Mirror Image

Her favorite blanket tucked tightly beneath her chin, she laid quietly on the couch as everyone else went about their business. Bickering over who had control of the remote, her younger half-sisters sat on the floor in front of the tv. Her mom cleaned up from a dinner she hadn’t eaten.

More than anything, she wished she was invisible right now, and yet, she couldn’t make herself be alone with her thoughts. So, here she laid, watching the world go on around her.

No matter how hard she tried to divert her attention from the hurt, she could not. It bubbled beneath her skin. It pumped through her veins and sat behind her eyes threatening release. It sat like an anvil on her chest, making it impossible to breathe deeply. She was afraid if she tried, she might burst.

She didn’t know what to do. How to feel. How to move. Her feelings were so huge and twisted, it seemed as if she’d never escape them. She had no idea how to go about a day without the weight of it pulling every thought to the pit of her stomach. Into the darkness.

I wish I didn’t feel anything at all.

It was hurt, there was no doubt. She’d hurt him, and she felt terrible. Worse than terrible. But it was bigger than the immediate hurt, it was much deeper than that.

She’d done something really stupid, sleeping with that other guy, and the guilt had forced her to tell Doug the truth. Well, mostly. Shame had kept her from telling him the whole story. And fear.

She tried really hard not to think about the whole story, because when she did, the loathing was so intense she could taste it’s metallic tang and smell it’s charred blackness. The fear would burn and churn in her stomach until she could feel the sting of bile in the back of her throat. The worst part was, it wasn’t even the first time. She’d done it before and let the guilt liquefy her insides all this time.

I’m just like her

It was her biggest fear, her biggest hurdle. She could not let herself be just like her.

Her mom had been married 5 times already. They’d moved in and out, and in and out. All men who were not worthy of love, none of whom treated her mother with respect. Men who took. Who hurt. And it seemed as if her mother searched for carbon copies, over and over, leaving the good ones in her wake. She cheated on every one, and always seemed to be looking for a plan B. And it often felt like she and her sisters were just along for the ride, and it had no breaks.

How on earth will I ever be able to outrun that? Look what I’ve already done, and I’m only 17.

It took her by complete surprise when her mom knelt down next to the couch and stroked her hair. It was uncharacteristic; she was not cold, but she was also not a huggy-touchy type. Vulnerability wasn’t in her wheelhouse.

“Are you going to be okay,” her mom asked, making eye contact.

“I don’t want to end up like you,” she replied, through quivering lips and involuntary tears, but maintaining eye contact, the hurt vibrating softly with each word. She couldn’t believe she’d said it aloud, but it had been sitting right there, on the tip of her tongue, for so very long. And maybe, just maybe, her mom might understand. Maybe she could help. Maybe it would help.

But, no other words passed between them. No words were needed. Her mom’s eyes had replied.

Hiding tears of her own, her mom stood and walked away.

-image credit studiojoslizen, found via google images

 

23 thoughts on “Mirror Image

  1. Pingback: ‘Your experience? A billionth of my own’ | Ramisa the Authoress

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