jimmy had been summoned backstage to soothe Hikari after her friends and co-stars had failed to get through to her.
"It's ok, Hikari. You've got this. You'll floor them like you always do." Jimmy said encouragingly, taking on the same tone of voice he used to calm his mother.
"I just don't know... I feel like I'm drowning, what am I doing here? I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't be doing this. Ohgodohgodohgod..."
He cut her off with a kiss and pulled back, holding her for a long time. Tears began to flow down Hikari's face as she sobbed into his chest, smearing her meticulously crafted makeup.
"It's ok, just let it out." He soothed. A few more sobs made her body convulse before she composed herself. She looked up at him with her still watery eyes. He put his hand to her face, wiping the black tracks of mascara from her cheeks as a pissed off makeup artist moved to redo the pure white foundation that was supposed to be covering Hikari's face and touch up the mascara.
"Hikari, I'll be right in the front. Nobody else is there, just me, ok? Focus on me and yourself, nothing else." Jimmy said.
"I will. Thank you for putting up with me. I love you." She said, a sense of serenity flooding into her voice.
"I love you too. Break a leg. Or don't, that probably wouldn't be much good..." Jimmy replied. Hikari laughed softly, closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
"I'll see you out there, ok?" He said.
"Ok."


As soon as the curtains of the stage lifted Hikari stole the hearts of everyone in the audience: a cool, graceful dancer with perfect timing and obsessive attention to the details of every move, so fluid and natural. As perfect as always. She wore the same mask that most every great performer wears, as though she was being propelled not by her own movements, but by some force larger than her, something intangible and indescribable. One that projects the illusion that she was perfection incarnate, when really she was even better, she was a real human being with flaws and emotions. A human being that was having a breakdown just moments before the curtains rose. Her eyes fixed themselves on a point just beyond the crowd, to make it seem like she was looking directly at them as opposed to looking past them. She would occasionally break this gaze to look at Jimmy as he stared intently, lulled into a trance by the smooth movements of Hikari's body as she danced.

Jimmy's hands quaked intensely as tears began to fall from his eyes. He couldn't bring her back. That moment had felt so real, he'd almost forgotten that she was gone. He remembered visiting her grave in Tokyo. He could only bring himself to do it once before he left for Yamaku. He remembered how cold the stone felt, even on that summer day, how deathly still the air was, his fingers tracing over the smooth lettering of her name etched into the headstone. He didn't want to think about her any more. The sound of the gunshot echoed in his memory. He gripped his head in his hands, pressing his fingers hard against his own skull and yelling. He looked at the phone again, closing down the picture. He pulled up Ayuko's contact page and dialled. She picked up promptly.
"Hey, Jimmy." She greeted, breezily.
"Hey."
"Why are you calling my mobile?"
"I can't bring myself to talk to Mom or Dad right now. I'm having one of those days..."
Back in Tokyo, Ayuko broke into a grin for a moment before she processed the rest of what her brother had said. He'd never called Hirokazu 'Dad' before.
"Ah, shit... What's up? I'll keep it down so Dad doesn't know it's you." She said, her tone softening but adding a hint of concern.
"I can't stop thinking about her..."
"Who? Someone at school?"
"No, you know who."
"Jimmy, you just gotta..."
"I don't have to do anything. I don't want to talk about it. I want to hear about you, about Mom and Dad, about Ray and Joseph, about the stupid cliquey bullshit at your school, about who's dating who, who's being bitchy to who, anything. Can you do that for me?"
"Of course I can, Jimmy. Oh, you wanna talk about baby Joey for a bit?"
"Sure." He smiled through his tears.
"Oh my god, did you see the picture of him with Sophia?"
"The one from her birthday?" Jimmy asked.
"Yeah, where he's trying to blow out the candles on her cake. So cute! You heard from Deadbeat Dad recently?"
In spite of everything, Jimmy laughed at the mention of the picture of his two-month-old brother being held over his stepmother's chocolate birthday cake, red-faced and pursing his lips as his tiny lungs tried in vain to extinguish the small flames. And at Ayuko's nickname for his biological father.
"Nah, he just sends me pictures of Joe every now and then. Sometimes I'll video call just so I can see him properly for a bit and Ray hangs around, but not really."
"Things are still bad between you two?"
"I don't think so, we've just come to a mutual agreement that we don't need to get too involved with each other. I've got you guys back home, you're all I need."
"Aww, isn't that cute?" Ayuko teased. She was really pleased to hear this from her brother, though.
"Shut up."
Ayuko giggled.
"Anyways, I've got a boyfriend now." She stated.
"Oh, really? What's his name?"
"Yoshida."
"If he hurts you in any way, even thinks about hurting you for a second, you come straight to tell me and I'm kicking the crap out of him. Deal?" Ayuko laughed.
"He's not like that, but you got yourself a deal."
"Just in case. I'm sure he's fine." Jimmy admitted with a smile.
"He's great."
"Glad to hear it. How's Mom doing?"
"Oh, y'know. The usual. She wishes you'd call more."
"I'll call her on the weekend. I just... can't bring myself to do it today."
"No, she's busy."
"Huh? Mom? Busy? On a weekend?"
"Yeah, she's getting together with some friends."
"Friends?!"
"Yeah, they read books or knit or play bridge or whatever old lady crap Mom likes to do. Something like that."
Jimmy scoffed.
"I can't believe it. Can you put her on now, then? I can get over myself for her sake."
"I... Uh, she's not here. She, uh, just... just went out..."
Jimmy usually knew when he was being lied to, and his sister was a terrible liar.
"For fuck's sake Ayuko, just tell me. Where's Mom?"
"She's out... Gone to the convenience store. Didn't you hear the door...?" Ayuko lied, incredibly weakly.
"Bullshit. Where is she really?"
"God damn it... Ok, ok. Look, she's been institutionalised."
Jimmy's jaw dropped, the blood draining from his face. He felt everything collapsing underneath him.
"Jimmy, are you ok?"
He didn't respond, staring at the bare wall of his room in disbelief.
"This is why I didn't want to tell you... You sounded like you had enough to deal with. It's not as bad as it sounds, I swear." She sighed.
"What happened?" Jimmy asked, his voice flat as he kept his eyes fixed on the white paint of his wall, noticing the slight bumps in the texture of it.
"She hit someone."
"What?!"
"She went out to the city centre, Christmas shopping, I guess. She was in a shoe store alone. Something made her snap and she had a panic attack there and then, hit one of the staff with a shoe. They dropped charges once her lawyer pleaded mental health issues, but the court mandated that she spend three months in an institution, learn to control her anxiety better, make sure she wouldn't do anything like that again."
"Fuck... Mom... She hit someone? In public? I never thought they'd get that bad. I saw her get them really bad. Especially after Ray left, but she never got violent... Never." Jimmy said, his emotions still blunted by shock. He couldn't eject a mental image of shocked onlookers in the shoe store staring in  wide-eyed horror at his mother collapsed on the ground, weeping, as a member of staff nursed their injury.
"I'm just as shocked as you are. I would have much rather told you all this in person, makes it easier to process."
Jimmy heard his stepfather's voice calling his sister's name.
"I'd better go, Jimmy. I'll see you over Christmas, yeah?"
"Yeah."
"You sure you're gonna be ok?" She asked, sounding like she needed assurance on this. He floundered for a minute. He wanted to tell her that he wouldn't, he already felt like he was suffocating. Every part of him wanted to ask his sister to stay on the phone, just a little longer, just until he had something to grasp onto that made him know he'd be ok. But he didn't. He'd have to find that for himself.
"I'll be fine."
"Ok, bro. Try not to give yourself too much of a tough time, I know how you can get. I'll call you again soon, yeah?"
"Yeah. Bye, Ayuko."
"Bye, Jimmy."
There was a change in the sound of the silence between them as the phones disconnected the call. Jimmy had never noticed how different silences could sound and feel.

He put his phone away, it was full of reminders he didn't need. Texts, pictures, phone logs, voice messages. He couldn't handle any of it. He put his hood up and headed outside to clear his head. He didn't want to see anyone this time, he needed some time alone to figure himself out.
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Jimmy Cohen

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