Saturday, August 19, 2017

Words on a Friday ...

I'm sneaking in late to join the amazingly creative bloggers at Drifting Through Life for this week's words.

He sat in the dark, listening closely to every sound. He knew she must be sitting just on the other side of the door as well, waiting to see if he made any noise.

He had seen the open trap door to what must have once been a root cellar and as he turned to tell her to be careful, she had tripped on a chair and fell against him. Thrown off balance, he had almost fallen down the stairs but had been able to grab the edge of the floor to keep from going all the way down.  When the trap door had fallen shut on his hand, he had cursed at her as he jerked his smashed hand away and landed heavily on his back.

The fall had knocked the wind out of him at first, and for a moment he wasn't sure if he was even still alive. As he lay on the dirt floor, huffing and puffing to try to get into a normal breathing rhythm, he was confused about what had actually happened.  Had she really tripped, or had she deliberately pushed him into the cellar?

As breathing became easier, he slowly moved up the stairs until he was just under the door.  He couldn't see any light in the room above through the cracks in the door.  He felt a panic rising in him and started counting backwards from one hundred as he had done as a child when his anxiety made him a target for bullies.  As he mouthed the number eight, he heard her move in the room above and suddenly threw himself at the door, screaming and shouting her name.

He heard her laughing at him, then suddenly stifle herself and run from the cabin.  His anger reached such a supreme intensity at that moment, he could scarcely contain himself.  Screaming obscenities at her, pounding on the door, he continued until he could feel the blood pouring from his splintered and shattered fists, and his throat was so sore he could only manage a whisper.  How long had he been at it? He didn't know.  All he knew now was that he desperately wanted something to drink and to wrap his hands around her throat to watch her slowly die.

He sat back on the floor and felt something underneath him.  Shifting his weight, he realized that his cell phone had fallen out of his pocket somehow and quickly turned it on.  Zero bars. No signal at all.  But there was still enough battery for him to use it to see what was in the cellar that he could use to his advantage.

In a corner, he found a candle and a handmade fishing pole.  There weren't any hooks, and the line was just a piece of twine that crumbled under his touch.  Frowning, he turned to look at the rest of the cellar as the cell phone began to dim.  Swiping his finger across the screen, he noticed for the first time along the bottom of the phone which read "emergency calls only." Quickly tapping out 911 on the keypad, he listened to see if the call would be answered. Static, then a voice that was broken and indecipherable.

"Hello?!? Hello?!?! Can you hear me? I need help! I'm trapped!!"

The phone suddenly went black as the battery finally died. Angrily he threw it against the wall, hearing it smash and fall into pieces on the floor. He felt his way back to the stairs and trap door, beating and screaming until he slumped exhausted to the ground.

~*~

She had gotten into the shower as soon as she got home, turning the water as hot as she could stand it as if she could wash the despicable names he had called her off her skin. Seeing his brand new razor on the edge of the sink, she had used it to shave her legs and underarms, the second act of defiance she'd done in the last ten years.

Later, she had stood in front of the bathroom mirror, and wiped a circle in the steam to look at herself. He had always made her keep her hair long, even when the summer temperatures exceeded 100°.  It gave him something to grab and pull when he wanted to punish her.  Now she cut it off until it was just at her chin. She took his razor again and shaved uneven layers in her hair to give it texture.  It was her third act of defiance.

A week later, when no one had knocked on her door, she had filed a missing person report on him.  No, she didn't know where he could have gone.  He didn't have many friends. She thought he had gone on a business trip, but didn't know for sure since he seldom told her his plans.  Interviews with his clients confirmed that none had even known he was married.

A month later, when the police were still without any clues or anyone who had confessed to even missing him, she stood in front of his closet and took all of his tailor made white silk shirts off the hangers.  He spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on each shirt, yet couldn't spend $4 on a bar of soap or bottle of shampoo to wash his body or hair on a daily basis. He bathed or shaved only when it would financially benefit him ~ when he had a business meeting with one of his investors.  For them, he would look and smell his best, but for her, he wouldn't even brush his teeth.

She carefully slid a piece of cardboard covered in plastic wrap inside the first shirt and began to work.  Taking a lit candle, she dripped wax across the silk making flowers that would impress even Monet. Next, she took an eyedropper and carefully colored in her flowers using fabric dyes. As the silk dried, she began working on another shirt until there were thirty completed shirts, one for every season of flowers she could imagine. In the corner of each collar, she had carefully dipped a toothpick into the wax and signed them "DBH."

It was her fourth act of defiance.

After she had carefully ironed the wax out of the fabric, she had tried each of them on, some worn as dresses with a solid colored silk tie as a belt, others as shirts.  A few she had made with her sisters and old girlfriends in mind, and so she sat down to write them each a long overdue letter before wrapping their shirt in tissue paper and addressing the labels for the shipping envelopes. He had cut her off from everyone he knew within the first two years of their marriage.  Now it was time to reconnect.

It was her fifth act of defiance.

A year later, when she had forgotten what his voice sounded like, what he looked and smelled like; when the police had misplaced their few slips of paper notes about the man no one missed, she had stood in front of the small gallery with the "DBH Gallery Grand Opening" banner and smiled.  In the window, she saw her latest silk shirt creations, along with artwork some of her new friends had made for the occasion.

Defiance Becomes Her.

2 comments:

  1. Loud applause. I so wish that this was true for all the abused people in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. At first I felt sorry for him trapped in the cellar, but by the end I'm glad she was able to get away and start her new free life.

    ReplyDelete

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