THE GOOD GIRL (Short Story)
There was once a girl .She was diagnosed with cancer. She had been a sunny girl with a head full of hazel hair. She went to school and worked hard on her lessons. She wanted to be a scientist when she grew up. Her parents had bought her a Junior Chemistry set for her sixth birthday. She played with it every day after school and made a lot of bangs and booms and plumes of colourful smoke. Her mother smiled to herself and felt very proud of her clever daughter. When she turned seventeen, she caught a cold and went about the house coughing and coughing, till her parents coerced her to see a doctor. The doctor listened to her heart, pressed her wrist and drew her blood.
And one clear,Wednesday morning called them into his office and annouced that that the girl had throat cancer , and would live no more than four months.The family went home in shock and dismay. The girl climbed up the stairs to her room and sat down on her fluffy bed with her lesson books strewn on them. She looked about in wonder and thought about how this, her room,her bed,her life would be her's only for 16 weeks. She picked up her journals and put them in a box. She picked up her clothes and put them in a box. When her mother tried to come in to talk to her, the girl closed the door and bolted it. She went on packing, neatly gathering her belongings into unlabelled brown boxes.
Her mother went downstairs to her father and told him about the locked door. Both of them came up and banged on the door till she opened it. They went in, sat down on her bed and held her and cried into her arms. She didn't make a peep, and just held them to her chest.
Every day the girl would lock her door and pack like she was moving to a new house, and every day her parents would bang on the door till she opened it.
Then, one day while the girl was taking a shower in the bathroom, the girl's mother went into her room with her husband's toolbox and unscrewed the bolt. She was afraid of what the girl might do to herself behind the locked door. Maybe she would kill herself cause she knew she was going to die. Working with the newspaper the mother had published many similar stories. She wanted to spend as much time as she could with her little girl before cruel fate struck. She knew she was being selfish, but suicide was a sin. She and her husband were devoutly religious, she didn't want her daughter to burn in the eternal flames of hell.
The girl came into her room after her shower and started packing her books into a box. She walked to her door to bolt it and found that the whole apparatus was gone. She looked at it in surprise. She pulled the door closed and went back to packing her books. Her parents walked into her room that day, without any banging, and talked to her about old times and old friends and new medical reports. They hugged her , cried and stayed in her room till she fell asleep to their hushed voices talking about her short life.She woke up the next day planning to carry on packing her books. There were two big shelves filled with them, and it was going to be a long task. She went to the bathroom to brush her teeth and discovered that the bathroom's bolt had been unscrewed as well. She quickly ran to the medicine cabinet, behind which she had been keep all her fallen hair in a green polysterene bag. It was still there.She finished her bath and rushed back to her room to resume the packing.
When she was done with the books, she looked about her room to see what else was left to pack. Her mother had objected vehemently to this packing when they had first found out that she was going to clear up her room for her death. But, she had convinced them saying that all her life was contained in that room and that she wanted to go through every bit of it before she lost it forever. As she looked about the almost empty room stacked with brown boxes, she saw her chemistry set peeking from beneath a sheaf of sci-fi comics. She heaved an empty box to the corner and dumped all her comics into it.
After they were all put away, she saw the chemistry set glossed over with dust, sitting gloomily on the bottom of the shelf. She picked it up and was just about to open it when her parents came into her room, sniffling and holding their arms out to her. They wanted to take her to the circus show. Magicians and performing animals and wonders. Her mother couldn't show her little girl the wonders of life before she died but she could show her the wonders that came to town. As a little girl, the mother had always been fascinated by the circus and she wanted her dying daughter to experience what she had experienced. The girl pushed the chemistry set under her bed, got dressed and left with her parents
. Roaming about the stalls , looking at all the girls there with their boy friends and girl friends, she wondered why she never had any friends. As far back as she could remember, it had always been school and lessons and her mum and her dad. Mummy and daddy were her friends. She looked up at her father's face , so steely and handsome. Yes, he had been her prince, she didn't need a boyfriend. Daddy loved her and daddy loved mommy.
That night at home, she woke up in the middle of the night and fumbled for the lock of her door. The bolt was gone. She was seized with a terror. She ran to the bathroom, the bolt was gone there too. The locks had been a relatively new feature in the house. A carpenter was called in the day she turned 14. Before the party started, her mother called her aside " Sweetie, we are giving you the gift of privacy. You are a big girl now, and deserve your personal space. If you have any doubts , you can come to us honey." She climbed back into bed, sweaty and trembling. She closed her eyes and screamed and screamed . Her mother rushed to her room. " What happened baby ?? " " Ssh, it's okay, it's okay." She held her shaking daughter . It had to be the night terrors the doctor had warned her about . She gently soothed her daughter to sleep.The next morning she told her husband about what happened the earlier night. She told him to keep a watch on their little girl as she went out for her night shift at the newspaper office.
The father gave her a hug , assured her he would look after the girl and kissed her goodbye.The girl was upstairs picking through her chemistry set, the small test tubes and the little packets of salt and the black owl goggles. She set them up on her table, her last experiment before she packed it away in an unlabelled brown box. She mixed and stirred till ten in the night. She got tired easily these days. She swallowed her little box of colourful pills and lay herself in the bed.She woke up again, in the middle of the night , to the sound of footsteps climbing up the stairs.
She jumped out and ran to bolt her door. her fingers found no lock. She ran to the bathroom with the missing bolt. She pulled the green bag from behind the medicine cabinet. Her father stood at the door,naked. She locked her eyes with his and held out the bag." Ive been saving it all up for you daddy. Your pretty angel's hair was falling off, i tried to save it.", she said her eyes glistening with tears. "You've been naughty, you've been locking your door sweetheart. You made mommy get the locks. It's been two years"He growled. "No daddy, I was scared. You see, Ive become so ugly and bumpy. I didn't want you to see me like this. I wanted you to remember me as perfect. Your perfect little angel."
she kneeled down, clutching the bag, sobbing. Her father gathered her into his arms. You will always be perfect for me. Her heart calmed down and she opened her legs to him like she always had from the night of her sixth birthday.
Two Months later, her mother said goodbye to her little girl, who was packed in an unlabelled brown box, her coffin. Sniffing into her kerchief, she turned to her husband. "She'll go to heaven Marjorie, she was a good, obedient little girl.", the father said gruffly.
The tombstone read " Daddy's Perfect Little Angel" .