Beauty and the Beast

One thing was for certain and one thing was claimed. The latter refers to his testimony on the 5th day of October, when he, in a room of his peers, stated, with all the conviction and all the glory bestowed by the lord almight, that he did not, willfully or unintentionally, lay a finger on her. The chamber was brought to a standstill, a solitary fly, green and black, is afloat, hovering six feet from the ground, its red eyes pointing skewed at her. Her image at that particular point was unimagined grief: the flowered hat, the chiffon dress, and the white pumps. And the drop that was frozen, three feet away from the tip of her shoe. Her hands carefully manicured dust, as her fingers gripped the wooden table: her left little finger though, fidgetted uncontrollably, as they always did, from the time it tried to catch the very first fork that was thrown. She had learned then and there that sports has never been her suit, leave catching and throwing to the men, leave cheering for her. Jeering, for instance, when she was backed up against the north-east corner of the kitchen, knees bent, hips planted directly, as words like “SLUT” and “WHORE” and “BITCH” became more and more meaningless each passing day. Not because the words started dying out, but because the words themselves tattooed on her skin, and as she spends the twelve and half personal time she has on the cracked bathroom mirror, she gazes at the words, at the letters that sometimes rearrange, all the while still staring at her, judging and reading. Those labels she’d hide when she’d, arm-in-arm with him, walk through society’s doors, gracefully kissing hands or saying ‘hi’, taking that wonderful photo, smiling beyond the smile: and, at home, the oil that explodes pop by pop from the pans or the grease as plates of barely-eaten 99.9999% gourmet meals are thrown to the floor, the 0.0001 the negligible paprica, and as she’d bend down, almost every night, to pick up the shattered fragments of the human soul, just as how she’d bend down, night after night, as he fucked her from behind, ending with the muffled bang of riddled ecstacy and death. Or perhaps that calloused after scene, when she’s staring at the ceiling, time frozen — or time extended? — just as she is now, pale, unimaginable, dead. He may not have hit her. But one thing was for certain. There was abuse: but no one would point that out. When time unfreezes, the judge will rule, the people will go home, she’d move to her mom, but he’d call her back saying he’s changed, she’ll want to believe him (she really won’t, but she gives people chances), and the cycle would repeat, slowly, slowly, after a day, a month, a year, and, really, it’s the waiting that’s the most difficult, because everyone knows, when it does, it’s going to be more horrible, a little bit more horrible, than it is now. And that, for the last few seconds as she heard his testimony, is what happened inside the head of this beautiful little girl whose life is never about to change.

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This is the 100 Songs Project, a 100-day writing challenge based on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs. Every day, I write a short poem, prose piece, or play based on, reacting to, rejecting, accepting, or doing something related to one of the songs in the top 100 list.

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