404 words: Stones in the Road

IMG_2716.jpgHe hadn’t actually touched her, so it didn’t count. He was angry. He was drunk. He didn’t understand. Maybe she didn’t understand. Maybe this was her fault. The motorbike swerved off of the road. This must have been her fault.

The tires kicked up loose gravel. His words were cutting, but it was dirt that jumped up from the ground and stung her. He stuck his leg out suddenly, firmly planting it in the dust to prevent the bike from tipping over, capsizing into darkness. But she was already there, in the dark. It was where she lived these days. The sudden stop jolted her forwards and out of her thoughts. The touch of his skin against hers felt like hatred. She hated him. He was warm, seething and sweaty. She hoped he was ok.

Maybe it would be better if they crashed? Maybe she’d like it? Maybe if she was hurt, he would see that she was vulnerable, that she was hurting, that she couldn’t breath. Maybe her family could save her then. You can’t see emotional pain, but physical wounds are hard to hide from. Maybe blood and broken bones would be an opportunity for some semblance of solace, of reprieve, of life. Maybe that’s why people self harmed – perhaps it would feel good, perhaps it would feel better than this. This strange half life of high highs and the lowest of lows. She couldn’t voice her pain, so perhaps physical pain would articulate her silent screams. But maybe he was the one who was in pain. She didn’t understand. She had to try harder to understand. She wasn’t good enough, she could be better. You could always be better, couldn’t you?

She pushed herself away from him, balancing on the back of the motorbike as far away from his touch as possible. She didn’t want to be tainted by the drunken heat radiating from his body. They pulled up to the bungalows; eight small rooms that housed about twenty men, their families – and her. He left her there, alone, and joined his friends.

She got off the motorbike, sick with guilt for a crime that she was innocent of. She began her walk of shame to the room that impersonated as her home. She opened the door and lay down in the darkness, alone, again. It would be morning soon and light once more.

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