My mom told me he’d kill me if I didn’t leave him. That was 3 years ago and the last time we spoke. She doesn’t understand. He loves me.
I press my fingertips against the black plastic to feel the cold glass of the window. I watch the street below through a small slit. My feet are freezing, tucked up in the moth-eaten blankets of this familiar room. My room. I listen for the lock on the door or footsteps in the hall. He doesn’t like it when I watch.
The woman in a white nightgown standing on the street looks a lot like me. I see the swollen belly and wonder when she is due. I smile. I touch the tender spot where our baby used to grow and wince at the deep sorrow. An empty womb. He blames me and I blame myself. I should have fallen differently or turned away as he struck. I can still see the staining on the carpet where I lost our baby that autumnal afternoon.
I remember standing where the woman in white stands now. I remember wanting to step in front of the cars.
A fly lands on my arm and I shake it away. There are always so many flies in this room. I hear a shuffle in the hallway and tense. I’ve been careful. I’ve been so quiet. I’ve been good. I hope he isn’t mad. I listen for the lock, but the hallway has fallen silent again.
There’s a girl on my bed. She looks just like me.
She’s pale and grey, and a length of rope hangs from her bruised neck. Her open eyes look through me. Her white nightgown twists around her, her arms outstretched toward me. I stand, my cold feet on the carpet and walk toward her, my nightgown swishing. I reach for her hand. Her wedding ring matches mine. I look at her brown hair and touch my own. Is she me?