STANDING ON KNIFE EDGE

Submitted for Contest #47 in response to: Suitcase in hand, you head to the station.... view prompt

6 comments

I watched this drama unfold,  I was totally unsure whether to encourage or discourage her actions.    It was like standing in the wings of the theater stage, watching the action, the scene nearing a climax, the performance so unlikely and so seriously filled with consequences!

After so many years under the thumb dear sister,  I see you now:

~~~~~

You stand there as if on knife edge,  it is really a serious place to be,  your whole life to this point, to this moment,  could be lost.  

On one side stability and family but that comes with being controlled by a rigid and emotionless man,  who just happens to be your husband and on the other side the desire to experience life,  firsthand, to go forward without restraints.  To use your own judgement, to follow your gut,  to trust your instincts.

You asked for a simple holiday on your own.   Of course on your own really means visiting friends without your warden who finds little joy in life.  You wish to be free to decide things without influence or wondering if someone else is happy or likes the food.   Is the room acceptable?  Is the temperature too cold or too hot?   Is the bathroom spotless?  On your own to muddle through,  an adventure!  A real adventure to love or hate or remember or regret!  You are bone weary of trying to please,  husband first,  and then the children and finally when you have no energy left, yourself.

You look so in distress, but that is understandable considering the personalities involved.   A person can’t acquiesce for decades and give  the appearance and impression of a spineless noodle and then wake one day with courage.  The effort to dig in, to hold fast so great it would be exhausting.  You have tried a few times before but the effort took the pleasure out of the event and left you with a more broken spirit.

So here you stand on knife edge, balancing, beginning to wobble, unsure and full of doubt.  Slight hurts, tiny cuts already beginning to seep into the fabric of your being.  You alone must decide and then of course, you must be aware that you could lose a lifetime of living as a family unit.  How will your children react,  you certainly will lose your husband, but your children?  They must have witnessed your broken spirited life over and over,  will they be proud of you or will they feel you have abandoned the family.  It is just a few weeks away, a holiday with friends, freedom so brief it is almost nonexistent.

How ridiculously simple,  you should never have asked permission, not in the beginning and not now,  asking his permission gives him the power to refuse!   You needed to make a statement,  an affirmation of intent,  a courtesy so he would be aware of your plans.  

You pace and worry, thinking about, no trying to visualize his reaction.  You see in your mind’s eye a train of many cars,  the first car setting its brakes and the following cars just pile up, buckling and jackknifing off the tracks, the wreckage of a lifetime of trying to show love by giving away your spirit.

You turn this way and that way,  the balance becomes harder and harder to maintain, the wobble increases until it almost becomes a rhythm.  Trying to visualize the life you will have if you stay home, to deny yourself this small pleasure, the scene that flashes before your eyes is one of profound sadness, gone the last shreds of self respect.   What kind of existence would that be?   An eternity of sadness,  whether real or imagined you will see pity in the eyes of your children.

Can it be worse if I go?   If I destroy this sham of a family?  Why will someone not help me?  He is their Father and they too have felt his disapproval over the years, they must feel just step back,  it will resolve itself!

Emotions make you so tired!  You are trying to please everyone but in your heart, you finally believe the time is right to please yourself.  Your decision will not adversely affect any of them except the anger your husband will demonstrate because he has been ignored,  at last!  His wishes were denied!  He will be livid!  

You sink to the floor,  your clothing billowing around you as though you have melted like a candle, losing a tall straight shape and becoming a shapeless mass.  You remain like this for long painful minutes.

~~~~~

I was so afraid it would end like this, dear sister,  I can not interfere, you must decide and live with the consequences.  

~~~~~

With your forehead on your knees and tears sliding slowly down your face your body gives a strong shiver,  almost strong enough to be a tremor.  Slowly you begin to straighten,  to recover from the look of a pile of rags to take the form of a woman again.  Your neck lifts your head, your shoulders straighten and you stand.  Yes you stand for a long time.  

Slowly you begin to move but the direction is not clear.  Your intent is unknown.  There is no wobble but your step still seems to lack direction,  is not quick and sure but you are moving,  somewhere in your mind,  the beginning of a decision.  

You wish there was more time,  you wish there was further discussion after kinder consideration but in your heart you know….it is time to step off the ledge and fly or find a dark shadowy place to let your spirit die.

You check your purse for the only necessary things you will really need,  phone, credit cards, cash, car keys, all the things you have accumulated just in case he said yes!   In the hall closet your small suitcase another just in case he ...well you get it.  Just in case!

You turn in a circle,  looking at your home,  it may be the last time you see it.  Is it worth it?  Is it really worth it?  

You stop then...rock solid STOP...stop being dramatic!  He will either forgive you or he won’t,  either way it is far better than you never forgiving yourself!

Gathering your courage, suitcase in hand you head for the station!

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6 comments

Ted Villamarzo
07:03 Jul 02, 2020

I like the way you described the point of decision as a knife's edge. The drama behind it. I look forward to seeing more of your work. You really are a prolific writer. Keep it up!

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P. Jean
12:07 Jul 02, 2020

Thank you for reading my story. Comments fuel my fire to continue!

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Rudy Uribe
23:17 Jul 01, 2020

Well done. You should continue writing. Your story was riveting. If I may offer one suggestion it's that the title appears grammatically incorrect. I've always heard it as "Knife's end." I may be incorrect in that assumption. But other than that little distraction the story was beautifully done. I'll look for future submissions.

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P. Jean
23:29 Jul 01, 2020

You have me smiling! Glad you liked it a bit. I am a woodcarver and spend much time keeping my knife edge very sharp. In my mind knife and blade are almost interchangeable but I will research this! Thank you for your time!

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P. Jean
23:48 Jul 01, 2020

in a difficult or worrying situation of which the result is very uncertain: At the moment the election seems balanced on a knife edge.Jun 3, 2020 https://dictionary.cambridge.org › k... KNIFE EDGE | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary

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P. Jean
14:48 Jun 29, 2020

Thank you to the few who read and liked. It lets me know someone is reading, I appreciate that!

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