Tentative

Jacqueline stood. Waiting. The beep beep beeping of tills registered in her eardrums but didn’t settle into her consciousness. Her eyes followed the cashier’s hands. Instant oatmeal. Apples. Juice boxes. Pregnancy test just to confirm what she already knew. The woman in the bright green uniform glanced up to Jacqueline’s face only to avert her gaze. The florescent lighting must have exposed the purple bumps on her face and arms. Jacqueline hid her emotional bruises well. The physical ones? Clearly not so much.

The cashier looked at her with a tentative eye. “Is there anything else you need?”

Only the bravery to continue moving forward.

“No thank you.” Jacqueline picked up her bags and walked to her car. Behind her she heard the tell-tale whispers. Ones that said, “Why is she still with him?” Rebuttals of “Why won’t you help me?” haunted her synapses.

She placed her cell phone behind her rear passenger tire. Heat radiated up the asphalt but all Jacqueline felt was the steel ice of determination in her veins.

Slipping into the driver’s seat, she caressed her abdomen. Her plan, methodical and flawless. She would abandon the car at the train station. Board with the fake id that was promised would work. No one would ever dare leave marks on her body again.

She turned on her car and reversed over her phone. The tell-tale crunch would now be forever ingrained as the sound of freedom. The crunch of glass hitting her kitchen floor as her husband clutched his chest after one too many poisoned meals.

Freedom. To begin again with her new life.

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