Addelaide was born dead. It’s not that her parents used drugs when her mom was pregnant with her or anything. It just turned out this way, that Addelaide was born dead. She was a wonderful baby. Every four hours her mom would give her the bottle and she would drink it all to the last drop and burp as was expected. When they put her in her crib she slept, and when they picked her up she awakened. She slept quite a bit, but that is normal in infants, so her parents were told, and they were very pleased with her.

When Addelaide was a few months old her parents became worried because she didn’t smile. She sat up, crawled and stood just like the books said she should, and looked at the world through huge blue eyes, but even when people smiled at her, even when they lifted her up or tickled her, she didn’t smile. Her parents took her to the best doctors, but none of them had an answer. It was clear she was not Autistic. She absorbed the world with an amazing speed and responded to stimulation. She just never smiled. Her parents were pretty depressed by the fact that when their friends came to visit, they all tried to make Addelaide smile, and failed.

Eventually so many people smiled at Addelaide she understood this was something that was expected of her, and smiled back at her mom, then at her dad, and then at everyone who smiled at her. Addelaide’s parents were relieved, and she realized she did the right thing. Her baby instincts told her she would do best to smile on her own accord now and then. She didn’t always smile at the right moment, but her parents were so happy they didn’t notice this small detail.

In preschool, Addelaide was the teachers’ favorite. They only had to tell her what to do once, and from that moment on she performed her tasks to the point. She never quarreled with other children, was quiet and well behaved and smiled a lot. Addelaide was every teacher’s dream, and if it seemed a bit strange to them that she didn’t cry when the Preschool’s bully bit her, well, that little oddness was overlooked among her many good qualities.

In school, most children shied away from Addelaide. They sensed there was something strange about her. Kids are a very perceptive people. They have very thin skins and they haven’t begun looking at the world through eyes clouded by norms, and this is why they see things for what they are, and those kids saw that Addelaide was dead, and they wouldn’t come any closer to her than they had to. Everyone, that is, except Dana, the prettiest girl in the class, the queen everybody obeyed. She loved Addelaide and protected her from every prank or unkind word, as if Addelaide cared. Addelaide dutifully obeyed her every order and listened with her blue eyes wide open to stories everyone knew Dana made up, but Addelaide only listened and nodded.

In high-school Dana’s parents finally got divorced, and her mother moved to another town with her. There were other girls, but they spoke of things Addelaide couldn’t understand like love and pain and envy, and Addelaide couldn’t smile or nod at the right places, or maybe they expected different reactions from her – they expected her to be angry with them, hurt with them and be enthusiastic with them, like a real friend would, only Addelaide didn’t understand the meaning of the words, and so she was left utterly alone. She spent a great deal of time sleeping, but her parents didn’t find this odd. Sleep is a normal thing with teenagers, so they were told, and Adelaide didn’t seem to be in any kind of stress and her grades were as high as ever.

In her dreams, Addelaide was alive. In her dreams she got mad if something angered her, was frustrated if something didn’t work out and sad if anyone hurt her. In her dreams she could sometimes come close to something that felt like love. That was the real reason Addelaide loved to sleep. When she woke up this sensation of being alive remained with her for a few seconds before dissipating, and Addelaide could no longer remember the dream or what it brought to life within her. Addelaide lived for those few seconds.

When Addelaide was sixteen she first saw Rick, who was almost eighteen, and maybe it was him, or maybe it was just her hormones finally kicking in, but in that moment something awakened in Addelaide, and she felt, and fainted. When she opened her blue eyes she saw Rick’s worried face, and for the first time in her life smiled with pleasure, and not because it was customary. Rick helped her up and his touch sent fire rushing through her, and she thought she might faint again, but she didn’t. Rick asked her if she was ok and she said she was and blushed.

At lunch Addelaide wolfed down her food. The spices were exciting, and the chocolate mousse, ah, the things it did to her. That night she could barely bring herself to go to sleep. The night itself, with its light breeze blowing through the treetops was so full of feeling she couldn’t bear to miss a single minute of it. Even being tired felt so sweet, but fatigue finally won, and Addelaide fell asleep, happy to feel the cover’s soft touch on her skin.

In the next few days everyone could see the change in Addelaide, and the girls welcomed her into their pack, and they stared at Rick from afar with her and longed to feel the touch of his hand again. Finally, one of the girls worked up the courage to go to Rick and ask him if he wanted to go out with Addelaide. It was easy to overlook Addelaide’s dead beauty before,, but now, when she glowed from inside, Rick took one look at her and said yes.

Addelaide felt. She felt like one giant scream of ecstasy going up into the heavens. Even when she flunked a test and was sorry and disappointed, she enjoyed the feeling, held it to her heart like the ugly runt in the litter and loved it. Addelaide loved everything, everybody. But most of all, Addelaide loved Rick.

On their second date Addelaide slept with Rick. She had been alone for so long. Nobody explained to her that it’s not advisable to always do what you want right away, show all your feelings, give away everything. Nobody told her that if she loved someone, that didn’t mean he loved her too.  If Addelaide had any experience she would have known it was bad sex, but she didn’t care. Her feelings were completely exposed, like a naked nerve, and she was totally connected to Rick, and when he came inside her she felt like fireworks exploded inside her head, and that was enough for her. That was perfect.

The next day Rick avoided Addelaide all day at school, and she couldn’t understand why. When she called him that afternoon to ask when they were going to get together he said he was very busy and will talk to her sometime. And that was it. That’s the way it was. Addelaide cried and ached and raged, but Rick had already moved on, and Addelaide could only look through teary blue eyes as he flirted with other girls during recess. Addelaide’s friends said he was a dog, a son of a bitch, but Addelaide didn’t care. She loved the pain, too, and the tears. They were proof that she was alive. The girls told her she should stop loving Rick so she could love someone else, but Addelaide felt in her bones that if she stopped loving Rick she would feel nothing again and go back to being dead.

Days went by and Addelaide got sadder and sadder. She was no longer a scream of ecstasy. She was a cloud pillar of sadness reaching all the way to the heavens, a hurricane of pain that swallowed everything: light and warmth and love and joy. She didn’t enjoy food anymore, nor did she remember to eat because she must, and she grew very thin and dark circles appeared under the blue of her eyes. Her friends, failing to cheer her up, distanced themselves from her one by one in the face of her insistence to go on loving and hurting. Her grades went down so much she probably couldn’t have finished the year.

Finally, her mother sat her down for a talk. For the first time since the day she was born Addelaide looked into her mother’s eyes and saw how much she loved her, how much it pained her to see Addelaide like this. She realized that her suffering wasn’t hers alone, that she was hurting the people who loved her most. Now that she understood love and pain, the thought was unbearable. Addelaide just listened to her mom and hung her head.

That night, before she fell asleep, Addelaide gathered all her powers, and she had powers, she was a very extraordinary person. So she gathered all her powers and wished she could go back to being dead. Not to love Rick, not to hurt, not to take pleasure and not to hate, just to be the old Addelaide, who smiled and nodded and got good grades and did everything she was expected to do. Her sacrifice, so she thought, would be as nothing compared with the pain she was sparing all the people around her.

Addelaide closed her eyes, concentrated and sent a finger deep into her soul and found the switch. For a second she hesitated, remembering pain and joy and night breeze and fireworks in her head, and then she found within herself the courage she was about to let go of, and flipped down the switch.

In the morning her parents found her dead body, lying, perfect, in her bed, with no expression on her beautiful face. The autopsy showed the doctors no cause of death.

No one realized she didn’t care enough anymore to go on breathing.

Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts, הבלוג של: Gal Barkan

My role in life is to speak in favor of LOVE, all love.As edtor in chief of Amour, I decided that our readers in English deserve more than Google translate :)So this is my English blog, for your pleasure.

סיפורים נוספים של Gal Barkan

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