Warning: Hints as abuse. Read with caution.
Carefully, after taking a tiny sip of her orange juice, she placed her glass in the exact spot it was previously, at precisely five past twelve, five centimeters from her plate. She didn’t see it, but sensed Artur glancing at the glass, approving its position, and then returned to his paper.
God forbid his name would have such a simple spelling. No, it was Artur.
Milly hated him. She hated him, and she hated herself almost as much.
Him because… well… because he was Artur, a mean, condescending, controlling man.
Because of her weakness.
“You need me, Milly,” Artur said frequently. “You won’t make it without me.”
She believed him.
Why else was she still here?
Just look at her now, sitting at the breakfast table, patiently waiting until he finished his paper and maybe deeming her worthy of a conversation. Until then, she sat poised in her chair, waiting.
Waiting until he had time for her. Or dismissed her. He didn’t allow her to leave the table without his approval.
During the week and on Saturdays, it was different. Then she followed her own routine and relished in the fact he was otherwise occupied. Those days he got out of the house early, for work, or on Saturdays, for tennis.
On those days, she hated him just a bit less. Maybe it was those days that kept her going.
Stop it, Milly, an inner voice chastised her. How long are you going to lie to yourself?
Milly tried to ignore the voice.
Do you really believe you’re nothing without him? Why do you think he wanted you? Wanted to control you?
She picked up her glass and took another tiny sip, her little finger with the manicured pale pink nail pointing upward.
Why are you denying your own strength?
Milly shifted in her seat.
The voice was relentless.
His strength comes from the control you allow him to have. Keeping you weak builds him up.
Milly repeated the words in her mind, her lips moving slightly: His strength comes from the control you allow him to have.
Her heart had known this for a long time, but now for the first time the feeling translated to words and reached her brain.
One more time, she tasted each letter on the tip of her tongue.
Her name rang through the air like the crack of a whip.
In a daze, she looked up.
The newspaper lay to the left of his plate. She looked at it, knowing she should’ve been attentive to his needs. Done with his paper meant he wanted his second cup of coffee.
Milly looked back at Artur, and for the first time she really saw him: the man who preyed on her kindness. Anger shone in his eyes, but she now recognized the glimmer behind the anger: weakness.
Yes, the voice returned. All this time, he made you believe you are the weak one.
The whip of words cracked her back into the present.
She pushed her chair back, seeing the satisfaction in his eyes. The moment she turned her back to him, she knew that satisfaction would turn into confusion.
He caught up with her in the hallway when she slung her bag over one shoulder and grabbed her car keys from the key rack.
His voice quivered and reminded her of the moments he had promised never to hurt her again.
For a few seconds she stood still, her back turned to Artur.
Deeming him unworthy, she opened the front door without explanation, and walked out of the house for the last time, into the glorious sunshine blessing this seventh day of the week.
Milly breathed in deep, smelled the freedom as she descended the stairs to the street, crossed it, got into her car and drove away — no idea where she would go.
Finally, the voice said, a lot friendlier than before, you’ve found yourself again!
She smiled, energy pulsing through her body, and pushed the pedal down when she reached the open road.
I wrote the story above with this song in mind:
© Rebel’s Notes
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Wicked Wednesday stops at the end of the year. Currently, there’s a challenge to complete 25 prompts by 31 December. Following the clever example of others, here you see the prompts I have already completed. My goal is to write for every one of the Wicked Wednesday Bingo Prompts. Join in!
This story answers to the prompt: loving yourself
My stories for the prompts are:
- Harmony In Flowers (language of flowers)
- Listening To Her Inner Voice (intimacy and self-esteem)
- Annual Meeting On Summer Solstice (summer solstice)
- The Healing Power Of A Penis Masturbator (phases of life)
- To Love Is A Choice (to love is a choice)
- Live The Life You Want (scary stuff)
- Dinner With Caren (career success)
- Snippets of Kindness (magical power)
- The Future Express (morals)
- The African Sunrise & Heartbeat (music memoir)
- The Last Moments Of A Decaying Life (redemption)
- Therapy Needed; Camping It Is (addiction)
- The story above (loving yourself)