There is a moment in life, that moment you look yourself in the mirror and wonder how you got where you are. A moment when you think back to all the things you’ve done, things you’ve said that led up to that moment. Waves of years past come rushing back. Every step you’ve taken that have shaped who you are now, reeling like a film. Maybe instead of standing in front of that mirror, you were laying in bed, staring off into a moonlit ceiling, begging for sleep but your mind simply wanted to cash that ticket in to the past.
As your mind flashes backwards, memories of another life appear….
Twenty years old and no where to go. Crying in the bathroom, shaking hands gripping the sink as she lifts her face to see the image she fears. Through blurred vision, she takes in her flushed cheeks, her tears turn red as the wound above her eye pulses with life. How did this happen? How did I become– this?
This isn’t the first time it’s happened. She’s been here many times before. Not uttering a word to anyone. Waking up every day with a smile, greeting co-workers, friends, and family with kindness she doesn’t receive at home. She knows this facade of hers will soon shatter as she continues to break inside. Her mind is no longer strong enough. Her smile never meets her eyes. Her hands, tire from shielding the pain. Her skin dulls under the brightest sunlight.
Her body shudders at her own question and the pain in her body sends her to the floor. Hugging her knees, she lowers her head and completely lets herself go. She feels every bit of who she was die inside. Every punch is relived as her cries get heavier. Every breath takes her back to fists pounding her ribs, a kick to her thigh– the hands that used to hold her tight, hands that caressed her, hands now dipped with rage wrapped tightly around her neck until she felt the fight in her fade away, until darkness consumed her.
Waking up from what she thought to be a nightmare, her eyes shoot open, gasping for air as curious eyes glare back. He comes flying towards her, to finish what he started. Those hands, hot and sweaty, find their way back around her throat.
She cries, pleads, clawing– the world begins to get hazy when she finds the strength to fight back. She forces her fist forward, smashing right to his left cheek. Shock spreads through him as he lets her go. She inches backwards as she sees his anger flare like never before. Her will to fight only feeds the fire inside of him.
He charges like like a bull. She has nowhere to run. She prepares herself as white knuckles slam into her brow. Darkness never comes, though she wishes for it, desperately. Her brow becomes slick and cold as blood trails down the side of her face. She lays still as inaudible sounds come from the other side of the door.
Too scared to move, she sees him pacing from her peripheral, fists in his hair, cursing, muscles pulsing. Worming her way to the door, she lets out a whimper. He rushes to her side, his fingers digging on either side of her arms, pulling her up to her knees–he cries for her. He begs for forgiveness when he’s stopped short by the door flying off the hinges.
In one swift move, he lets go and is on the other side of the room. Family rush in, screaming, cornered by the ones who love him. There is no one there for her. She never belonged here. She runs out of the room and rushes to the bathroom. Waiting. Hoping.
Minutes seem like hours as she slowly cleans her wound. Cutting her hair to cover the gash she knows will forever remind her of what occurred when she finally fought back.
Her tears burn but she knows this pain is only temporary. It ends today. This will be the last time she belongs to anyone but herself. Vows are made to the broken girl in the mirror. Today she picks up the pieces, opens the door, and never turns back.
© Stephanie Cardozo, 2016. Stephanie Cardozo, All rights reserved.