The leg braces
She did it again.
Carly tried to get away, she ran, she cried – no, Mom, no! – but it was useless.
Mom got her and held her tight and buckled the leg braces on both her legs from the ankles to the thighs. Hard metallic braces secured with leather straps and bands.
Now she lies in her bunk bed. Her mother lifted her up there, breathing heavily. Carly lashed about, she cried – no, Mom, no! – but it was useless.
She can only lie on her back. She is very hot under the heavy feather duvet. She tries to open the braces but she can’t even reach the first leather strap. She can’t get up. She stretches and stretches her arms. The only thing she can reach is the duvet. She pulls it over her face. Now, she thinks, now I'll suffocate. I'll suffocate and then she'll see. It gets hotter and hotter, her head is going to explode. She throws the bedding on the floor. She cries: - Mom! Mom! –
“Take your nap!” “It’s good for you!” “You want pretty legs don’t you?” Carly hears and then she hears the door.
She is alone. She is listening really hard. She hears the kitchen clock. Cars driving by. Her heart is in her ears. She is only able to move her arms and her head and the upper part of her body. Her index finger constantly drills the same spot on the wall.
Carly knows. There will be a big fire. A very big fire. And her mom will cry. She will cry and cry – Oh I didn’t want that, I didn’t – and she will cling to the only leather strap that will be left.
“Mom! Mom! Fire!” she cries till her voice gives up.
Silence. After her crying the silence grows. The room is half dark. She sees the white ceiling, the “forget me not” wallpaper, her leg braces. She hears a car door outside the street. Now she is cold. She is certain one will come. One will come and he will break into the flat. He will open all the drawers, and he will find Mom's jewellery box, and Carly will be really, really quiet, she will stop breathing, but then he will notice the bedding on the floor.
“Now what have we here? A girl? I get a lot of money for a girl!”
She did it again.
Mom got her and held her tight and buckled the leg braces on both her legs from the ankles to the thighs.
Her finger keeps drilling the same spot in the wall. The “forget-me-not Wallpaper gets a little loose. “Mom! Mom!” she cries.
Finally, the door. Her mother brings in groceries.
“You threw your bedding on the floor!” Her voice is accusing. “Did you sleep well?”
Carly is back in the arms of her mother. Her mother opens one strap after the other, rubs her legs. Carly wants to cuddle up. She wants to run away.
“You only buckle me up so you can go grocery shopping!”
“No, no!” her mother says, but her eyes give her away.
The hole in the wall is very small. It will get big and bigger and behind it are the streets of freedom.