DOZ Issue 37 November 2018 - Page 18

By Jennifer Mobbs EMILY’S DECISION E mily felt pressed on every side, with a heavy heart she lifted her head and stared into the full-length mirror for the first time that she could remember. Starting with her feet her ankles and calves, the bruises, the scratches, she caught her breath holding her hands to her mouth; it made her heart feel tight. Her knees were bruised from repeated falls. They would probably never fade away. Her skin wasn’t as taut and smooth as it was when she was a younger woman. She raised her shirt and touched the bruises on her left side, three small purple and blue marks outlining her ribs. It hurt to breathe in deeply. She felt such shame. Her arms showed the same signs of bruises and cuts. Then she looked straight into the mirror at her face. Tired, small fine lines around her eyes, and dark circles underneath. She touched her skin. What she saw, could everyone else see it? The small downward lines around her mouth; the sadness she tried to hide with forced smiles. What would someone say if she told her story, would anyone care? Would anyone even listen? She wanted to close her eyes and run away, but she couldn’t. She just kept staring at her own face. The young woman she knew was gone and now left in her place was someone she didn’t know, someone she never thought she would become. So, what should she do now, keep quiet or speak? Pretend or live? She realized the choice was hers and hers alone but did she have the strength to make a choice? She closes her eyes remembering a happier time, a DOZ Magazine | November 2018 soft wind blowing through her hair and the warm sun filling her soul touching her skin. How did she come so far from that? Maybe how isn’t important, but what to do now. How to change her life now. She fell to her knees sobbing, each tear rolling down her face like a race to a finish line. She began to pray, something she hadn’t done for a long time. Finding the words between sobs wasn’t easy; all she could say was “Help.” “God.” “Help.” Just then the doorbell rang, she gathered herself together wiping away her tears. She straightened up and shifted her shirt as if that would disguise her anguish. She didn’t have time to change into long pants; she would just have to go to the door as she was. She grabbed the knob and began to turn it, taking in a deep breath to stabilize herself or so she thought. She opened the door with a half-smile; it was the neighbour two houses down, Mrs. Wicker. Actually most in the neighbourhood referred to her as “Old Mrs. Wicker.” She was a pleasant person always smiling, working in her garden, and raking leaves. She had lost her husband a few years back to cancer, they never had children, she was alone now, but it did not seem to change her, she carried on. Every now and then a niece from out of town would stop by, but she never stayed the night. Mrs. Wicker was alone, but she never seemed lonely. Why was she here, she had never stopped over before, was something wrong? Mrs. Wicker spoke first. 18