Ep.7 ‘New Year’s Eve’

31st December, 2019

I have the best friends.

Over the last few days, they have taken turns to accompany me.

When they first met me, I couldn’t compose myself. All I could do was cry. My world was falling apart, and they could do nothing else to help but just be around to keep my mind off things.

We went out to bars, sang karaoke for 3 hours in a row, they fed me with food and made sure I didn’t die of alcohol poisoning.

Today, we are all going out to celebrate NYE. But not before I have to meet Gideon for dinner.

We had already planned to have this dinner with our friends two weeks ago, and I asked if he was still okay to go for it. “Yeah, this will be the last dinner we have with them as a couple, so sure why not.”

Our friends have 3 beautiful daughters who each have their own personalities. The eldest one loves to dance and sing, the second one is the sassiest and the youngest is just full of pure joy and always loves eating. Just a few weeks ago, our two families had gone to KL together and spend a holiday together. The youngest one loved riding on Gideon’s shoulders and the second one would always run into our arms whenever we met.

Just before we went upstairs for dinner, Gideon and I met and sat down on a bench.

I see that he has cut his hair. He’s wearing a white t-shirt and his hat, and he places a box of cigarettes and a brand new wallet in front of him, between us. He wants me to notice the new wallet – probably a gift from Marianne.

“Just to be clear, us going to the US together is not a chance for us to work things out. We’re over. Things are over between you and me.” He said, without any sign of remorse for his actions at all.

“Okay, I hear you and really, I’m just going because I want to go to the Mexico. Plus, we need to bring our cats there together. If I don’t go, one of the cats will be left behind.”

I half-lie to him. In my heart, I knew that we were over. But I wanted to go to investigate.

The way that he was acting so casual about leaving our marriage was incredibly suspicious to me. Who was he? Who was this man I married? I didn’t tell him, but I went to the US so I could let him show me more of who he really is.

Throughout dinner, I couldn’t concentrate. I barely ate and of course my friend noticed that something was wrong.

I made some excuses to leave earlier, and later found out that Gideon spent NYE with Marianne and some of her friends. On her instagram, she also posted a photo of them in OUR house. In my marital home.

While I was away, he had brought her back to our house.

Later on, when I asked him if they had slept on our marital bed, he said, “No of course not, that would be disrespectful. We slept together on the couch.”

I had no words. I just stared blankly at him and asked myself over and over again, “How did you let yourself marry this man, Jane?”

Ep. 6 ‘My pain, Their pain’

28th December, 4am

I violently wake up from a nightmare and I recognize that I’m not in my own bed. I’m sleeping on my brother’s bed while he’s away at National service.

A deep gut-wrenching pain hits me and I clutch my chest with one hand while the other one supported my weak, hungover body as I push myself off the bed.

I open the door to my parents’ room and I crawl in between them.

Just like I did before when I was a child, whenever I had nightmares.

Wedged in between my parents, I feel my body convulse as I cried again. This time, I let it all out. I let myself sob as loudly as I could. My parents, abruptly awaken by my presence, quickly put their arms around me as they let me cry.

There, on my parents’ bed, my crying represented me begging for my parents to take my load off me. Even just for a second. I just needed them to hold me while I cried. I needed them to let me feel less alone – even just for a few minutes.

Before long, I fell asleep again, worn out from the crying. Later on, I would find out that my parents lay in the dark, their arms wrapped around me, their eyes locked on each others’ as they exchanged tormented glances.

I can only imagine the pain they were going through. After all, I was their “princess”. I was their daughter, their flesh and blood. My parents didn’t know how else to help – so they let me sleep. My mother soothed my crying as I feel deep into slumber, her hands coaxing over my forehead like you would for a baby.

I’m still angry, that I ever let my parents love a man like that.

Ep.5 ‘What happened?’

27th December 2019

I have to work today – my phone calendar reminds me.

I work part time as a bartender in Ah Sam’s Cold Drink Stall, a local speakeasy bar in Singapore. It was very confusing for most to know that I had quit a well-paying insurance job to work in a bar and earn $10 an hour. But I wanted to bartend simply because I loved bars and had always wanted to try bartending.

Usually, going to work would be really exciting for me. Every time I stood behind the bar, I felt happy. I loved making drinks for people. I loved having conversations with people I’d just met. I loved it when I made them something they found delicious. I even loved being on the floor – taking people’s orders and serving drinks to them.

It didn’t matter who walked through our doors, staff at Ah Sam’s always treated them equally.

We had many regular customers, most bankers and people who worked in the finance hub since our bar was in Boat Quay, a 10 minute walk from Singapore’s financial district.

Today however, our bar was packed with tourists as well. Christmas had just passed but New Year Eve’s was right around the corner.

I showed up to work looking the same as I normally did, but inside, I was completely broken.

“Hey Simon,” I say hi to our bar manager. “Hey Shu-Ann” I wave to our senior bartender.

“Hey Jane, how are you?”

“I’m good! You?”

“Good! Cool. Just wanted to ask you – when are you going to the US again? I’m just making the schedule for January. How long would you be gone again? Oh! If you’re going to Mexico as well, you have to – ”

Simon stops midway, and everyone in the bar turns to look at me.

I’ve completely sunk to the floor, hiding my face in my hands. I don’t have the energy to get up. The only 2 regular guests who are sitting at the bar set their drinks down and stare at me.

I feel the tears rolling down my cheeks. Hot. Hot and salty. I can’t stop them but I try really hard because this is not the time to break down. This is not the place.

“What happened, Jane???” Simon asks me. He’s lifting me up with his strong arms and together we walk to the back of the bar, tucked in a corner where I tell him briefly what had happened just 13 hours ago.

“Take your time to process things Jane, don’t worry about work today, I doubt it will be busy. I got you. ” I hear him say to me. I’m propped up on a bar stool, back against the wall, my eyes staring blankly in the distance. I look at the seats at the bar where Gideon and I sat on once, where I told him about my decision to leave my insurance job to find my passion in life. “Do it baby, Go for it!! I support you 100%” He had told me.

Yet, 13 hours ago, he blamed me for leaving my job. He blamed me for the failure of our marriage.

My heart can’t take this.

I grab my tote bag and I tell Simon ” I’m so sorry, ” and I bolt down the stairs. I stop when I reach the first floor and turn left – No, There are too many people, so I turn right and go down the alley. I usually hate walking through these alleys because there are always so many rats. But today, my pain is greater than my fear of rats. Today, I just need to walk it out.

So I walk. I walk and walk and walk.

I walk past OCBC building, along Chulia road, where I went to work for 3 years on the 37th floor. Where I took my first job after graduation and learnt that I’m good at sales – but that I wanted more in life.

I walk past UOB building, where at Si Chuan Dou Hua, the restaurant at the top of the bank, we held our Chinese wedding reception, one that his mother had requested for, but which I had to plan entirely on my own.

I walk and walk and walk until I reach the Supreme Court and I sit under the shade of a tree while I whip my phone out to text my friends.

“I need you girls. Gideon is leaving the marriage.” was all I could type before the waves of tears came crashing down on me again. These waves didn’t stop coming. Instead, they grew bigger and bigger, crashing louder and louder onto my chest.

I let myself cry, while tourists walk past me. It felt like the worst day of my life.

Little did I know that today would only be the start of a very very very long journey. A journey of finding truth instead of love.

Ep 4.1’I’m sorry daddy’

Gideon and I sit side by side. It’s 1.30pm and my mom had arranged for us to meet with a counsellor.

I can hardly remember what happened but I remember Gideon telling our counsellor that he was over the marriage. I remember him saying, “I don’t think I ever loved Jane”

My mind has refused to remember much of what went on in that session, but soon after, I find out that he’s planning on getting her an engagement ring. He has met this woman 3 weeks ago. And even before I have begun to even take my next breath above the water, he’s plunging me back down beneath the surface again.

He hears my scream underwater, and he knows that my air will run out soon, so he lets me come back up for air when he says, “I’m sorry, I’m still very confused with everything as well. Don’t take what I said to heart” He must have seen how devastated I looked and decided to throw me a treat, like you would a dog so as to get a little bit of attention.

My father arrives to the house to check up on me. It’s 5pm and he’s helping me take some stuff back to my parents’ place. I had decided to leave our marital home for a few days.

It’s too painful to be here. Just too painful.

I’m mindlessly throwing clothes and things together into 2 large suitcases when Peanut, my cat, decided to walk into the suitcase. He plops himself onto my things and I allow myself to get distracted for a while.

Gideon is in the house, putting some of his things together as well. “I’m going to be with her until our flight to the US” He had said to me. I nodded to acknowledge but in my mind, I thought “Why the fuck would you tell me that?”

In that exact moment, I hear someone crying, it’s coming from our study room. I rush over and open the door, only to find my Dad sitting on the floor. He’s clutching his knees to his chest and deeply crying. I don’t know what to do.

I had only seen my Dad cry this badly once. When his younger brother drowned in a boat accident, many years ago.

Now, because of me, my Dad is breaking down. Gideon has conveniently made himself scarce, while I sat there with my Dad and repeated to him, “Daddy, it’s okay. I’m going to be just fine Daddy, It’s okay.”

In that moment, I realized that this impending divorce wasn’t just hurting me. It was hurting my family. It was hurting the people I love the most and will fiercely protect no matter what.

I hated Gideon to the core, for what he did to us. I hated him.

Ep. 4 ‘Last breakfast’

My alarm rings and I wake up to turn it off. My phone tells me it’s 8am, I’ve slept for 3 hours but strangely, I don’t feel tired. I turn to my side and see Gideon there, fast asleep, facing me. His hand is close to my side of the bed and I imagine that we were holding hands while sleeping. For a moment, while I watch him sleep, I smile to myself.

Then, the memories all come crashing in again. Like lighting bolts, they flash through my mind, only staying for a split second before tearing apart again. I can’t seem to catch a hold of them but something tells me that these memories weren’t part of my dreams – they really happened.

I leave our bed and go outside to feed the cats. Surprisingly, neither Coco nor Peanut have woken up. By now, they would usually be mewing away, demanding for their breakfast.

After I put their food and water bowls down, I take stock of the living room. There are 4 glasses lying around, 3 on the coffee tables and 1 on the bar counter-top.

“It happened. It really happened.” I thought to myself.

My right hand was on my right hip and my left hand’s fingers were combing through my hair. This is the stance I get into whenever I’m thinking of what to do next.

What is there to do? I gather the glasses and take them to the kitchen. But before I turned the tap on, I closed the doors separating the living room and the kitchen, afraid to wake Gideon up.

I’m not hungry, but after I leave the dishes to dry, I open the fridge out of habit. The fridge has always been my favorite place in our house – after the bar of course. It’s where I get to keep ingredients, ingredients to make food for people I love.

By now, I’m not even thinking anymore, I let my hands and feet take me where ever they want. I’m only an observer.

I watch myself take tomatoes, mushrooms, half an onion, eggs and an overly ripe avocado and I immediately know what I’m making – our regular breakfast item. I started cutting up the tomatoes and onion, adding olive oil, salt, paper and then setting the pan on to fry the eggs. I like mine sunny side up while Gideon likes his scrambled.

Once the eggs were done, I sliced open the avocado, made tiny slits through the flesh and used a spoon to scoop the sliced up avocado out and onto the plate. I’m almost done, and I actually feel pretty happy. Preparing that breakfast was relaxing, it let me take my mind off things for just a bit.

As i take the 2 plates out to the coffee table, I hear the toasted bread ping! ready so I open the sliding door.

Just as I emerged into the “neutral zone”, Gideon opened the bedroom door and we catch each others’ eyes.

“Come, let’s eat.” I said.

He’s wearing his grey sleeveless shirt, the one we had bought together while shopping in Kuala Lumpur together.

I force that memory out of my mind, and pour us both cups of coffee.

As we sit on the living room floor, side by side, eating breakfast, I made a mental note to myself that this was the last time I would ever make breakfast for my husband.

This was the last time I would ever put my love into food for someone who has chosen not to love me back.

Ep. 3 “I will never lie again”

” pregnant”

The word rings loudly and echoes in my mind. Fuck I shouldn’t have drunk so much gin, I can’t concentrate now.

“Omg” was all I could utter.

We walk outside and I see my parents sitting across Gideon, him on the sofa and them on our 2 stools – the stools we bought so our friends could sit on when they come over for game nights. I’m glad my parents’ backs were facing the photographs above the television. This conversation was already going to hurt them enough.

” So what are you saying son?” My mother asks. Marianne and I have obviously interrupted an ongoing conversation. She takes a seat besides Gideon, while I sit on the floor next to my parents, in between all of them. My husband and his mistress on my left, Daddy and Mummy on my right.

“I’m saying that Jane left me with alot of financial responsibilities when she quit her job. I had to suffer and pay for many things in the house for the last 2 years. It’s been very taxing on me. Also, I never wanted to date anyone else, Jane was the one who suggested we take a break from the marriage and see other people”

I couldn’t look up at my mother. What was this emotion I was feeling? Embarrassment? Shame? Guilt? Anger? Maybe all rolled up in one like a bowl of fried rice?

“I didn’t know…..I didn’t know you were having so many difficulties. I’m sorry. I should have never quit my job. I thought that you were supportive of me. I didn’t know you were suffering. I’m so sorry.” I said, my voice breaking up.

“Why did you suggest to date other people, Jane? You can’t do this in a marriage.” My mother asks me.

“I…..I….I was desperate mum. I didn’t know what else to do. We… we were,” I can’t tell her the truth yet, I’m still too embarrassed to talk about, especially not when Marianne is in the room.

“Son, you know that with family around, everything can be solved, any argument, any fight can be resolved. Are you sure you want to leave Jane for this woman?” My Dad looks at Gideon right in eyes.

For this, I look up from my hands. I’d been digging my nails into my fingertips but for this, I look up at my husband. I want to see it. I want to see him say the words.

“Yes Dad. I’m leaving your daughter for Marianne.” His eyes don’t blink, and his shoulders are relaxed. His composure is so……………eerily calm, so unfamiliar. He doesn’t show a single strand of remorse at all.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this because I see only shock on my parents’ faces, my mum’s lips tightly shut while my dad’s mouth gaping slightly ajar. No one can process the amount of shock in this room.

I can’t take my eyes off Gideon, who doesn’t dare look at me. Instead, his firm gaze locked onto my dad’s is broken when we all hear a soft sob, someone crying.

It’s not me crying but Marianne. “I’m so sorry everyone…Gideon, are you sure about this? You have to reconsider. Marriage is sacred, it’s not a game. Are you sure you want me?”

“Yes, I’m very very sure. ” He replied.

“You told me that you would tell her, you told me that you would leave her. But yet I find out that you never told her about me. Are you going to keep lying to me?”

“No, I will never lie to you again, I’m sorry I didn’t tell her sooner, I will never lie to you again.”

I turn to my parents and I said, “I’m sorry daddy and mummy, I’m so sorry. But Gideon and I cannot stay together anymore, Marianne might be pregnant”

I hate that I dropped them another bombshell, but I couldn’t stand listening to their declarations of love to each other in my marital house, sitting on the sofa we bought together, sitting in the house we built together, breathing the same air as my parents who have only ever considered him as their son, never someone who would hurt their daughter this much.

“Just promise me, before you two decide on anything else, sleep on it. Don’t make anymore rash decisions. Okay?” my mother said, as she stood up, a clear sign of ‘Fuck this, i’ve had enough tonight, I’m going home to sleep.’

My parents leave and I realize I’ll be left alone with Gideon and Marianne so I tell him to take her home. He looks at me with pitiful eyes and before he can even say anything, I said, “It’s okay. Just go”

I pour myself another big girl glass of gin, tilt my head backwards and let all of the alcohol wash the pain down my throat. I let the gin swirl around with my pain, and feel it sit in my stomach. There, 18 months later, my pain still sits – like an unwanted guest that came in the middle of the night, robbing away all that I had in my life.

Ep2.1″You didn’t know? I might be pregnant”

Marianne arrives and Gideon goes down to meet her. I polish off the glass of scotch, by now already diluted with the ice that has melted.

Without thinking, I call my parents. “Mum, Dad, you have to come. Gideon has a mistress and she’s over at our house.” “We’re coming”

I sit on the sofa and my eyes dart up instinctively to the photographs above our television. Our pre-wedding photos. We had flown to Melbourne to take them, and in them we looked beautiful. The photographer definitely did a good job, because even looking at them now, I remember asking myself why I didn’t feel more happy than I thought I would be. I remember wondering, is this it? Is this what real love feels like?

When you have never seen a whale for yourself, it’s hard for anyone else to describe to you.

Now that I have, I know that what Gideon and I had was never love. It was two people full of hollow pits, wanting for someone else to fill them up with something, anything.

Reality interrupts my thoughts when I hear them speaking downstairs. We only live on the third floor and I go to our balcony where I see them smoking downstairs. They’re not touching each other, just sitting side by side, but I see her for the first time. She’s wearing an oversized white shirt and denim shorts, and she has a big tattoo on her thigh. She has long black hair and a rather big bust. She’s not as I imagined her to be. But then again, he never really had a type in terms of appearance.

Later on, I would realize that he did indeed have a type – the empath, the people pleaser, the type with insecurities that he would find out and later use to manipulate them.

He looks up in my direction and I quickly duck away.

Moments later, they enter the door and I greet her with an awkward hug. I was on autopilot. I didn’t know how else to greet my husband’s other woman. “Let’s have a drink shall we?” I suggested. After all, we did have a bar in the house, and boy did I need a drink or three.

He walks towards the bar and begins pouring the both of them scotch, the very same one that I just drank. Turning towards me, he asks, “And what would you like to drink?”

I couldn’t hold my words back. “Seriously? I’ve been with you for 3 years. You met her barely a month ago and you’re asking ME what I want to drink?”

“How would I know? You always change what you want to drink.”

I roll my eyes so hard I could feel them hit the roof of their sockets. “Gin please.” I said. Ain’t no way in hell am I drinking what they’re drinking.

My parents arrive, and they’re clearly confused with the situation.

Suddenly, I regret having called them. Instead of having a 5-way conversation, I take Marianne’s hand and lead her to the master bedroom, leaving Gideon with my parents.

In my master bedroom, we sit on the floor and I can already feel tipsy – must have downed that glass of gin too fast. We talk about things I don’t remember now, but I ask, “Have you two slept together?”

“Oh…..didn’t you know? Didn’t he tell you? I might be pregnant”

Ep. 2 “Give the phone to Gideon now”

26th December 2019

Gideon is asleep. I’ve always wondered how he could escape everything so easily. How does his mind let him sleep? Mine doesn’t at least.

I’m sitting on the sofa, nursing a glass of scotch with two ice cubes. Netflix is playing a show, but I’m not paying attention, it’s just noise in the background. I think about what Gideon said, and I check the date on my phone again. It’s the 26th of December, a little less than a week before we fly to the US.

The suspense is killing me. Just days ago, my husband told me he’s in love with another woman. But instead of making the decision and setting me free, he’s letting us hang in the air, as he has done so many times before.

It’s no different than the other times when we meet with problems. He informs me of his problems and waits for me to provide him a solution. It was like this when we were planning our wedding and he said he wanted a Bali wedding.  it was like this when he came home with credit card bills that had not been paid for a year. It is like this now when he’s torn between two women and can’t decide.

I couldn’t wait any longer, so I went into the room, unlocked his phone, and opened up Whatsapp.

There it was. The very first conversation. I open it up and I scroll all the way to the beginning. I start reading and reading and the initial flirting as strangers became evidence of them having slept together, it became painful to see him tell her “I love you”.

I feel my heart pounding and for a second glance at him to see if my heartbeat woke him up. They were deafening in my ears, and my entire face become hot. Yet, Gideon is sleeping soundly with his mouth open.

It’s past midnight but I don’t care. I dial the call button. With every ring, my anxiety intensifies. Finally, she picks up the call and I register noise in the background, she’s not asleep yet, that’s good.

“Hi Marianne, I’m Jane. Gideon’s wife.” Immediately, she says “Let me speak with Gideon.” “I just wanted to talk with you, do you have a minute?” I ask. “Yes, but give the phone to Gideon now.”

I don’t know why I obey, but I wake Gideon up and say “Marianne is asking for you” and hands him the phone. The look on his face changed. For a second, I saw his mask fall away. For just a second, I saw a tinge of who he really is. Of course, I didn’t recognize this back then. But just for a moment, I thought to myself, “Who is this man I’ve married?”

Pilot: “I’ll always love you”

23rd of December, 2019

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Gideon and I were walking along the same path that we always take in Pasir Ris Park.

We come to a bench and sit down and I feel what he’s not saying. There is a huge suspense of silence between us. And then I ask, “What’s wrong?”

“So…I met someone online. And I think I’m in love with her. I love you a lot a well, but I don’t think we are good for each other.”

“Is that your final decision?”

“I don’t know. I really don’t know. My mind is telling me one thing, and my heart another.”

“You know that no matter what happens, I’ll always be okay. So you don’t have to worry about me”

“I’ll always love you,” Gideon told her. “I know, me too.”

A work of fiction: Sleep Angie, sleep

It’s 7.48am and Angie is walking home from the hospital, where she works as a nurse. Today is the 8th day in a row that she’s been assigned the graveyard shift but she doesn’t mind it. It’s quieter and she likes watching her patients sleep and find rest, while she watches over them to take care of their every need.

As she walks, she holds her bag close to her and although it’s summer, she’s wearing a thick jacket and stockings. Inside, she wears a long sleeved black top underneath her tight-fitting uniform. Never again would she wear anything without sleeves. Never again would she allow her neckline to be exposed. She never knew this part of her body would be the thing that attracted him the very most.

Her palms are sweaty but she keeps her right hand in her sling bag, her fingers clutching tightly around the pocket knife. She can never be too careful. He might appear anytime, anywhere.

Walking along the street from the hospital to her home would take an hour, but she welcomes the exercise. It fact, the only time she’s able to find peace is when she’s walking.

Angie walks everywhere. She never takes the bus, the car, the plane, not even a bicycle.

If she cannot walk to where she’s going, she will not go.

As she’s about to cross the bridge where he first raped her, she mentally prepares for the nausea that always hits hard.

“Ready?” She asks Anni, one of her imaginary friends that Angie’s mind created in order to protect her. To no one else but her, Anni has been walking alongside Angie since the first incident.

They arrive at the start of the bridge, a bridge that Angie has taken countless of times since she was a child. It’s the bridge that separates town from her neighborhood. She crosses it everyday when she goes to work.

“Can we count backwards this time?” Anni says in her cheerful voice.

They count backwards from 318 as they walk across the bridge. Angie can feel her heart pounding. From her chest to her back, a sharp pain increases in intensity as she inches closer to the exact spot where he first defiled her. Where he first decided to ruin her life forever.

’56, 55, 54…….53′

At step 53, Angie looks at Anni, takes a quick breath and slowly lets it go as they pass 52, 51, 50, all the way to 1.

They made it again. And no one will ever know what a feat they’ve accomplished, just by being able to cross a site of trauma without going into complete panic.

No one will ever know what Angie carries with her. She can never tell anyone. She can never name her perpetrator. Because who would believe her?

He’s a respectable business man in town who owns 2 hotels, 3 restaurants and is the supplier for all of the medicine to the hospital she works in. Everyone in Berat (Albania) knows who he is. From the burek stall owner to the mayor, Miro is the local town hero.

She tried to make a police report against him, after he had raped her a second time – this time in the supply closet on the top floor. The police dismissed her and said that she was “the 5th girl who’s claimed to be raped” by him. “It’s just not possible, look at his hot wife, why would he want to even touch someone like you?”

The second time it happened, he had found out about her work schedule and attacked her while she was doing her rounds. With his strong hand clasping her mouth shut, she couldn’t scream. She couldn’t fight him. She was helpless against him – in all ways.

After Angie got home, her mother, Gloria, heard her opening the door softly, the hinges creaking because of the rust.

As Angie brought a cup of water to her mother’s bedside, Gloria grabbed her wrist and sat her down on the bed, next to her. Gloria is blind and her blindness heightens all her other senses. She could feel that something wasn’t right. She could feel her daughter’s agony, even though Angie hasn’t spoken a word.

“What happened, my love?” Gloria asks.

“Nothing mama, I’m just tired.” Angie’s been avoiding Gloria’s questions for a while now, 7 months and 2 days to be exact.

In silence they sit, Gloria holding Angie’s hands and putting them on her lap.

Gloria knew of course, that something had happened. Something had changed in Angie. This was her child. She would always know if something is wrong but she knew better than to push Angie to talk.

“Okay then, turn around sweetie. Let me brush your hair.”

Angie turned around, her back facing her mama, and let her close as she felt the brush comb through her long black hair. With every stroke, Angie feels her eyes getting heavier and heavier. She lets her head tilt up and down naturally as her mother combs through her hair. She knows that this is how her mother cares for her. And she lets her. Because it’s easier than telling her what happened.

Before long, her mother stops and Angie blinks open her eyes again, her face staring back at her in the mirror on the wall. The mirror that her mother used before her blindness set in.

Every time Angie looks at herself in the mirror, she doesn’t recognize the person staring back. Who is she? Where has the light in her eyes gone to? Where is the healthy glow that once used to radiate from her skin?

Before the self-interrogation continued in her mind, Angie stands up from the bed abruptly, and kisses her mother on the cheek.

As she lay on her bed, ready to go to sleep, the flashbacks begin. They go on for what seems like an endless of time but her fatigue takes over and plunges her into her dreams.

There, she’s free. There, she’s finally able to live a life she wants. In her dreams, there are no men. Only happy children singing and dancing. For the next precious 5 hours before she has to wake up for her day job as a waitress, Angie sleeps.

Sleep Angie, sleep.