Trigger warning: domestic abuse
This was supposed to be the happiest day of my life; nevertheless, I can't even get myself to smile. I continuously ask myself if I am genuinely delighted with my life, is this how I want to live. Am I wasting it in fear and unhappiness? If my mother would see me now, would she think badly of me, or would she be happy for Michael and me? I can pull myself to standing, I always can, yet tears come in such generous streams. I failed myself, and her too. If I would have left sooner, this would maybe be different; perhaps I would still have her, my beautiful Lisa.
The first punch was unexpected and stiff. How quickly his love turned to hate as if you didn't even fight it, the disgusting aroma of liquor coming from his mouth. He has weaponed his emotional indifference, abusing rather than cherishing my loving emotions. It was jealousy; it has always been jealousy from the first punch to the one three hours ago. Sometimes he beats me. For instance, when he saw me talking to the postman, he accused me of flirting, called me a whore. Since then, I don't speak to men, but that has never bothered me much. My dear Michael became the devil himself to me, and I do not and will not forgive him. However, I am still marrying him tomorrow.
I'm stuck. I am not supposed to go anywhere; I honestly don't want to go anywhere or dare to. I don't choose what I do anymore, what I wear, or whom I talk too. However, I am getting used to it. I'm learning to obey. I once was bright, bubbly, and ambitious, even. I had dreams and wants. My smile would brighten up the whole room. Lisa always told me, yet, one day, I stopped. Smiles ceased to happen, or If they did, they looked so dead. There wasn't any shine In my eyes when I smiled. It was like a plastic doll, eyes In daze, distant. It was like I was somewhere else. My head, perhaps? Or maybe a whole different world.
Will I regret what I am about to do tomorrow? Marrying the man who has caused me the most pain in my life. I feel guilty for not wanting to marry him, guilty and angry. If he won't have come along, then Lisa and I would maybe still be friends. Sometimes I want to yell at him, but somehow, I have kept myself from getting angry at him for two years now.
"Penelope Lee," I whisper to myself, checking if it sounded right. I cringe; I cannot be with him for the rest of my life. I prefer my name now, Penelope White.
Though my eyes are open, I cannot think of why; my heart is pounding, mind empty. I do not want to do this. I know I have to escape, somehow. I need to find Lisa. I promptly stood up from the bed. Rush to the walk-in-closet and grab my over-sized woven coat and put it on over my nightgown and precede to go out of this cursed house, I open the door when I felt a cold hand grab my shoulder.
"Where do you think you are going, my dear Penelope?" Barks Michael
My heart drops.
"I.. I was going to meet my friend," I responded. I find it hard to look him in the eyes, so I choose to look at the floor.
It seems I have angered Michael. He comes closer to me and puts his finger in my face as if he is about to say something but then stops.
"What friend, dear?" He asks. I freeze, although he is a little nicer than usual, the only reason he is was that he probably remembered that he was going to marry me today.
I do not want to tell him her real name. "Lindsy, Michael, would you please let me go," I push his hand off my shoulder feeling uncomfortable, but soon realize that I should not have said that.
"Why have I never heard of Lindsy?" He asks.
"Because she is an old friend of mine," I replied quickly. "And I wanted to invite her to our wedding,"
Michael places both of his hands on my shoulders with a firm grip. "You were going to go meet some man, weren't you?" Hisses Michael.
"I was not going to go meet some man Michael," I say, looking him right in the eye. Even though I am showing confidence, I feel horrible. I have learned to hide it. It sometimes makes him stop; however, other times, it angers him even more. I decide to take the risk. I will get punished either way, but how cruel he is doing it on our wedding day.
"Honey, you are not going anywhere," says Michael.
I don't say anything. I slowly unzip my jacket and put it on the ground without breaking eye contact. I'm scared of him, horrified, actually. He usually gets his ways. He often still does things without my permission. Without my consent. Michael began his little speech about how I'm unfaithful, and after everything, he had done for me. It's bullshit; I don't listen, although I still repeatedly apologize.
I feel my silk wedding dress; I love the feeling of silk on my body. I love him. I love him, I think to myself. He said he would change, change for me. I think trying to convince myself that Michael is the man for me. My mind immediately shifts to Lisa, her brown hair that she usually kept in a messy bun, and her sparkling brown eyes, the paintings she painted, the portraits she painted of me. Once she painted me nude, I would never tell anybody ever. I don't know where the painting is now, but I don't care; I trust Lisa.
Hell, I know I can't do this, I know I don't want to live with him. I feel at risk and am horrified of him. I can't do this.
I look in the mirror one last time. I look beautiful, I think to myself, something he has not told me for months. A tear falls down my cheek; I didn't even notice that I was crying. I'm not alone in the room. Michael's dumb sister is here, Valerie Lee. I quickly wipe the tears before she notices that I am crying.
How can I get out of here? It is as if Michael put his sister here to watch that I do not escape. I never thought of it that way, escape. When was the last time he let me leave the house alone; I don't remember. How can I trick the bitch to let me out? I think, glancing at her while she is eating a strawberry donut.
I slowly walk up to Valerie, hesitant.
"Valerie, would you be so nice to cut the power cord for me?"
She finishes the bite she has in her mouth before talking, unlike her.
"Why?" Asks Valerie confused, taking another bite of her donut.
"I want to surprise your brother, you see, cause an outage and walk down the aisle with a candle, you see." I'm not good at lying, very bad actually.
"Oh..." She says, thinking.
"Your brother loves candles and the dark. He will love it,"
"Yeah, that's a great idea. I didn't know he loved candles so much," Gushes Valerie. Relieve hits me; feel like I've lost a couple of pounds.
"The more you know," I say and smile awkwardly. "Okay, Valerie, now we just need something sharp," I feel like I'm talking to a child, trying to convince it.
"Oh, I know," Says Valerie excited. She rushes to the door of the room. "I'll be right back, oh no. Um, come with me, let's find it together." She says while standing in the doorway with her hand on the doorknob. I like that idea, and then she's not going to snitch on me or say anything stupid that would get me caught.
"Great! I'll come with you," I say, I try to sound excited. However, I am shivering. I hope we don't run into Michael. "Valerie, where exactly are we going?" I ask, worried.
"There's a storage room next to us, maybe there's a toolbox there," Says Valerie as if she was the smartest girl in town.
"Why do you need a toolbox?" I ask and smile while I walk towards her, "I know you have a pocket knife on you, can't we use that?" I look her up and down.
"I can't cut electric wires with a pocket knife, Penelope. I would electrocute myself," Laughs Valerie. The bitch is at least that smart, I think, and turn around for a second to roll my eyes.
"Oh, of course not, how silly of me," I say half-laughing. "Let's go then," I add and signal for us to go out of the room.
Valarie found a pair of old cable cutters in the storage room. I find it funny that she always keeps an eye on me, how she is trying to befriend me to become a "spy" for Michael. It's weird how I thought he loved me, and I hoped I was happy. However, now I realize that I loved him neither. I have never loved him, merely been with him because I felt pressured and scared, and I regret it. Nevertheless, I cannot dwell on the past; I also have to think about the future and where I want to be.
"Valarie, we have to make a plan," I suggest and walk towards her.
"Okay, what's the plan then?" She asks.
"You somehow need to sneak past Michael and find the electric room," I don't know if that kind of room is called an electric room; yet, I know she understands me.
"How should I do that?" Asks Valarie while repeatedly tapping her foot on the ground.
"Try to sneak past them. I don't know, Valarie figure something out," I say aggressively and put my hand on my forehead. However, It looks like she took offense to that.
"I'm sorry, Valarie, I'm just nervous. This is a big day after all, but you have to hurry the wedding is about to begin," I say calmly. She looks more relaxed now.
"Okay, I will try my best,"
"Valarie, I don't want your best I want you to do it," I snap again. However, Valarie does not seem to get angered by it; she seems to understand.
"Of course," She goes up to me and gives me a hug, "Good luck," I lightly smile at her, a fake one.
She runs off like a little kid going on an adventure. How dumb is she for a thirty-four-year-old? I was always amazed every time I saw her. It was as if she was getting dumber and dumber by the day.
I patiently wait for the power to go off. It's dark outside, so, hopefully, there isn't going to be much natural light. I grab my woven coat and put it on. I lock the doors in the meantime so no one could come in. I think about meeting Lisa, seeing Lisa. I think I know the way to her house from here, I think so. My heart drops, the lights in my room went off. I hear screaming. I don't care. It's pitch black; however, I'm close to the door; I unlock it and run out of the dressing room. The screaming becomes louder, and I'm getting closer to the source. The only light you could see was a small illumination coming from the moon. I don't know where I am. I put my hand on the wall and trace it, trying to recognize where I was.
I bumped into a couple of people and panicked every time, thinking that It was Michael. I slowly walk, tracing the wall with my hand when I feel a hand grab my shoulder. I turned around. I don't see well; however, I could recognize that It was Michael.
"There you are, sweetheart," Whispers Michael to me. Without hesitation, I punch him as hard as I can in the nose and run away. He screams, and I hear him running after me. And somehow, for the first time, I'm not afraid, I am laughing while running away from the man who has caused me the most pain. I'm going to Lisa, and I'm going to tell her that I love her. I'm not afraid anymore; I am excited.
Hopeless World - To Lisa.
In a world
That is hopeless,
You give me
- Penelope White
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Beautiful story! Domestic violence is a very terrible thing. Your portrayal of Penelope's story is amazing. The writing feels so real. Is English your first language? I read from your bio that you were from Iceland. The grammar is a bit off in some places, you can use Grammarly for that. It should help. If you have something new at any time, I don't mind reading. Maybe I could help before the submission deadline. She's broken. her spirit is broken but she won't let him break her completely. It's a hopeful story. Leaving it on a cliffhang...
Thank you, it means a lot! English is not my first language, and I tend to have a couple of grammar errors. I do have Grammarly though (premium), but apparently, it doesn't correct all the mistakes. It would maybe be great if you could sometime read over my short story and give me some tips on possibly how to improve my grammar! Hope you're staying safe as well!
I'd love to give you tips and editing suggestions. Any time you have something new just let me know. And I am, thanks!
Where can I reach you? :)
You can just let me know on any one of my stories.
Beautifully written story. Penelope really captured my heart and i was immediately sucked into the story! I love the heart-warming poem at the end:)
Amazing💗 so talented and can't wait for more😍😍
Really captivating story. I like how you describe the situation Penelope is in. I like the ending, especially the poem!
I felt as if I was there! Sutch a good description of Penelope's situation and fear! I want more!.. what does Lisa say ? Does she love Penelope too?! It really took me in.
I was hooked from the moment I started reading. I really hope Penelope managed to get away from Michael.
Woa. This is a really nice story. I can truly feel Penelope's pain. :)
Wow! I loved reading this story; it was full of great descriptions and I loved the way you ended it. The words seemed to flow effortlessly together. Could you please come read some of my stories? Thanks :)
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Thank you so much. ❤️
Beautifull story. I would like to see this story in Icelandic to.