Chapter 5: Trapped
Harleen had felt the void in her stomach when she was about to jump and do a pirouette. She had felt the fear and the cold sweat as she had seen the floor turning upside down a couple of seconds too fast for her to control, and the way her hands had hit the old wooden floor at the gym; but never had she ever felt such void as the one she felt when her eyes met Pamela's that morning.
She was biting her nails as her heart was raising, pumping the knot in her throat. She did not know one could feel the lack of air in her lungs when one was still alive. She looked at the red hair across the classroom. She was sure she was just good six steps away from her, yet it felt as if it was a universe away from her.
She felt the knot tightening as she felt words pulling one over the other. 'I'm sorry' she thought 'I'm scared…' she added 'I lo…' she mumbled in her head. She knew she loved her.
"Yo, Harley" Joker's voice reached her and pulled her back to the little jail that her desk had suddenly become. She shuddered unconsciously in response.
"Yes, pudding?" she said, and Joker smirked. He put his hand over her shoulder for the third time, and it had the same effect that it had had the night before when he had appeared at her door with a box of cigarettes. It gave Harleen the urge to run away, pushing him aside. It was strange, that is what she first thought. However, he has not been in a good mood, and his reaction had just worsened it all for her. His hand had found its way to her cheek.
It was not the first time he had hit her, but that did not change the order of events that followed the harsh act. He had almost immediately said that he was sorry, while his mouth had looked for her cheek. The pressure of the skin would have hurt, for the injury was fresh. Tears had come out of her eyes, and he had furiously demanded her not to cry.
If she did not act the way she did sometimes, he had said.
If she did not…
If she was not…
He had come all the way there to offer her a cigarette to show that he was no longer angry about what had happened to her and she had the audacity to give him such a cold and rude response. Of course, he had said, he would react in a negative way.
The words were clear in Harley's head. The sound of the door opening and her own voice saying she was sorry as well. She had asked him to follow her upstairs. She had allowed him to remove her clothing and do as he wanted, while she pretended to like it. He smoked after and stayed the night.
Needless to say, Harleen had not been able to sleep, and she had had to put a lot of her effort to remain calm and cover the bruise on her cheek that morning.
"It's going to be lunch time soon, why don't you go get us something to eat?" Joker said locking eyes with her.
She forced her smile to be as wide as it could be and her voice became a little higher than usual 'Oh, of course, pudding' she had said, and she hurried out.
Her legs felt heavier than usual as she walked out of the hall. The dirty floor tiles had a distasteful brown color with some dirty yellow that made them look as though they were always dirty. The lights were yellow as well, or they were white. She was not able to tell. The halls gave the feeling of being a space that was stopped in time. Space where multiple girls like her had walked as slowly as if something had been chained to their ankles. Girls with no future.
This was the kind of hall where women like her somehow connected and convinced one another that there was no other way than this one. "Not all women though" she thought as she took a deep breath "Red wouldn't let herself like that".
It was easy to idealize someone like Pamela. She didn't seem to break. She didn't seem to need anyone. She didn't seem like the kind of weak girl that would sit in her room and feel her arms reaching for someone that didn't or wouldn't be there. The kind of girl that would cry herself to sleep because of the void in her stomach seemed to extend to her chest. Harleen thought she didn't seem like that type of girl. A girl like her.
Harleen took a deep breath as she looked at her hands. She shivered as the need reached the tip of her fingers and then covered her body like a blanket. She felt she couldn't breath. She felt she was going to cry again.
The voice of the woman from the cafeteria made her come back to the dirty hole where she really was. A hole a little upper from hell than her own thoughts.