She sat outside on her parents back porch staring at the sun fading. Unable to grasp everything that was happening around her. Unable to understand how she had come to this place.
That morning she had gone to the shooting range with her dad. She sat in silence for hours watching him shoot and then taking her turn. The cold steel in her hands and the marker to aim for felt right somehow. She weighed the options and angles and had come up with an idea of how she would move on from there. She knew she had to go back to him. To her monster. It was the right thing to do, she thought. And since she had done the complete opposite of right, she felt like she had no choice but to do everything she could to make amends. She had no desire to ever see him again. But he was her husband. She had to go.
She watched the ants scurry back and forth. Wondered at how simple their little lives were. How easily destroyed should she just swipe a foot over them. She watched the birds chirp and peck and sing and ached to feel so carefree. She felt the sun shining down on her face and it felt so wrong. But she could do this. Fix this. She had always been able to fix anything. She would go home to him and make things right. She would find a new job. She would recover. It was going to be okay.
Sitting on her parents porch, watching the sun set, she rethought through the decisions of the day. She still felt destroyed and lost but at least she had a plan. As darkness settled in, she unwound herself from the blanket she was wrapped in and went inside. Not knowing that what little peace she had found was about to be obliterated.
A text. One text. From her best friend at work. It told her to check a blog by some man she had never heard of before. It said to look at a website she never dreamed would bear her name. She quickly typed the blog into her google search and there it was. A picture of herself. Carefree and happy and smiling. It was from a family vacation she had taken the previous summer. She was standing on a mountain overlook. A picture that was now tarnished. And then she started reading. The bile rising up her throat. The panic starting to take over. It didn’t matter that he spelled her name wrong or messed up fact after fact. It didn’t matter that half the story wasn’t true. This was out there. People were reading this.
She quickly switched over to another website and there it was. Charges. A warrant out for her arrest. Panic. Bile. Shaking.
Another text. While she had been building her blueprints for escape and rebuilding out on a porch in the middle of nowhere farmland, she had been splayed across the news as a predator. Two news stations aired her “facts”. One stating she had been handcuffed and escorted out of the school by police. False. The other stating she was sitting in the county jail. False.
Utter mortification came over her. How!? How could they just lie? How could they be so heartless? Didn’t they know she was human? Hurting? Lost? Scared? How could they take her picture and display it everywhere next to LIES!?!?! Without hesitation, she grabbed her phone and with tears streaming down her face, she deactivated every social media account she had. She may be up against the masses but she would be damned if they got to take any more of her life away from her. No more pictures. No more violations. And once she was done, as the phone slipped from her hand, she lost all control.
Hysteria. And fear. Her husband was going to find out and what would happen then? Someone had to tell him before he read it. She started screeching, her voice rising. Her mother running into the room. Others followed. She demanded help from her family to reach him and let him know what was happening. Her arms flailing and her face turning ashen. She felt sick that she wasn’t there to comfort him. She felt relief that she wouldn’t see his face. She felt fear for what he would do to her. Terror gripped her whole body. Complete hysteria.
The pills. They were shoved into her hands and she swallowed them dutifully. She curled up into a ball on the floor violently shaking and sobbing until they took effect. And then she slept.