My mom told me he’d kill me if I didn’t leave him. That was 3 years ago and the last time we spoke. She doesn’t understand. He loves me.
I press my fingertips against the black plastic to feel the cold glass of the window. I watch the street below through a small slit. Freezing, my feet are tucked up in the moth-eaten blankets of a familiar room. My room. I listen for the lock on the door or footsteps in the hall. He doesn’t like it when I watch.
The woman in a white nightgown standing on the street looks a lot like me. I see the swollen belly and wonder when she is due. I smile. I touch the tender spot where our baby used to grow and wince at the deep sorrow. An empty womb. He blames me and I blame myself. I should have fallen differently or turned away as he struck. I can still see the stain on the carpet.
I remember standing where the woman in white stands now. I remember wanting to step in front of the cars.
A fly lands on my arm and I shake it away. There are so many flies in this room. I hear a shuffle in the hallway and tense. I’ve been careful. I’ve been so quiet. I’ve been good. I listen for the lock, but the hallway is silent again.
There’s a girl on my bed. She looks just like me.
She’s pale and grey. A length of telephone cord hangs from her neck, splotched red and purple. A necklace of bruises. Her cloudy open eyes look through me. Her white nightgown twists around her. Her arms outstretched toward me. My cold feet on the carpet move toward her, nightgown swishing. I reach for her hand. Her wedding ring matches mine. I look at her brown hair and touch my own. Is she me?
Photo by Eduardo Vázquez of Unsplash