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I Killed Her

No one stared as I cried during the ceremony. I tried to rise by body when the priest asked if anyone objected; if anyone had a reason my best friend and my brother should not get married. In the end, it was honor that tied my body to that seat, it was my family name that stuffed my mouth with cotton and it was my own disgrace in myself that sewed my hands to my lap. I cannot make up excuses to why I did, or did not do, what I did. As my mother pointed out to me, I had very few choices. Choice one, leave my families estate and never look back. Choice two, go on with life, cringe at the sight of the two together, but smile on the outside. Choice two would only leave me a prisoner of my own mind. Finally, choice three, be ostracized for the rest of my life and have my one and only brother loath me.
It was the night before the wedding when I ran down the hall to my brother’s bedroom. As if we were children again, I stopped in the kitchen and had a maid set up a platter of our favorite snacks. The light of the candle stood out so, amongst the darkness of the hallway. I was so extremely excited, for my two favorite people were actually in love and would be married the very next day. The floor boards under the large Persian rugs creaked as I slowed down at the door. I was expecting my brother to be asleep, knocked out and dreaming about his beautiful bride who lived right next door. But when I opened the door, abruptly for I was hoping to wake him, I saw something much different.
It was early morning when my mother came into my bedroom. I had cried enough, and was now pacing back and forth with a letter in hand. “Arabella!” she screamed at the sight of me, half dressed and a visionary mess. When I told her what I had seen, she sat me down as I describe the girl. I knew for a fact it was not my best friend, not my brother’s fiancé. This woman had long, think red hair that spilled over the bed sheets like an ocean of blood; my best friend was a blonde. It was then that my mother presented me with my three choices. It was then that she commanded me to wash up, make myself presentable and forget about what I had seen. On her way out, she expressed her disappointment in how easily I was willing to turn my back on family, on blood. The letter was burned in the fireplace of my bedroom.
It was as if my body was truly stuck to that chair. I felt paralyzed as everyone stood up to follow the new couple out of the church. When everyone had returned to our estate, I approached Lilyanne for the first time all day. I’m sure she was expecting a congratulations, a big embrace or some childish giggling, but that wasn’t what escaped my lips. “I’m leaving.” I muttered the words so cold they practically froze her face. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her and yet, I couldn’t go about life knowing the truth, seeing her face each and every day. It was a foolish thing to choose choice one. I was much too much of a coward to choose a side, and I paid for it.
It was impossible for me to live a decent life without my family’s wealth or name. Sure, people recognized it, but my mother had told everyone I was a disgrace, that I had run off to be a show girl. Ironically, I am a showgirl now- the only job I could land, the only way I could survive. It’s been years since that moonlight night and yet I cannot close my eyes without picturing the woman with my brother, without seeing my best friend’s blissfully ignorant grin on her wedding day. I am a prisoner, a prisoner of my own past, of my cowardly mind and of my mother. It was just last year that I heard of Lilyanne’s suicide, her body found hanging from the very tree we would tell stories under as children. She had left a letter with her mother which explained that my brother was seeing another woman and that she could not live with the shame. She mentioned the woman’s brilliant red hair in that very letter. My best friend had died, because of me. I killed her.



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