Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Eye Contact

She had that look. I've seen it before-shoulders hunched, arms crossed over her chest with a plastic shopping basket hanging awkwardly off her elbow. She was scanning the pork counter for good deals, and I was stocking nearby. I tried not to pay attention, but some internal instinct drew me to her.

She reached a slender hand toward a thrifted package, and then the husband walked up behind her.

Another person might have believed he was loving and kind, but I could see the grip he had on the back of her neck- so casual, yet so firm. She cringed, not so much that it would be noticeable, but I noticed.

I've been there before. I've been the one under that icy grasp (not his, but someone like him). I know that feeling of helplessness and fear. I know that trick he's playing, making everything seem cozy and sweet.

I suppose I blend into the scenery at my meat counter. He didn't seem to notice me. Either I am invisible, or he is not threatened by the presence of a little girl like me. He was smiling, but his stinging words defied the expression on his face.

"You buy that fucking pork, and I will shove it down your throat whole, bone and all."

She gulped and withdrew her hand. He patted her back in that loving manner and stepped away, whistling.

I moved down the counter and locked eyes with her. A wordless exchange between us revealed a bond that neither of us wanted to claim, but couldn't deny. That kind of sisterhood is never welcome, but sometimes survival and sanity depend on it.  There are others like me. I am not alone.

She moved away from the counter with a silent nod, and I haven't seen her since.


  1. I wish her courage; the brave escape.

    1. I think she'll do it.

      I mean, I hope.

  2. One of them's going to make the news and the other's going to end up in a bag. I wonder who will play which roll.

    1. I'm playing out the drama in my head right now. Of course, in my version SHE "wins."

  3. Wow.

    You just have to pray that one day she'll find the strength to go...

  4. My "prison" was much more subtle. Words were the weapons that never left any marks. Forced to believe that I was not good enough, and privileged to be with him.


    In my version, she will *win* as well.