The Suppressed Must Resurface At Some Point

Back in her bungalow, Linda sat on the floor of her room, shaking her head back and forth in an uncontrollable motion like one of those plastic dashboard dogs with too-big heads that people love sticking in their cars for some odd reason.


Phone clutched to her chest, Linda counted ten long seconds, breathing in and out, but the fretting fingers, the jittering hands, the clattering teeth wouldn’t stop. It was as if someone had just pulled her out of the ice-cold Artic Sea and she needed immediate saving from hypothermia. Only she wasn’t cold all over. She was hot. Burning.


Sweat trickled down the side of her head, cooling her temple momentarily before it travelled on down her cheek.


“Hello…? Hello? Hello, you called me? Hello!”


Linda’s hearing switched back out of her trance and to the phone clutched manically to her heaving chest. The muffled sounds were radiating in increasingly confused waves from the black device.


“Sus-sannah?” Linda stammered quietly into the phone. She could feel her vocal cords tense up and refuse to let go as she tried to push out more words. “M-me…Lin-nda…”


She probably sounded like a lunatic to the woman on the other end of the line, but Susannah had realised from the first syllable who was calling.


“Linda, we’ve talked about this. There is nothing you can do. The doc-” Linda’s sobbing cut off Susannah’s voice and for a split second Linda thought she may have lost her, but then Susannah stopped her tirade of rote-learnt sentences and came back down to earth to comfort her friend. “Oh, sweetie, don’t cry. It’ll all be okay. You’ll see. Doctor Arnold is such a lovely man. I can schedule you in for another appointment once you’re back in the city just to make sure everything is going alright. He said it would be hard, but… But it’s okay, Linda… Linda, sweetheart?”


 A face was staring at Linda through the narrow window just opposite her. She tried to discern the facial features, but the wooden blinds half turned down – the way she had left them that early morning before setting off to breakfast – partly masked the person standing outside. The boy’s face and then his face phased in and out of her vision once again, but she knew it was a trick of her imagination. The face staring straight at her was pale in comparison, with big gullible blue eyes, and that flock of crazy hair curling its way around the face… It could only have been…


“Linda! Let me in! I was knocking so hard on your patio door for five whole minutes, and you couldn’t hear me, though I could see you perfectly well sitting there in your bedroom, rocking back and forth, on that phone of yours! What’s wrong?”


Sylvia. Crazy, loud, big Sylvia had once again invaded Linda’s privacy. And at such a time…


“Susie,” Linda wasn’t sure how to explain her call. She knew Susannah knew. But her behaviour had been atrocious. It was probably night-time in New York now, or late evening. She had disturbed Susannah when she had most likely been having a lovely dinner with her family or putting her little ones to bed with a final bed-time story… “Sorry, I have to go.”




But Linda shut her phone with astounding abruptness and stood up, crossing the few wooden floorboards to exist her room, and opened the living room glass doors to welcome in a flustered and utterly confused Sylvia.


Yet with the flurry of cloth and colour the older woman brought to the neat and tidy little bungalow, it was not frustration Linda now felt towards Sylvia’s untimely entrance. Rather, it was comfort. And as Sylvia folded Linda into her broad body, taking the younger woman to the soft sofa in the middle of the living room and holding Linda securely in her tight embrace, Linda let go of the torment that had been holding her whole being ever since that horrific event in New York a whole year ago. A wail escaped her parched lips, and then another one. And suddenly, through a frenzy of heat, sweat, tears and feverish memories, Linda’s anxieties turned into a full-blown wail of despair as she let Sylvia hold and comfort her while her heart and body cried out what she had wanted to believe she had left behind her all those months ago.

Previous chapterNext chapter


Hi Anna

I really enjoy your writing - it is very clever.  The other day I watched a video of Barack Obama and he is a master of oratory skills, no matter what anyone thinks of him politically.  The reason I raise him, is his use of silence and altering the length of his speech pattern.  He dangles you on a string, wondering what word will come next.


Your writing is like that for me and what it is, is your varying length of paragraphs and sentences.  It keeps the reader on their toes - I love the way you do this.  It is very clever writing, showing a depth of thought about your craft.  Well done and keep at it.

An often quoted principle of writing is to make the reader really care for your protagonist so the reader has someone to quietly encourage along. This desire to see the protaganist achieve the object of his or her desire is the thing that keeps the reader turning the page. You've done this in this piece and I am very much wanting Linda to come out of her situation as a winner. Life is a struggle but the thrill of a good story is to see a struggler survive and conquer. I endorse Bruce's feedback as well.

Your writing is maturing and you are becoming a real masterful storyteller.