Never Look Back

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Submitted by Abigail Tawiah (Junior Vocalist 2015)

The ceiling was all Leandra had been able to focus on for the last two minutes, which to her had seemed like an eternity. Her eyes had been tracing over the same stain that had grown so familiar to her in the three years she’d lived in this dilapidated, two-story townhome. Her attention wandered down, now, to her bare chocolate thighs that resembled the hide of a cow. She stared, not even fazed by all the patches of purple that covered them.

She slowly rose to her feet, not taking into account her body’s discomfort, and took four short strides over to her small bathroom. She stepped onto the cold tiles of the bathroom floor and flicked on the switch. Unable to look at herself, she focused on the bar of soap which was next to the faucet. The soap was once ivory, but had turned brown. She thought about the fact that the one thing that should keep you clean could get dirty, and she thought about her mother.

She lowered herself down to the floor and listened to the way her knees cracked in a way a fifteen-year old’s knees shouldn’t. Pressed up against the door, she reached for the very last drawer underneath the sink and rummaged through the countless packs of cotton. She had them for no specific purpose, but had used them earlier that week when she piled the cotton up to hide her one shot at the truth. Finally, a brown paper bag came into sight. She hesitantly picked it up and reached inside for the rectangular prism she’d sought earlier that week.

She turned the pink box over in her hands, stalling so she didn’t have to face what she already knew to be true. With a huge intake of air that made her nostrils flare, she flipped over the box and reads the self-explanatory directions on the front. “Two lines means yes, one line means no.” she said to herself shakily.

She slowly rose up from the bathroom floor that had grown uncomfortable in the last couple of moments and took a step toward the toilet. She impatiently tore open the box and reached inside for the small stick that reminded her of the markers she used to use to draw on the walls of her other house. She took the pink cap off of the stick and pulled down her pants and took a seat on the cold toilet seat. She reached her hand between her discolored thighs and put the stick where she was sure the urine would reach it. As she peed, she forced her eyes to the wall, gazing across the uniform surface until her eyes locked on a small collection of red dots that she recognized to be her blood from her last encounter with him. A few moments passed by before she allowed herself to look away.

She rose off of the toilet and pulled her pants up from her ankles, not even thinking about wiping. She carefully placed the stick on the side of her sink and turned on the faucet to rinse her hands. When she finished, she walked out of the bathroom and back over to her bed and sat down. For the next couple of minutes, she let the silence engulf her and focused on her breathing, trying to calm herself down.

Her attention was suddenly grabbed by the sound of the front door slamming and footsteps clonking up the stairs. She hurriedly scrambled off the bed and locked her bedroom door with trembling hands. She watched the golden knob as it jiggled, knowing the devil was on the other side of the door.

“Leandra, open this god-damn door I swear to god!”

“No, no, no, no.” She silently said to herself.

“This door is coming open one way or the other! You think you can lock doors in my house?”

She scrambled into the bathroom and hurriedly locked that door, knowing it’d be a matter of time before he found a way to break through the door.

The knocking turned into pounding matching the rate of her heart. She made several revolutions in the small bathroom before her eyes landed on the stick. She picked it up. Positive. The pounding stopped and suddenly she could hear his voice on the other side of her bathroom door.

“Bitch I swear to god when I get my hands on that pretty little throat of yours, you won’t know what’s coming.”

Leandra’s eyes landed on the small window close to the ceiling right above the shower. The bathroom door sounded as if it was about to come off its hinges.

A wave of courage swept over her and she lifted herself onto the ledge of the shower and began opening the window with the cork-like handle. She hiked one leg up into the rectangular opening and swung her other leg out so she was hanging on the stone ledge. She looked down at the ten foot drop and closed her eyes. “One, two, three, four…” When her legs landed on the grass she could hear the sound of her step-father swearing down at her from the bathroom window, but she was already running as fast as she could, never once looking back.


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