K. Meador has participated with distinction in the 37th Annual Cisco Writers Club Summer Writing Contest, receiving Honorable Mention in the Combined Category presented on this 19th day of September 2013.
The moment she made the choice, her fate was sealed. When finally able to face herself for who she was, when she found the courage to stand for herself, it is in that moment that cost her dearly. This is her story.
She approached the building with hesitant steps. She checked the address written down against the numbers on the building. She had the right place. She stood on the sidewalk oblivious to those around her scurrying from place to place and they oblivious to the young girl staring at the building. She shuddered and took a breath as she saw her reflection in the mirrored walls of the building. The wind picked up and blew her long hair into her face. Her face, once pretty, was now devoid of emotion, was pale and was not so pretty anymore. She should know, he told her often enough.
He watched her stand there and thought for a moment she would not go in. He had to make sure she was taken care of properly. He had his chance but it was her decision. He hoped she would go in. He dominated her and knew finding another to take her place would be difficult for she was eager to please and cause little trouble – ‘till now. He breathed a sigh of relief as she walked forward and strode through the doors. He crossed the street, waiting for her return. It would be hours but he was patient man. He lit a cigarette, breathed deeply, and exhaled.
She squinted into the fluorescent lights, too bright for the place that she referred to as a tomb in her mind. The lobby was furnished nicely with plush carpet, deep couches, art décor but the trappings were just that and nothing more. She approached the woman behind the front desk and realized she was on the phone and typing systematically. She turned away and walked to the art. Such beauty to be found in this place, she thought, that was just wrong, just plain wrong.
She stared at the painting yet she began to see past the painting and into the reflection it was sending out. She lifted a hand to her hair, which was long and stringy. Once, it was shiny and kept. She touched her face that was void of makeup and remembered a time when she was pretty. The too baggy clothes, the ugly brown clogs that he made her wear made her feel ugly and unkempt. When had she allowed him to do this to her? Why did she let him? Her hand dropped from her face to her stomach. He was making her do this too.
The room was quiet. The woman was off the phone. She was calling to her but she wouldn’t listen. She was absorbed in her own thoughts. She could leave she told herself. She could walk right out those doors. She could make that collect call which her parents would be overjoyed to accept. She could….couldn’t she? The woman called to her again and then again as she stood quietly staring at the girl in the reflection.
She turned, in a split second, before she could change her mind. As she left the building, turning left would take her to him, turning right would lead her to nowhere but going straight, yes, going straight would lead her back home. She felt good as she opened the door and strode out to wait patiently for the light to change so she could cross the street.
He could not believe what he was seeing. Not ten minutes was she there and she had walked out. He was beyond anger. She defied him. She could not get away with that. He moved up behind her. He watched the traffic. He raised his hand to her back without touching her. Timing was everything. He pushed. Perfect.
She saw the drivers eyes grow wide, his mouth formed in a scream, the brakes screeched, the horn blared but she knew it was of no use. Her body impacted with steel, she tumbled off of it as the car stopped and she hit the pavement. People shouting, crying, sirens were being heard. Blood was everywhere. A police officer, who was on horse patrol nearby arrived and knelt beside her as she opened her eyes, pointed at him and whispered his name.
No way, he thought to himself, she did not just do that. He turned and walked quickly away. A glance backward showed the police officer talking into his radio.