Still frazzled from the past days, Elizabeth lay still while submerged in a white vintage tub filled with cold water and ice. Her long red wet hair lay flat against her flushed silky skin. She kept a blank stare and seemingly lifeless body gave the illusion of death but from time to time you could still see her chest heave.
A nurse sat a few feet from her on a wooden chair reading a cover-less blue book, leg crossed over the other, who peered at Elizabeth every few minutes from the rim of her glasses. There was a dead silence like the world had been forbidden of sound.
Meanwhile, in her dormant state, Elizabeth thought about Henry and how they had unexpectedly had their first date, even though it was never confirmed.
I was getting quiet annoyed with Victoria. Our current arrangement was not working for me at all but I was too much of a coward to point it out. She had a knack for emotional abuse, always putting me down, insulting and humiliating me. I was getting tired of it but every time I would convey my discomfort she would turn on her charm and suck me back in to her nightmare. I felt my life being sucked out of me every time I was with her. My only constant source of happiness was my acting career which was looking bright and of course, Henry.
On one warm March afternoon, I had come out of my acting class early and decided to grab a cup of coffee by the nearby café. Mind you, I always walk fast even if I’m not in a hurry. While going through my purse for my wallet and walking down the street like a mad woman, I slammed into someone dropping my bag and all of its contents.
“Bloody hell” I started to say but then stopped when I realized it was Henry.
“Oh, it’s you” I said smiling, pushing my hair back behind my ears.
“Nice to see you too” he laughed, bending down with me to pick up the spilled items from my purse.
“I was hoping to bump into you, no pun intended” he continued with a smile.
“Mission accomplished” I replied, flustered. After helping me pile all my items back into my purse, he helped me back up and dusted my shoulder off.
“So, what’s the hurry?” Henry asked.
“Nothing really, just heading to the café for some coffee” I replied.
“I could go for some coffee” he smiled.
“Okay, sure” I smiled back, trying very hard not to blush. I don’t think I was doing a very good job to tell you the truth. I also tried not to stare at him so much but he was just too gorgeous. I couldn’t believe he liked me, nevertheless, have coffee together. Somehow I managed to behave myself and stay calm and collected.
During this unexpected rendezvous, I tried not to talk too much. I was a bit nervous and I have this thing that I laugh when I get nervous. He seemed not to mind, though. He actually started telling me jokes just so I could actually have a reason for laughing and not feel awkward.
He’s such a nice guy, I thought to myself. He gets me, I thought as I looked into his eyes briefly from across the table. We had chosen to sit in the café’s outdoor seating area because it was just too much of a lovely day outside to spend it indoors. The wind kept blowing my hair in my face which so I barely had a chance to drink my coffee.
There was a park to our right where kids were playing carefully watched by their mothers. I looked at three mothers sitting on a marble bench, laughing and talking about things I would never experience. I looked back at Henry, who was still talking to me about something but he seemed so far away. I smiled and nodded, pretending to have heard everything.
“So, what do you think?” Henry asked, suddenly.
“Elizabeth?” he continued, this brought me out of my trance.
“What, I’m sorry” I replied.
“I asked if you wanted to come to the cinema with me next Saturday” Henry responded with a smile.
“I’ll have to check my schedule but I’ll let you know sometime next week” I replied.
“Would you like my contact info?” He asked.
“Yes, that would be helpful” I laughed. He took out a small notebook and a pen from his leather jacket and noted his information on it. Even his writing style was as immaculate as his gorgeous blonde hair. I tried not to blush, I was getting nervous again.
As he handed me the torn piece of paper from his notebook our hands touched. His hand was warm and mine was cold. We both smiled at each other, his blue eyes piercing into mine. He had been the perfect gentleman the whole time. As we said our good-byes, he gave me a hug and kissed me on my cheek. I couldn’t help it this time and I blushed.
“Here’s looking at you, kid” He smiled at me, tipping his head as he went up the park street. I watched him for a while until he disappeared at the corner. I touched my cheek. I could still feel his warm kiss upon it. I smiled and headed the opposite way to catch a taxi back home.
“How is she?” Kauffman asks, startling the nurse.
“Oh, Mr. Kauffman, I didn’t hear you come in. You scared me.” The nurse says to Kauffman, turning her head.
“She’s been like that the whole time, as if she’s so far away, poor girl” the nurse continues to say.
“I had to check her breathing a couple of times just to be sure we didn’t lose her”
“So, she hasn’t said a thing all day, Barbara?” Kauffman asks concerned.
“No, sir, nothing at all” Barbara replies, shaking her head.
“I think she’s had enough. Take her back to her room.” Kauffman tells Barbara.
Elizabeth’s eyes are blood shot red, her skin now pruny and white. She has heard everything but remains motionless. Then she slowly starts to sink deeper into the tub until she is completely submerged. Her eyes are wide open as she stares at the light above her. She starts to make bubbles with her mouth. Kauffman and Barbara are still in conversation, oblivious to her now.
I’m drowning, Elizabeth thinks as she lays on the cold tub surface, unmoving. “Elizabeth!” distant screams are heard through the water and then strong hands pull her out.