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An old woman nodded at the television and, finishing her last stitch, used the needle to jab her companion in the wheelchair next to her.

“Ech, you’ll give me another bruise,” the woman complained at her, rubbing her arm.

“You see that cemetery there on TV?” the poker asked her friend. Without waiting for a reply she continued, “I called them before when my husband died. You wouldn’t believe the prices! Got a place for both of us in Shady Pines for half a what they were asking.”

“Uh-huh,” her friend replied, settling deeper under her blankets, hiding from the phantom drafts in the room.

A third woman, whose appearance was slightly younger and sharper than the others, put down her mug with an audible clunk upon the table.
“Mary, Edith.” She said the names with the authority of a schoolteacher. “I do not believe this conversation is quite appropriate, all things considering.”

The room hushed as the women looked at the girl sitting apart, far away from the comforts of the television and the others’ company.
At the silence she glanced up with steely* eyes. “I’m not afraid.” She clenched fists smaller than they had any right to be. Having the attention of the women, she continued, “That’s why I’m here you know.”

“What do you mean, dear?” Edith asked, setting aside her knitting.

“I mean they made me come here because I talked about death. I told the other kids I would die. It isn’t a lie, when they tell you the cancer is back and you can’t get more radiation for two years.”

“Hush child.” Mary was disturbed by the implications of the conversation. “My sister had cancer three times and she always came out fine. The key is positive thinking.”

The women in the room nodded at each other. The girl looked away from them and spoke, “I saw in a magazine that they can take your ashes and make them into a diamond.” There was silence as these women contemplated the child’s last wishes. Finding the request morbid but unable to say so, they were visibly relieved when Jeopardy! came on the TV. No one heard the girl say, “I could be beautiful.”

*waiting for something better
The point is to go from high communication to low. I don't know how successful this is. In my mind it goes conversation>command>unheard

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nikicole

July 2010

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