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The cigarette but smolders unattended in the ashtray across the room and as the moonlight filters into the room the cigarette’s smoke can be seen spiraling away from it. Mara sits quietly in the corner. She is barely visible in the darkened room as she rocks mechanically to calm herself. The water from the over turned glass drips off the table onto the wood floor and her rocking keeps rhythm with the drips.
He’d closed the door 20 minutes ago. The lock echoed through the silent apartment as he locked her away again.
Mara’s hand clenches tightly to the portable device that has managed over the last few months to rip everything apart. No need to answer it when you know who is on the other side. Besides nothing is ever said that hasn’t been said before. She wills it to stop ringing now but it defies her. She hurtles it across the room in a fit of frustration. It hits the portrait that they had taken last year and both shatter stifling the ringing. Silence follows and Mara resumes her mechanical rocking.
A muffled ringing travels down the hall. Her again. Persistent in her nagging. Mara is no longer amazed at this woman’s lack of respect. Instead she stands and strides with new found strength down the hall. Picking up the bedroom phone she doesn’t even wait for a hello before she hangs it up again and decidedly turns off the ringer. Messages can be deleted later.
She glimpses her image in the dresser mirror. Her tear streaked face is red and blotchy and her normally clear hazel eyes are bloodshot and aged. Her short red hair is messy from the battle that ensued. Her clothing are equally as devilish. As she stares at her image she can’t help but wonder who the tired woman looking back at her is? Surely it can’t be herself! “Who are you?” she whispers to the image that only stares back mutely in a response that she has become to accustom to.
She sits on the edge of the bed trying to catch her breath. The energy of too many nights going to sleep wondering about unspoken words and unanswered questions echo in the mattress springs that creak under her weight. The closet stands open beside her, the silver on her luggage catches the moonlight and gleams at her like a silent suggestion open with possibilities. Standing she glides toward the open door. Her hands shake as she pulls down the suitcase that is already packed from two weeks previous. A listless longing haunts her decision.
By Shari Marshall – Edited in 2020