Stepping into the shower, Georgia pulled the curtain closed behind her. The space was small and dark and warm and the water ran through the long, brown curls on her head and down her face, hiding her tears. She reached for the soap and washed herself, scrubbing every inch with vigor while searching for new regrets. What would it be this time… a bruise, a tattoo, perhaps just a stamp on her hand from some random club in the city? She found nothing. But Georgia knew enough to know that finding nothing was no guarantee of innocence. She turned off the faucet and stood naked behind the curtain, letting the water drip from her body and bracing for the bright lights of the bathroom, not quite ready to confront the mirror. She shivered and reached for a towel, then, taking a deep breath, she stepped into the light. The tile was cold beneath her feet as she moved toward the sink, still not looking. As Georgia brushed her teeth she watched the water swirl around the basin, racing toward the drain, and for a brief moment she envied its escape. She spat and rinsed the minty foam from the corners of her mouth, then looked squarely into the mirror before her.
What aren’t you telling me, she wondered, both wanting answers and fearing them at the same time. As she peered at her reflection, she felt a rising struggle within her head as if guilt were battling with bravado and judgment and all were bursting at the seams to tell the tale. Georgia steadied herself against the vanity and bit down hard on her lip, attempting to maintain control. When they all spoke at once it was more than she could bear, and yet their silence was even more painful still. There were murmurs from within as they decided who would show herself and in the end it was Alice who won. As she surfaced, Georgia stood a little straighter and ran her hand over her hair.
“We really must do something about these curls,” she said, her voice thick with disdain.
“I don’t care about the curls. What happened last night?”
“Don’t care about the curls!? Georgia, really, you must take more pride in our appearance.” Alice was the vain one. There was Trudy, who was very young and easily intimidated by the others and Janet who tried her best to protect her. Janet would fight anyone who tried to harm them but had a kind and careful way that Georgia trusted and she hoped it had been Janet last night. But it wasn’t.
“What about last night?” she demanded again.
“All right, all right…so grumpy this morning. It was Lucy…typical Lucy. You really must speak to the little slut. She’ll ruin everything; she drinks way too much and her fondness for late night cheeseburgers is not helping our figure any. And speaking for the rest of us, we’re tired of being groped and molested by any fool who’ll buy her a drink and pay her a little attention. Honestly she needs to learn to keep her knees together.”
Georgia stopped listening as Alice droned on. It had been months since she had lost time, lost control…only once since she stopped taking the little while pills. She had just started to believe she might actually be able to hold it together on her own. Choking back tears, Georgia reached for the little orange bottle in the back of the medicine cabinet before the others realized what she wasn’t telling them…this was goodbye.
© Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2015.
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