What a beautiful night, she thought.
Wide blue eyes stared out of a small rectangular bathroom window at the stars in the sky. The breeze from outside brushed past her tan skin and fanned back her chestnut curls. Her eyes slowly shut, and the only thing that she heard was the susurrus of wind. She stood on her tiptoes, and peaked her head further out of the window to get a better look at the twinkling lights encompassing her. Each star had their own place to shine in the night’s sky. She sighed and reached her hands up to shut the rusted window. The light free feeling she had, dissipated, and her chest returned to feeling heavy with weight.
Hurry up, you’re gonna be late.
She took a flat eyeshadow brush and swept silver across her eyelid in delicate strokes. Then she leaned in closer to the mirror and made an “o” with her mouth while she applied a shiny, clear coat of lipgloss. She paused and stared at the dark blue eyes sparkling back at her. A soft smile grew across her face; for a split second she had a glimmer of excitement for New Year’s Eve, but it quickly disappeared.
You know you shouldn’t have put on makeup.
Her eyes stayed fixed on herself in the mirror, ignoring the voice that started to grow louder in her head. She twitched her mouth side to side and nervously brushed her hands down the sides of her black sequined dress decorated with silver stars.
You definitely know you shouldn’t be wearing that dress.
Her hand was reaching for the makeup remover wipes when she felt the familiar buzz in her pocket; she pulled it out to see “mama” written across the screen.
“Hey darlin’, it’s mama!”
As if you didn’t know who it was.
“I can’t talk for long. I am about to go out,” she said in a hushed voice.
“Oh yeah, it’s New Year’s Eve! Are you going out with Lucas?” her mom exclaimed.
“Yay! Everyone back home keeps asking me when y’all are gonna seal the deal. New year new you, right?” her mom asked a little too eagerly.
“Haha uh okay mama, I should get going now,” she said while nervously picking at a loose sequin on her dress.
“Alright, make sure you thank Lucas again for helping us out?”
“I will. Bye mama,” she said quickly.
“Drive safely swee-,” her mom tried to say before she hung up.
On her drive to the restaurant, she fumbled with the buttons on her car’s old radio trying to find some music to play through the one working speaker.
It’s okay. Dinner will be great, and you will have a great evening. Everything will just be great.
She continued to fumble with the knob on the radio.
Ugh there are no good songs.
The light suddenly switched to red and loud beeps rang through the air. She slammed on her breaks and let out a high pitch squeal of terror as she barely made it to a stop.
You are so dumb, you could have gotten yourself killed, or worse killed somebody else.
You are such a s***ty driver. Imagine if you’d crashed the car, you would’ve put your family in debt again.
A quiet ballroom song called “Love Under the Stars,” started to play. She drove the rest of the two blocks slowly with her two hands glued to the torn steering wheel, too afraid to mess with the radio again.
Before entering the Chinese restaurant, she inhaled deeply and zipped her coat up to her neck.
“Hey babe,” he said while planting a boozy kiss on her lips.
“Hi,” she said nervously, sliding into the seat across from him and placing the menu directly in front of her face.
Lucas slowly pulled the menu down with his chopsticks and c***ed his head to the side.
“Saaamm,” he said like a little child.
Why does he say your name like that?
“Oh Saamm, what are you hiding from me? You know I don’t like it when you hide stuff from me,” he said, starting to sound irritated.
“Oh uhh nothingg babe... should I get the dynamite chicken or spicy beef?” she said nervously.
“Haha you are most definitely getting the salad,” he retorted with a snort, looking her up and down.
“Okay, can I at least have some dressing?” she said with a hint of desperation.
“Mmmm I’ll think about it, but first you’re going to take off that nice coat I bought for you,” he said condescendingly.
A bead of sweat dripped down Sam’s face as she unzipped the coat. Her lips quivered as she noticed Lucas’s eyes twitch a few times, staring directly at the tiny v her dress made on her chest.
You knew he would react this way. You knew you shouldn’t have challenged him. It doesn’t matter if you liked the dress. You knew he would be angry with you for wearing something that wasn’t up to your neck.
Lucas banged his fists on the table causing her to wince, and whispered harshly,
“Well you may as well have just joined a brothel because your tits are hanging out- s***.”
Sam bit her lip to try and hold back the tears rising. Any bubbly feeling or confidence she had for the night vanished.
Don’t cry. Don’t you dare cry. It will make everything worse. Stop being such a baby he will say. Stop being such a pussy he will say. Stop being such a drama queen he will say.
She looked down toward his gold plated, diamond encrusted watch and fiddled with her thumbs as Lucas ordered for the both of them.
“Next time the waitress comes by, make sure to look alive,” he snapped.
She felt the lump rise in her throat, debating if she should respond or not.
Haha, you’re literally worthless. You can’t do anything and you know it. You better not disappoint your mama.
Say something back for once. You can’t let him treat you like this anymore. You are truly being a pussy right now. DO SOMETHING!
“I think I am going to use the bathroom,” she said anxiously.
“Only if you say please baby girl.”
She spat out the word, “Please!”
“Good girl. You can go now,” he said smugly while leaning back into the booth.
Sam sped walked to the back of the restaurant, and slipped out through the back exit.
The sharp inhale of the cold evening air relieved some of her strangling emotions. It was 11:30 pm as she clicked her black heels on the cement of the sidewalk. She stared up at the shimmering stars in the night sky, tuning out the surrounding shouts and laughter. Looking up, she felt free and relaxed for a moment. Tears poured down her face as she walked against the icy breeze feeling lost and confused once again.
He’s right you’re just a drama queen. Quit your crying, you’re ruining your makeup.
Her sniffles and whimpers didn’t stop though and neither did anyone else around her. She was surrounded by swarms of people, yet she was still alone underneath the stars. Her feet ached from her cheap black pumps, and she eventually plopped down with a thud on the sidewalk.
Just go back, you can’t make it very far without him. Look at you, you’re a mess.
People continued to walk past her as she shed tears and rubbed her swollen, red feet.
No one else is going to stop for you. You need him, you’re helpless without him.
Sam squinted to see the shiny Chinese restaurant back in the distance, vaguely making out his silhouette in the booth near the window. He was waiting for her to return to him like usual. Her legs began to tremble slightly and her teeth chattered as she made her trek back toward the restaurant.
That’s right, be a good girl for him. He’s already going to be angry with you.
She pulled out her phone from her pocket to see 20 missed calls and 15 text messages, all from him. She scrolled through the all caps texts before stopping on one text that said,
“WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? GET BACK TO THIS RESTAURANT NOW. YOU KNOW YOU NEED ME.”
Her throat clenched and her jaw tightened seeing these words. Her hands shook with fear and disgust. Sam took a sharp breath and threw her phone to the ground and stomped on it with her heel, screaming,
“NO! I DO NOT!”
She looked down at the shattered mess of glass and his jagged name on the screen. She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists.
You are done. You can help mama yourself. You’re better than this.
She continued to the restaurant for another block with a broken heel. She ignored the concerned side looks from drunk girls and continued walking.
Yeah, now people notice you.
Just before she reached the restaurant, she took a sharp left turn toward the parking deck where her car was parked. It was 11:50 pm.
Sam hopped inside her car and drove past the Chinese restaurant, flicking her finger and honking her horn right as she passed the side window.
S***. He probably saw your car. Nice going genius.
It was 11:56 pm, and she was driving down a few connecting side streets next to the restaurant since the main roads were blocked off with swarms of people and police cars. Another tear fell down her face as she drove slowly down the road.
I’m sorry mama, I know you wanted me to be with him. We made it on our own before. We can do it again.
The road was narrow and dark. Besides the small light at the end of the street, all around her was darkness. It consumed her. You could barely make out who she was. The stars and her headlights were the only things to light up the cement road in front of her.
Just pull over and take a breath. You have nowhere else to be.
Sam steered to the side of the street and parked. The corner of her eyes caught a glimpse of the glittery ginormous ball in the distance. She rolled down the window and squinted.
Ugh, I can’t see it.
She got out of the car to get a better look.
Sam didn’t turn around when she heard his familiar footsteps. Her neck twitched, and her arms stuck to her sides as he walked up beside her.
“I saw you drive off stupid. Soo what do you think you’re doing Saamm?” He asked mockingly.
Sam inhaled deeply before saying, “Lucas, I just don’t think this is working out anymore.”
“Shut up haha. Let’s just go back to my place,” he said casually.
“No, I’m going to go now,” she said firmly, still staring at the glittery ball in the distance.
“No, you’re not,” he said as he frantically moved in front of her.
“Oh, please Sam, you need me. Your family needs me!” He said cockily, waiting for her to apologize.
“My name is Samantha.” She said calmly while still staring at the ball in the distance.
It was 11:59 pm, and voices started shouting,
“Twenty, nineteen, eighteen…”
“Yeah okay, whatever Samantha. Do you want me to buy you a new purse? Is that what you want?”
Samantha started to walk back toward her car as Lucas dropped his jaw in disbelief.
“Get back here right now, b****,” he said, his voice growing louder.
“You’re nothing without me!” he screamed at the top of his lungs.
Samantha got in her car and started to drive off, still hearing Lucas’s exasperated voice shouting for her to return. She watched him grow smaller in the rearview mirror. He started to curse toward the stars above while everyone around her began to cheer with joy. His sharp, angry face turned ghostlike and blurry the further she drove away. Her tan shoulders lifted and a wide smile grew across her face. She rolled down the windows slightly and felt the cool breeze brush against her skin and whip her hair around.
“HAPPY NEW YEARS!” She could vaguely make out in the distance.
It was now 12:01 am, a new day, and she realized where she needed to go.
She turned on the radio and shakily laughed as she turned up the volume to the sweet, jazzy tune of “Love Under the Stars” as she continued to drive away from everyone and everything she knew. She was going to continue following the stars until she decided to stop.
“Thank you,” she whispered as she peaked her head out of the car window, staring at the only thing she knew and loved, which were the stars above.