‘UnBoxified’ – BRIEF SYNOPSIS
Two lead characters’ first-account of a, partly fictional/partly based on true events, story in which mystery, gritty reality, comedy, romance and science-fiction, are the vehicles for a journey where the meaning of life, death and everything important in between, are the destination.
It’ll make more sense if you read it in order, though. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find Chaptisode 1 here: | Chaptisode 1: ‘Bloody Hell’ >
(Previously in Chaptisode 2…
‘He looked at me… smiled… lift his arms in the air and left himself fall into the pit. I screamed and woke up. That dream had awakened Ewan’s spirit within me and there was no way back now. I could suppress him no longer, I could no longer negate him. And what was worse… this niggling feeling that something was not right, confirmed by my lack of success at finding out anything about him all these months since I started my search, this was eating me alive.
Betty’s profile pops up.
Shit… I really have to do this…
I click on ‘Message’ and start typing’)
“Audrey!”- Professor Mayfield called impatiently.
“Oh, sorry, Professor… I was… “- I trailed off. It’d been over two weeks since I had sent that Facebook message to Betty Fullam, and although she had read it, as it was marked by the platform, she had sent me no response. Not even a brief acknowledgement of receipt. Not even a snarky line like the ones she would have no qualms in spurting all over the place and all over anyone, back at the time. I could not quite figure out why, she could not possibly still carry a grudge for something I didn’t even do, but the thoughts on her silence were becoming an obsession in themselves.
“You were not; at least not here” – He teased -“What’s wrong? You seem quite absent-minded these days. I mean… more than usual– the Professor continued mockingly, trying to cover up with humor his concern, with little to no success.
Truth was, he was right to feel concerned. He had put his name on the line by helping me gather all the signatures I needed to get the grant that had allowed me carry out my research at the Center for Theoretical Physics in the restrictive and secretive Muldhem. It was the first time, as an adult, that someone had believed in me and my vision, and the fact that it had been a man was all the more extraordinary to me, for I came from a household where the women were just meant to clean, cook, scrap and keep their mouths shut. Being appreciated for my brain power had felt nothing but foreign to me for most of my school years, too. But, apparently, I had been born with a forward grey in a backwards planet, as my best and only friend, Naya, used to say, and that was usually received as impolite. Still, my social awkwardness and raw naivety used to make me feel like the stupidest person in the world, a feeling constantly reinforced by almost everyone around me when growing up.
“You’re dumb, child, this is very simple math!” – resounded from Mrs Gerthrea’s lips as the slim bamboo stick held in her bony hand hissed in the air, threatening to split my short life in two.
And that’s exactly the kind of fish I was, the kind of fish that drowned. It wasn’t until Naya Robinson found my diary and showed it to her big sister, Natara, that the whole school found out not only that I wasn’t dumb but quite the opposite in fact. I don’t know what was worse, though, if being regarded as not very bright or being regarded as too bright, for most of my special smarts only caused me grief. And, as soon as these pair showed up in the 5th Grade, my natural curves also proved to be too advanced for my own good.
I can still smell the stench of alcohol coming out of the old family GP’s mouth to whom my mom had sent me, alarmed at my unexpected and rapid sprout. His breath only got heavier as he opened my blouse and started to massage my little delicate breasts. It had just taken him a second to come to the correct diagnosis of ‘normal’, and yet he had continued to circle them with his trembling fingers, tentatively squeezing them whilst babbling nonsensical references to the famous birds and bees tale. Standing in front of him, with my blouse fully open, I felt a fire of indignation burning on my cheeks as, even though I was a child, I knew he wasn’t supposed to be doing that, for it had not been the first time I had been used for covert gratification. Still, I was paralyzed, unaware that I had the right to take his hands off me, just like I fought at four years old, when my mom’s father used to grab my little hand to press and rub his octogenarian penis, hardly covered by thin cloth. But, unlike then, when I would pull away using as much force as my tiny body could until I got away and ran, I just stood there, feeling completely powerless and ashamed, waiting for it to be over. It seemed an eternity had passed when a nurse finally came in. Only then is that he dropped his hands, leaving me alone, at last.
As I went out into the street and walked slowly back home I felt how a sea of tears pushed to overflow inside my eyes but I kept it all in with all my might. A silent fight in my mind between embarrassment, impotence and confusion had me debating whether to tell or not. The shame won, just like it had done before. I had no idea that as a victim of sexual abuse, it was natural for my mind to construct that I had provoked it in some way, even if that belief was obviously an irrational one.
I cursed my little lumps, too, from that day on, just as I had cursed whatever that led men to see no child, no family and practically no person in me but an object to please themselves, and started to cover up my increasingly curvaceous figure with long and ample shirts to go to school, hunching as much as possible, scared to give away the slightest air of what had always been an unwanted femininity.
“I’m fine, just a bit tired” – I muttered, as I used to do when threading half lies. I was tired but I was far from feeling dandy. Since I had contacted Betty, Ewan had been populating my nights in my sleep and every encounter had been met with the same end. It seemed he was intent in self-destructing by throwing himself into that bottomless black pit and I could do nothing to stop him but scream ‘Don’t!’ every time, any other words drying up in my throat as soon as he showed the intention in his stunt with that crooked smile of his that I once so desperately loved.
We are complex, we are broken, we are lost, we are ghost.
“I know what you’re thinking and let me tell you that I expect you to do your best but I certainly don’t expect you to be superhuman, Audrey. You’ve been working without respite for over three years” – Professor Mayfield stated softly, his pale blue eyes shining in overtones of compassion.
“Professor, you’re a darling, sir, but I really am too close to deciphering The Pattern. I can’t leave now for a holiday” –I stressed, increasing my pace and giving him a view of my back, so he didn’t see me frown as I tended to invariably do every time I was given an unsolicited suggestion.
“Actually, that’s precisely why you should leave for a holiday, now more than ever”-he elevated his tone slightly as the gap between us widened-“So you don’t burn out before getting to that point!”
“Because, you are going to burn out soon, you know?”-he whispered in my ear as he caught up at the door that led into ‘the boiler’-“And that would disappoint you far more than it could ever disappoint me”-he added quickly, capable of guessing just how much of an immense weight as it was a gift his trust over my shoulders was for me.
I had grown far too confident in myself over the past few years to let that possibility perturb me in the slightest. I had to, as a way to compensate for all the belittling I had suffered in the past, as a way to leave the last town and not turn back, as a way of mere survival. My dear Professor, my adopted father figure, was as piercingly perceptive as any biological father could have been, perhaps even more, though. I needed that break, for all the right reasons. I would not be able to keep up with all that panic-infused dreaming that had been filling my nights and fogging up my mind for much longer. I needed to be sharper than ever. I was very close, I could almost touch it… and yet… there was an invisible wall between me and that notion that was thickening as fast as my energy was starting to drain.
A flash of me traveling to the ‘kingdom’ and confronting Betty face to face crossed my mind right at that moment. What better way to spend a holiday than finding out what the hell happened to Ewan once and for all?
I smiled at the Professor and squeezed his arm tenderly.
“Inducing guilt in others to get one’s way is a nasty maneuver… But you’re probably right, Fessy, I’ll heed your wise advice on this occasion”- I finished in a chuckle, my eyes impossibly big trying to capture the reaction in his, as I had used the nickname he specially loved to hate.
“Of course I’m right”-A self-satisfied smile matched the naughty kid of his forever-sparkly eyes, just before our faces automatically dressed in a rehearsed poker countenance, as soon as we both entered the Collider Control Room.