A Short story for which I don’t have a title.
The living room smells of your father’s pipe and your mother’s cooking. It’s lamb chops this evening. It’s the type of smell that would make you queazy if you weren’t used to it.
You’re sitting on the new couch. It’s lavender and at present your mother’s pride and joy.
You, however, do not like the new couch. You miss the old brown cord one. You and Dusty used to snuggle on it, and you’d bury our head in the corner that was specially fitted to you until you both fell blissfully asleep.
Dusty isn’t allowed in the house anymore on account of the new couch. You can hear him whining in the backyard, and your heart goes out to him. You want to yell and cry. You know better and look reflexively across the room. Your father’s head is buried in the paper. He doesn’t look up. The bottle is three-quarters full. You can relax for tonight.
You don’t like school. It’s painful. You can’t concentrate no matter how hard you try. You just can’t focus. You’re different from the other girls. They let you know it. They have a special club, and you’re not a member. At lunch, they surround you like rabid wolves and taunt you. They tell you you’re ugly, stupid, and weird. They tell you that you smell. You believe them. You used to have a friend Ruth. She was kind and didn’t seem to mind being around you. Then the girls got hold of her. They said if she was your friend she couldn’t be in the club. Ruth doesn’t talk to you anymore.
The girls don’t fuck with you anymore. No one does. You’re Andrew’ s girl. You’ve turned into something of a beauty, and you know how to use it to your advantage. The teachers disapprove of your short skirts, but you don’t give a shit. It’s worth it. You’re not alone anymore. You’re important. You’re Andrew’s girl.
You met Keith in your third year of university, and you knew at once he was going places. You fell instantly in love and have scarcely been apart since. Keith is like that, a little jealous. It makes you feel wanted and special.
You’re going to be married when he finishes law school. You are so happy and excited. You can’t wait for your life together to begin.
Adele was the intake worker on duty the night you left Keith for good. He hit you in the face with a two by four. You knew he meant it when he said he was going to kill you. You still blame yourself, for provoking him. You knew better. You know what he’s like.
Adele just shakes her head when you talk like this. She says it isn’t your fault and part of you believes her.
It’s hard to imagine anyone pushing Adele around. She seems so strong and self-possessed. She says it’s like a deep scar. It will always be tender to the touch.
The Sun shines on your back, and it warms you, but only for a moment. You step lightly into the coolness of the shade. You feel alive, fully present in this moment. You’ve done a lot of work on yourself, and you understand it wasn’t your fault. You were simply surviving.