Only the Wind | Teen Ink

Only the Wind

November 3, 2010
By writer-in-pearls GOLD, San Diego, California
writer-in-pearls GOLD, San Diego, California
10 articles 0 photos 42 comments

The gravel crunches beneath my feet and I almost twist my ankle. Four inch heels were not made for walking, but then, I didn’t plan this. I hear a branch snap behind me, and I whirl around. There is nothing there, it must have just been the wind. I keep walking, my pace increasing with my heartbeat. I’m being silly, he’s not following me. I don’t know where I’m going, so I just walk. I have my winter coat, I’m wearing it over a cocktail dress. I have a large purse, it was a Christmas gift from Henry. I have my wallet with my driver’s license. I have a credit card and my passport. I have twenty-seven dollars and forty-two cents. I don’t have a destination. I don’t have keys. I don’t have my wedding band on. I left it on his pillow, and now I feel naked. But I don’t have a choice anymore. I put my fingers to the bruise above my eyebrow, just to make sure that this is not a nightmare.
I hear my name and look behind me, it was just the wind. It’s almost light, the sun begins to break through the dark sky, rays of dark red and purple streak the sky. He’ll wake up soon. He’ll see the ring and know where to find me. I’ll accidentally find my way back into his arms. He’ll hold me, whispering apologies, promising never again. I’ll soften with his words, so desperate to believe. But I can’t. I keep walking. I don’t want to go where I’m headed, I don’t want to leave him. I can’t believe I’m still in love with him, I can’t imagine my life without him. I look down at my hands, a white streak where my wedding band was runs along my finger. On of the many tattoos he left, just to mark where he’d been. A scar runs along my left ribs, I laughed at a neighbor’s joke. Blue fingerprints run along my arm, I didn’t answer my phone. A thousand other little marks, many of which will fade, many of which will linger to remind me, to remind him, a warning. My marriage has not been perfect, my body has become a map of the many little fights and frustrations over the years. I realize that I’m crying, and I tell the tears to stop, but they keep running down my face, hot and angry.

A car pulls over, a woman gets out and asks if I’m okay. Her eyes go to the bruises on my face and arms, a telltale red handprint wraps around my neck.
“I’m fine, thank you.” I tell her. She looks concerned.
“Do you need a ride anywhere, ma’am?” She asks me. For a moment, I almost tell her that I need a place to go, that I’ll go anywhere. I smile,
“No, I’m really okay, thank you though.” She shakes her head and gets back in the car and drives away.
It’s morning now, and I realize that I’m hungry, so I stop at a tiny cafe and order a latte and a banana muffin. Now I have twenty-one dollars and thirty-one cents. I sit down, pulling the muffin into small pieces and placing them in my mouth. I haven’t had a muffin in over a year. We always had egg-white omelets. It doesn’t matter now. The waitress brings my coffee. My phone vibrates, and I answer it. It’s Henry.
“ Where are you?” he asks.
“I don’t know” I say.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. I just need some time.”
“ I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to.” I know he’s telling the truth. I know he didn’t mean to do it. I know he never did. He never meant to do it. He never means to do it.
“I know you didn’t mean to do it.”
“Please, I hate myself. I really do, I just need you.” His voice cracks. “God, I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I can’t come home yet.” I hear myself say.
“Can I at least see you?” It’s brighter outside, the quirky yellow clock on the wall reads 9:03. I tell him to call me tomorrow and hang up. I still don’t know where to go. I don’t have anywhere to go. Both my parents are dead. I don’t have any friends. I haven’t talked to my sister in over a year. I use one of the computers at the cafe, paying the 50 cents to use the internet. I look up hotels, if I use my credit card, his credit card, he’ll know where I am. I log off. I call my sister.
“Amy, it’s me.” I say.
“Yes.” I say. “I’m sorry I haven’t called.”
“It’s okay sweetie. I know you’ve been having trouble since the miscarriage.” I wince. She is trying to be sympathetic.
“That’s kinda why I called. I need a place to stay, and...” Amy interrupts.
“Of course. I’d come get you, but I have to take Lucy to her ballet class. I’ll have Nate come get you, where are you?” she asks. I look up at the sign.
“The Sunflower Cafe.” I say. It’s on 7342 Oak Street.
“Okay sweetie. Is everything okay with you and Henry?”
“Of course.” I lie, a reflex, before I realize that she’ll see the bruises. “I’ll tell you about it when I get there.” I finger the locket that hangs around my neck, the tiny picture frame hidden between my breasts. A tiny sonogram, I had the picture minimized to fit at a Kinkos. Henry had it made for me the day after we had the sonogram at the doctor’s office. I was four months pregnant, her name was Elizabeth. Beth.
“How was work, babe?” I asked him, kissing him on the back of the neck. He spun around.
“It was s***ty, Paige. Really f***ing s***ty.” He hissed. “I didn’t make partner -again.”
“I’m sorry. You deserved it, I know how hard you worked.” I squeezed his hand, trying to soothe him.
“I know that, Paige. But it doesn’t matter.”
“I have a surprise for you, though.” I looked up at him, hoping seeing the baby crib in the nursery would cheer him up. That thinking about our baby would make him forget to be angry. I led him upstairs. Her nursery was yellow, lace curtains framed the windows, and pictures of fairies, ballerinas and animals hung from the walls. The crib was white wood, handmade in Paris. It was delicate and perfect. Just like our baby would be.
“How much was it?” he demanded.
“Well, it was made in Paris, and I wanted it to be perfect, so...” He grabbed my arm.
“How. Much. Was. It.”
“It was $2000 dollars.” I whispered
“God D*** it!” He screamed, smashing the crib, “From f***ing Paris? How the f*** d’you expect me to pay for this? $2000 and you didn’t even think to ask?” The white crib lay shattered in the nursery. “I didn’t even want this f***ing baby!” He punched my stomach.
“Stop!” I shouted back, wrapping my arms around my abdomen. “You promised.” I whispered.
“It’s not even my f***ing baby. I don’t want the slimy little b****rd!” He shoved me, I fell down the stairs. When I stopped falling, I realized I was surrounded my blood, flowing freely. I felt a searing pain where Elizabeth had been. And then I knew. He was sobbing, crumpled on the floor beside me. ?“Jesus, Paige, what have I done?” I wanted to get up and leave him, right there, in that moment, in the pool of blood that had been our child. I wanted to hit him, to scream, to hurt him like he had hurt me, like he had hurt our baby, my baby.
But I couldn’t get up, so I let him wrap his arms around me, I let him hold me, whispering that he was sorry, that he hated himself. That he would get help. I let him carry me upstairs, ignoring the blood stain forming on the hardwood. I let him take off my blue dress and my black shoes. I let him place me in the bathtub, warm water washing away the blood. I let him run his fingers over all the bruises and cuts, the salt of his tears washing away his sin. And when he finished, I let him dry me off as I lay limp in his arms, and place me into bed, whispering his apologies. And I didn’t leave him.
“ Paige?” I hear my name, and this time it isn’t the wind. I turn around, expecting to see Amy’s husband.

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This article has 10 comments.

on Jan. 30 2012 at 11:22 pm
TheGirlWhoDancesWithSnowflakes SILVER, Sunnyvale, Texas
8 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another,
"What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
- C. S. Lewis

UUUGH!!! I hate Henry! You should continue this story and have Amy's husband see the bruises on Paige and then he punches the Hel.l out of Henry! >:/ Gosh, Henry is just that kind of character- you know, the douc.hebag character we secretly wanna punch in the face. -_- Punching a preggo- ARGGH! Now I'm too pis.sed off to sleep! This is a good story- good enough to make me ANGRY with that d bag Henry who goes around punching preggos in the stomach. -.-

on Apr. 21 2011 at 7:18 pm
TheScene SILVER, Brackenridge, Pennsylvania
9 articles 7 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"... And once you lose yourself, You have two choices: Find the person you used to be... or lose that person completly."~ Brooke Davis

"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it eludes you, but if you turn your attention to others things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder." ~ Thoreau

..."Just when the catipillar thought the world was over; it became a butterfly" ~ Anonymous

"Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius. & it's better to be absolutly ridiculous than absolutly stupid." ~ Marilyn Moroe

That was hauntingly beautiful! Great job!

on Feb. 23 2011 at 10:53 pm
Internal-Love PLATINUM, Queens, New York
33 articles 3 photos 310 comments

Favorite Quote:
Nothing's black or white, its all just a shade of gray---

TI "Live your Life" ft Rihanna

WOW this story sure had alot of meaning to it---------great work!! One minute your showering the scars of Paige and Henry's marriage--------and the next the story's bittersweet with salty tears, and washing away the blood and sweet whispers just around the corner. i think your story just made my day :)

on Dec. 30 2010 at 7:54 pm
writer-in-pearls GOLD, San Diego, California
10 articles 0 photos 42 comments
Thank you so much!!! You had a lot of really good ideas of changes that I will definitely make :)

on Dec. 4 2010 at 11:34 am

another note on sentence structure:

Mickey D is right. For sentence fluency, don't be afraid to combine sentences. Commas, dashes, and semicolons are your friends.

on Dec. 4 2010 at 11:32 am


I have my winter coat, I’m wearing it over a cocktail dress… not a nightmare.”


Ok so there’s parallel structure and then there’s monotonous repetition. You have the latter in this paragraph and if you make everything more fluent (I’d say don’t bother trying to make it parallel structure) You’re gold. In the next paragraph you use good parallel structure, which DEFF means you should get rid of the parallel structure in the previous paragraph. Since this is prose, you only want to use things like parallel structure once in a while, or very consistently. This is not a piece where you chose to be consistent, so have a variety and show off all the various things you can do.


All that said, make sure you don’t overdo the parallel structure. The whole paragraph is parallel structure… I think you should mix it up a little


Nice dialogue. Really well done there. From an analyst perspective, you kind of slightly exaggerated Henry a little bit (for a good reason) while making him also a natural-speaking person and nothing is too corny (yet xP) so that’s really good



“Yes.” I say. “I’m sorry I haven’t called.”
“It’s okay sweetie. I know you’ve been having trouble since the miscarriage.” I wince. She is trying to be sympathetic.


Try this:

“Yes. I’m sorry I haven’t called.”

“It’s okay, sweetie. I know you’ve been having trouble since the miscarrigage.” I wince—she’s trying to be sympathetic.


Which looks better? The second one is more fluent (and the comma before sweetie is grammatically correct I think)


Ok and as soon as he starts cussing… maybe you wanted to do this but basically you exaggerated Henry like crazy here, and maybe I don’t like it because I’m a man and I don’t usually like feminist literature that seems to say that there are lots of men out there like Henry (a personal taste and nothing for you to worry about)


BUT  here’s the thing. I think he hates the baby too much. I don’t think most men would be so harsh on the baby. It’s possible, but calling it a slimy bast is.. well I’m not sure if anyone would really say that you know? He’d just say “I never wanted it” unless he’s like a sociopath or something because most human beings censor themselves and have some decency when it comes to babies—maybe henry doesn’t and that’s your choice, it’s just something to consider.


I also think that the curses seem to just kind of be thrown in there for the sole purpose of characterizing Henry. If that’s the case, do what you want with it, but I might be overanalyzing and if you want him to be realistic, don’t make him the only one to curse. I know he’s expressing anger and he’s abusive, but pay attention to how real people talk. Your protagonist would curse too (she’s with him after all so she’s no angel who smartly selects angels, know what I mean?) and so would her friends.

So for the entire story, decide whether it’s symbolic and meaningful (like Story of an Hour) or if it’s just a fun Lifetime chick lit thing. Yes it can be both, and that’s harder to do, but if it is both (and I think yours can easily be both) that makes it better in my opinion. It’s also harder to make it both, but maybe it’s worth it. Either way, you want consistency. It has to be one or the other, or a good blend. Your story seems to be a blend but I think it could be better. Don’t get me wrong, this is very good, but since I’m a perfectionist I’m going to tell you that you could do better with it no matter what direction you choose.


For literary significance: keep exaggerating your characters, throw in some symbols, etc. (make it deep)

For lifetime drama: Exaggerate your characters less, add some humor, make your protagonist’s voice more witty (focus on making it exciting and realistic)

For both: Exaggerate your characters slightly less, develop your protagonist more and make her witty, really hone in on how men speak and act, characterize and develop Amy more (I LOVED THE TWIST AT THE END and keep working on this because it’s good right now, you can make it phenomenal ;)

Esperanza GOLD said...
on Nov. 29 2010 at 5:04 pm
Esperanza GOLD, Twinsburg, Ohio
15 articles 0 photos 106 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't tell me 'sky's the limit' when there are footprints on the moon."

just be a little more descriptive otherwise it's perfect

on Nov. 22 2010 at 4:46 pm
writer-in-pearls GOLD, San Diego, California
10 articles 0 photos 42 comments
thanks for the feedback! I see your point about the sentence structure, but I was trying to convey her distraught mindset. I actually didn't censor it, teenink did so automatically :)

on Nov. 22 2010 at 4:35 pm
Miss.Chase BRONZE, Anaheim, California
4 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Greatness Isn't Given Its Earned"

Wow this is really good, I love the story of it even though its not a happy subject it still deserves to be told. I love it, I hope Henry doesn't hurt her again. All I can say is just a little more description in some places but other then that it was great :)

Mickey_D GOLD said...
on Nov. 22 2010 at 4:32 pm
Mickey_D GOLD, Santa Cruz, California
11 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you don't believe in that subconscious self as a writer, then you shouldn't be doing it. ~Ray Bradbury

I thought this was a really good story, the words, events, and characters kept it fueled and going, and the story concluded well that leaves the reader thinking.

My only concern was sentence structure, especially near the beginning, where you had "I have. I have. I have. I don't have. I don't have." However, I can see this working, but there were just so many simple sentences. I'd add a few more complex sentences, with more detail, to loosen the tone of the multiple simple sentences.

So besides the sentences, it was really good. The censorship (I guess) is necessary to be allowed on TeenInk, but if published anywhere else, I wouldn't censor.

Really great job! Please continue writing!

Good luck and God bless!