- Don’t go out. Stay in and watch the drops tap against your bedroom window. Or
- Clean the house. Dust the shelves that hold your miniature ceramic angels, vacuum the rug that clings onto bits of popcorn and stray toenail clippings, scrub the bathroom walls for the sixth time this week because you don’t know how else to shut off your thoughts of running out into the rain. Or
- Watch some TV. Scroll through the endless sea of networks and films and series. Read the description of every rom-com on the list and wonder what the hell went wrong. Finally, make a selection, only to be disappointed by its end. Or
- Cook a meal. Prepare a roast that falls apart and melts when it lands on your tongue. Crack open some eggs and scramble them amongst peppers and potatoes and parmesan. Boil some water for his favorite pasta dish and watch as droplets of water cling to the sides of the pot, just as they do on the bedroom window that you should have climbed out of earlier, but now it’s too late. Or
- Call a friend. You told yourself not to, but now you don’t know what to do. You’re advised to create a list of choices you’re willing to make. Hang up because you’ve been on the phone for too long, and surely he’ll find out. Or
- Sit and cry. Run a bath and sob on the floor beside it. Scream at the pristine walls and pray that the sound of the running water drowns out the sound. Don’t get up until you feel the fabric of your vocal cords rip apart and bleed. Or
Call the police. Or
- Collect your things from the pile you placed beside the back door the night before—but only the things that are most important—your cell phone (don’t forget to disable the tracking feature), a few outfits crammed into a backpack (wrinkles don’t matter anymore), and some granola (to quiet your begging stomach), and leave just enough behind so he won’t immediately know you’re gone. Open the door and step out into the rain, and don’t stop walking for 14.7 miles. Or
- Hope that the sun shines tomorrow. Or
Oh, My Word! Let Jacob know what you thought of this piece in the comments, and feel free to elaborate on any interpretations of the structure, or writing in general, that you have!
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managing editor at patchworklitmag.com
I liked this piece. When I read the title, I thought it was going to be lighthearted. As I read each option, I felt the panic of the subject. I could feel the abuse and the fear. The feelings came through with each action listed. I did wonder about the significance of the 14.7 miles in item #8. The list doesn’t confirm if the subject gets away from her abuser. I want to believe that she takes that first step to get away, but reality is not always so hopeful. A good writing.
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