By Jessica Scott
In her heart she knew it was for the best. No matter what she did, she always seemed to hurt people. Her best intentions were never good enough and, though she tried to show how much she cared, she could never quite convince him of her sincerity. She looked around the room and tried to remember a happier time. They had had good days but those were always overshadowed by the majority of bad ones they had gone through. After so long she thought she’d be used to the emotional rollercoaster, but each new argument still cut her skin, deep and sharp, like a knife. Then hours after the argument, or the next day, he’d act as if everything was fine and normal. She looked at the smooth skin of her arms. Not a scar or blemish in sight, yet, she felt as if her whole body should show the lashings she’d taken from his verbal beatings. How had she lived with it for so many years? How could she stay any longer?
She walked over to the closet and looked inside. She reached for the suitcase on the shelf above her dresses and took it to their bed, unzipping it. She stared at the open bag for a minute, thinking. She knew if she gave herself too much time to think she’d never have the courage to go through with it. But she couldn’t stop herself from recalling the last argument that night before he stormed out the door. He didn’t like her new attitude. He didn’t like that she’d colored her hair weeks before either. She was a different person and the only reason for it was because she was seeing someone else. Why wouldn’t he believe that the only reason for the change was because she was tired of being beaten down and she wanted more from life than that? Why couldn’t he see that she was doing it for herself? Why can’t he just let her grow, and give her the time she needs to do it?
Tears well up in her eyes. She tries to hold them back but they spill over. She tried to explain to him. She told him everything she’d kept inside. She told him how she feels in a rut and how she needs to break free of the invisible chains holding her back. She wants to do what’s in her heart to do. She tried to explain how she’s tired of doing the same thing every day, how she feels there’s something so big inside her that wants to be free, to fly, and how she knows there’s something important she’s supposed to do, though she doesn’t know what it is. He sat silent throughout it all, her voice the only sound in the room. His silence was answer enough to her but she kept going. When she finally stopped he continued to sit quietly on the floor. Had he heard her heart? Had he listened to what she was really telling him? What was she telling him? She wasn’t sure she knew completely.
She walked to the dresser, the tears falling slowly down her face. She opened the dresser drawer and took out some clothes. She fingered the fabric, not really noticing the softness, as she walked back to the opened suitcase on the bed. She put the clothes in and went back for more. She kept putting clothes in until she ran out of space. Then she went back into the closet for another bag. Back and forth, back and forth. One drawer done, another to empty. One memory down, another to go.
She pushed her hair out of her eyes. Her hair. The biggest, and dumbest, argument was about her hair. She had dyed her hair in an effort to push herself out of the constant sadness she walked around in because of her dad’s passing. It hadn’t turned out the way she had thought it would but she had loved the result. It was so completely different and it was the first time in years that she had felt pretty. She smiled. She still loved how different the new color made her look. Not that her old color was bad, but she had lived in it for so long that she had wanted a drastic change. And he’d hated it. He’d made sure she knew it, too. She was still getting compliments about it from friends and strangers, though.
She walked into the bathroom and started gathering items, a toothbrush, toothpaste, brush and comb. She grabbed as many things as her hands could hold and started packing them in a travel bag. She stopped and looked at herself in the mirror. She smiled at the woman she saw. A pretty woman with soft brown hair curling around her face. No, a beautiful woman, an amazing woman, who was capable of so much more than he gave her credit for. He had never called her beautiful or pretty unless she asked him if he thought she was. He felt she should just know, but she never did. He always called her his ‘doll’, as if that was supposed to make her feel pretty. It only served to make her feel as if he were being sarcastic. After all the years of criticism she heard from him, she could never look herself in the mirror without feeling ugly, and worthless. But now, she was different. Bright blue eyes stared back at her from a slender face.
For weeks she had been trying to lose the weight she had been gaining for years. She hadn’t thought she’d made much progress but after the death of her father she’d noticed her clothes were starting to hang on her. She’d checked her scale and had been shocked, and then excited, to see she’d lost almost thirty pounds. The pleasure had grown into confidence, which had blossomed in her soul. She started watching what she was eating and how much. She stopped drinking sodas and started walking around the neighborhood. She started wearing make-up again and she felt as though she finally looked as good as she felt. She started writing again and hope built up inside her. Dreams she’d had so many years ago started filling her head and heart again. She loved writing and had hoped that by this time she’d have a book written and published. But those dreams had fallen by the wayside when she had met him. He liked that she wrote poems but he didn’t see the need for her to go back to school or to try to better herself with an education. She had to take care of him and be at his beck and call. How could she not have seen how controlling he truly was? How had he managed to blind her so completely?
She walked to the suitcase and put in the travel bag. She closed the lid of the suitcase and zipped it shut and did the same for the other bag. She picked them up and carried them to the front door and put them down. She went back to the bedroom and set the room to rights. She did the same in the bathroom and then walked back to the living room. She sat down at the desk and grabbed a piece of paper and a pen. She wrote a single sentence, folded the paper, and put it in an envelope. She wrote his name on the outside then walked over to the suitcases with it. Opening the front door she put both suitcases on the front steps with the envelope on top where she knew he’d see it. She went back inside and locked all the locks, including the deadbolt. She closed all the blinds and turned off all the lights. She went back to the bedroom and got in the bed and fell asleep. She never saw him open the envelope, read her note, or throw it down to the ground. She never heard him banging on the front door, yelling her name. She never saw him finally give up, grab his suitcases, and walk away. She had fallen into such a sound sleep as she hadn’t had since they met.
The next morning found a curious neighborhood squirrel sniffing a piece of paper with writing on it. It wasn’t food, so he left it alone. If he could have read it he would have seen a simple statement:
“I’m not your ‘doll’ anymore.”
© 2013 Jessica Scott.
All Rights Reserved.