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The Voices (standard:other, 1054 words)
Author: Jacob EdwardsAdded: Dec 24 2006Views/Reads: 2766/1903Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A girl with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder makes an important life decision. Deals with tradition, sanity, and the nature of human purpose.

"The Voices" by Jacob Edwards 


Mornings, Maman would make oatmeal and Adèle would take her pills. 

Maman always left them on the countertop. Ritalin, Luminal, Zoloft,
Thorazine, Haldol. Adèle came downstairs while she was dicing 

Take and wash down. Take and wash down. Bitter face. Retching. Take and
wash down. Take and wash down. Take and wash down. 

And then Adèle collapsed in her seat and Maman would serve her oatmeal
with raisins and a half-cup of milk.  Never talking. Eyes wandering 
around her sclera. Never talking. Never talking. They never talked. 

"Maman," Adèle said suddenly. 

Maman spilled oatmeal on the table. Then: "Y-yes, ma fille?" 

Adèle's eyes fell to her toes. "Would you mind... if I met someone after
school today? For an hour?" Suddenly she was speaking very quickly. Her 
finger was playing in her hair. "It's a boy. A boy I met at school. 
Nothing like that, I mean. But a boy. His name is Save. I met him at 
him at school. I think. At recess. He's a year younger than me, and..." 

"Adèle," Maman cut in. "Are you sure this boy... are you sure he's....?
Are you sure your mind didn't just...?" 

Adèle's cheeks were a deep shade of red as she stared into her oatmeal.
Those orange, white-capped bottles, sitting there. 'I'm sure," she 
whispered. And it was over. 

Their matinal ritual had been broken. 


Maman wore a white dress that afternoon. The air was unseasonably hot,
almost stifling. 

She heard the school bus rumbling down the street, and the doves by the
intersection scattered on the winds breath. She sipped her tea and 
cursed God for this burden. 

Her daughter at the door, wearing a black pleated shirt and a clean
white blouse. A boy beside her, twelve years old. Wiping his hands on 
the flanks of his stripped jeans. Shaking Maman's hand. Greasy hair. 
Such ruffled, savage hair. 

"Um," said Adèle, sweating profusely and bowing quite unnecessarily.
"This is Save." 

"Pleasure to meet you, Stan," Maman said, politely. 

"Pleasure, Ma'am," Save said, twisting his mouth and looking away, then
came in. 

The platter had been prepared. Canapé, cheese, grapefruits, and
crackers. As they ate, Maman's suspicions were confirmed. 

Save swung his legs and chewed with his mouth open. Cap on his head, he
planted both of his elbows firmly on the table. He was thanking her, in 
a very crude, uncivilized, informal way, and smiling at Adèle. Maman 
had never been so disgusted in her life. How had this churl come into 
her house? 

Save cocked his head as she Maman to the medicine cabinet. "What are...
those?" He pointed to the forest of bottles. 

Sitting by the corner with her knees pressed together, Adèle blushed
furiously. Maman's heart sang. 

She fought a smile. "My daughter has a mild disorder," Maman said,

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