Other Worlds

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The magnolia trees surrounding Maggie’s third floor terrace violently blow in the harsh wind as the rain showers down, a classic blustery November afternoon. Inside, Maggie is sitting crouched down in the corner of her apartment, alone. A well-appointed apartment, it sports an 18th century rococo styled apartment, completed with works of art and elegant, ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing the architecture of the apartment. Her diary lies open on her mahogany bureau table. In her unique cursive scrawl can be read ‘’I had always loved the poetry on Sylvia Plath in secondary school, ironic really, I was always so happy during my teenage years and now my life mirrors hers in ways I could have never known…’’.
For Maggie to even contemplate escape would be a ludicrous notion. Even if she somehow broke free from him physically, surmounting the incredible memories of the mental torture he had inflicted on her would be impossible. There is more than one kind of prison. Her previous attempts had fallen through, they had earned her nothing but more of his unique brand of revenge. The shadowy images of him haunt her, haunt her now, as her quivering body crouches in the corner, unnerved and uneasy, like a trapped animal, she awaits his return.
Even the faintest noises provoke alarm within her, some sparrows land on the balustrade and Maggie’s Persian cat’s haunches quiver and he leaps off the petite Victorian mahogany chaise lounge causing Maggie to jump involuntarily, becoming alert. Now she is alert, everything begins to provoke alarm within her…the dripping tap in the bathroom, a vigorous drumming within her chest. The creaking of the radiator beside her. The irritating movement of the clocks hands, tick tick ticking, the maelstrom of thoughts, spirals of confusion in her perplexed mind. The fear of him coming back terrifies her beyond sanity. She is on edge constantly and cannot help but think of the cloud of physical pain she will be engulfed in before long. Gazing around the room and spots an errant spider’s web hanging off her carved rococo rosewood marble top centre parlour table that Harriet, her maid must have in her haste, missed. Her gaze settles on a fly caught in the web, she observes it all tangled up in the mess. It carries out futile attempts to escape its fate, yet it ends up entangling itself further, resulting in retreat and acceptance of fate. The unlikely analogy between the fly and herself causes her to wince.
She is surrounded by reminders of his callous treatment, catalysts to the intense fear deep within her. Across the room she catches a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror. The mirror, another victim of his fury, sports an artistic crack down the centre. Memories of Leaving Certificate poetry invade her mind as she is reminded of Sylvia Plath’s well-chosen words ‘’ I am silver and exact, I have no preconceptions, whatever I see I swallow immediately’’. Maggie barely recognises the corpse like, fragile figure that returns her gaze, anguish is evident in her glassy eye. Her ghostly pale skin stained by a tattoo of inky bruises which stretch the length of her frail arms and which form a torc like pattern on her long elegant neck. Maggie’s classically beautiful face, now blotchy and swollen, a faint echo of her once beautiful complexion, a fair , soft, complexion which glowed with a hint of pink. Her surgeon had corrected the bump in her nose a few years back, leaving her face flawlessly pretty, a blank canvas on which he painted. Now her tangled hair lies lankly falling over her blotchy, swollen face like a limp old curtain, unable to masquerade her troubled expression. The grim reality for Maggie is the realisation that that figure is her ‘’ I am silver and exact, I have no preconceptions, whatever I see I swallow immediately’’…Maggie is the dishevelled girl in the mirror, hers are the inky bruises and hers are the feeling of dread as she envisages the darkness, as her faint glimmer of hope dies and threatens to abandon her as the reality of her hell controls her ‘’day after day like a terrible fish’’.
Maggie’s eyes wander around the room until her attention focuses on a photo of her and Johnny at their graduation, young, healthy and most importantly, glowingly happy. She begins to reminisce, Johnny was a handsome go getter, smart, funny and devilishly good looking, and she, effortlessly pretty. They were young and in love, planning their future together, unaware of the fact that only eight years on Johnny’s business would run into negative equity and the bitterness of the world would suck him into a black hole of impending doom. ‘’Things were ready to happen, out of sight’’. Both their worlds came crumbling down in ways they could never have predicted.
Any minute now he will storm in erratically. He will enunciate her name. She will cower further and further into the corner although it offers her no refuge. She will feel his wrath, feel him expend every ounce of exasperation within him. His verbal assault will annihilate any trace of self-esteem, it will infest her brain. The relentless barrage will continue until she is surrounded by darkness, and her pain fades to comforting numbness.
The encroaching darkness outside of her window now signifies to her how soon he will be home. ‘’A mouth just bloodied. Little bloody skirts!’’. She focuses on the stars, they shine with such careless beauty against the contrasting backdrop, they dazzle her with their sense of freedom and promise. ‘’We are all of us in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars’’. She recalls receiving that quote once in a Birthday card. She desperately yearns for the freedom the stars have. If only she could escape the thorny habitat she lives in. She covets that other world, the parallel universe where she could be free and emancipated from her life. The thought of having a life with no worries, no pain and the security of a place where nobody could harm her, is utopia. She often things back to her life prior to her being in the spotlight, before the fame and the glamor and glitz. Life before her and Johnny’s fantasy world came crashing down around them. Life when she was just a small girl, from a small town, living in the comfort of her family home as an innocent child before the bitterness of the world took hold of her life and she could ‘’charm back the luxury of a child’s soul’’.
Maggie edges toward the recess in the 18th century reclaimed bookcase and her manicured hand finds the syringe and the small polythene bag that offers her a chance to at least for a while, dance among the stars.





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