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I wonder about her story, the girl behind the closed door. She says nothing for minutes after the lock latches and soles heel-toe down the hall because there’s nothing to say. There are only those first seconds after he leaves to let the silence keep on repeating the stale lies that she should leave, pack her luggage tonight, that dissonance seeds decay.

I wonder if, when the door closes, loneliness descends. If she stands alone in a space too tall and wide, suffocating tonight. Smashed inside her chest cavity, her heart is crushed under the weight of no sound. It becomes hard to breath. Through clenched teeth and tongue, the air whistles as she draws deeper breaths, craving oxygen so her lungs can fill, and her shoulders heave. It’s no use. Tears fall freely, trails of mucus, too. She breaks the silence in colors and cries, stained glass shattered beneath her bare tender feet.

An hour in the mind passes, three minutes on the clock. A victim of convulsions that tremor in the ends of the fingertips, pushing her stomach into feigned pregnancy in periodic dry heaves. She calms herself with self-help techniques from potpourri time in therapy, talks herself into relaxation that is like sleep but consciously.

If she stays, what makes it okay? She’ll wash her face, a cold rag on thin eyes. Take her made-up face into the world where no ones knows her name. Play-act and pretend in a place where she feels safe.  Until she returns or he leaves and she’s left again with this impossible voicelessness.

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