The Exit

“My poor baby,” she whimpered as she cradled my cheeks in her hands. “He did this to you?”
I turned my head and pulled away.
“Come on Ma, it’s not like he hits me,” I said.
She looked at me with grave sorrow and said,
“I bet it hurts the same.”

I shielded my face from her view in a frail attempt to cover the purple bags under my eyes.
“Look at you. You don’t even look like you!” she cried out.
And sadly, she was right.
I was unusually pale; my hair was disheveled.
My outfit was unkempt.

“The moment you can no longer recognize yourself, you have to let him go.”
I said nothing.
“The moment you start to lose yourself, you have to let him go.”
I said nothing.

At some point, between exotic vacations and chucking cell phones across the room my dignity began to wander.
At some point, between the makeup sex and getting lost in my sleep I began to fall apart.
At some point, between determination and disconnect I began to walk away from planted feet.

I touched my face as I looked in the mirror.
My beauty had no sparkle or shine.
I sealed my eyelids shut to keep the tears from trickling down.
In that moment, I secluded myself from the world.

After opening my eyes, I retrieved my phone from my purse.
“I choose me,” is all that I said.
And for the first time ever, I didn’t bother to explain.

Poet: Stefanie Parrott

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