March 5, 2012
As she peeled the wet clothes from her skin, she kept her back turned toward the mirror so she wouldn’t see the image of a stranger; so she wouldn’t see the scratches running up her legs, to the bruises around her thighs, to the hives on her buttocks, to the bite marks on her shoulders, to her lip that had been split open, and to the giant welt that had formed on the left side of her forehead. She couldn’t face herself. She couldn’t face this brutal and disgusting reality. As she pulled her blouse from over her head she felt the warmest sensation trickle down her spine. She ran her hands over her head and through her hair. She pulled her hands away, quickly. It was blood. Blood?... But, how, when? She couldn’t remember. In an instant she turned around and faced the mirror. Horror filled her eyes and spilled over onto her cheeks and ran down into the crevices of her split lip, and it burned. Her whole body burned. His sweat and her tears were the gasoline. Now, all someone had to do was light the match and flick it her way. She hurried to the shower, as an attempt to wash herself clean, and turned on the faucet as cold as it could get. She scrubbed and scrubbed until her skin turned red all over. She scrubbed, trying to rid her body of that horrible gasoline, the oil, the smut. But she still burned. She burned inside and when she realized she couldn’t quite get to the blazing furnace inside herself, she spilled over onto the shower floor. More and more gasoline spilled from her eyes. The crimson water swirled down the shower drain and she cried and cried and cried until she became numb all over and her eyes were half swollen shut. How could she soothe this burning? How could she stop it? She glanced up at the soap dish, where she kept her body wash, shaving cream and razors. The razor. She struggled to get up from the shower floor. Her body had become stiff, for she had been sitting there on the shower floor for over an hour. She managed to crawl to the dish and reach her hand inside to pull out the pink shaving razor. Her favorite one. She remembered how it removed all of the hair from her legs and left them soft and smooth and sexy. She examined the razor closely to see exactly how she would angle it so that it cut just right. She squeezed her eyes shut and pressed the razor against her skin. She swallowed hard as she felt the coldness of the razor on her throat. She began to have flashbacks of all the moments they’d shared together. The first time she met him. She was strolling through the park on her way home from the supermarket. He was the perfect Renaissance Man, kind and gentle. Nothing but charming compliments and modest remarks. He’d helped her carry her groceries all the way to her apartment. She remembered how he’d magically appeared at her doorstep each morning after that to be her chauffeur to work. How he’d open her door and playfully call her “madam”; “where to, madam?” he would say. Their first date flashed quickly in her mind. The romantic candlelight dinner by the bay. Violins and soft whispers of the water beside them danced in the air and made her feel warm inside. The way they talked for hours on end. At the end of their time together, he leaned for a kiss and tried to linger longer, trying to get a more passionate, sensual kiss that would elevate them to the next level. However, she quickly withdrew. He seemed so understanding when she told him she wasn’t ready to advance. They made plans for their next date, this time, he wanted to be romanced with a candlelight dinner. They agreed and bid their goodnights. She remembered peering through the curtains of her bedroom windows, watching him walk towards the door for the second date. She was extremely nervous. It had been a while since she’d been in a relationship and she wasn’t quite sure if she was ready again. She welcomed him in and she made her way to the kitchen to begin preparing the plates for dinner. When she turned to leave the kitchen, there he was, standing bare naked and glaring at her like a hunter its prey. The plates of food crashed to the floor. He pounced on top of her and they tumbled to the floor. The more she tried to loose herself, the tighter his grip became; the heavier he felt upon her. Soon, she gave up fighting. She lay there stiff as a plank and counted the minutes until it was over. She trusted him. Never in a million years could anyone have told her it would be her friend; it would be someone she trusted and invited into her space. She thought it would be a stranger and she did everything she could to prevent that stranger from defeating her. But, that stranger never came…

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