She noticed that she had a run in her stockings, and that was it. She had pretty much held it together until that point. The run, however, was her complete undoing.
She was sitting on the edge of a sidewalk on a side street in the dawning light of morning, shoes in hand, her teal blue dress muddied and looking far more worn than when she’d slipped it on the day before when she noticed the run and burst into tears. Heavy, racking sobs shook her body, snot spilled from her nose, her already ruined makeup ran further into every nook and cranny of her face rolling with the tears over her jaw line and down her neck leaving her pale skin looking like a depressed shade of zebra. If there was an entry on Urban Dictionary for “ugly cry,” there would be a gif of this moment, of her.
The thought of it made her laugh through the tears, but it was a sort of near-hysterical bark of a laugh that seemed to be both a release and a cause for concern all at once. It was enough to snap her out of the sobbing, though, and finally get her moving. She managed to get to her feet without much incident and decided then and there to rip the stockings off. There was no need to carry more evidence of this night with her the rest of the way home. She’d carry the scars with her long enough as it was. If she was a betting person, she’d bet those scars would last the rest of her lifetime however long it may be. If she lived to be 300, this night would never leave her. The wounds would never fully heal in a way that rendered them invisible to anyone who cared to know her well enough to see their lasting impressions, and she’d be picking at the scabs for a long time to come.
She left the ruined stockings on the sidewalk where she’d precariously balanced on one foot then the other to take them off. This street was already so littered with refuse that an added piece of undergarments really wouldn’t make much of a difference. She was tempted to put the shoes, her precious black Betsey Johnson pumps, back on, but with the blisters she’d already formed and ruptured from all the running she did, risking tetanus on the debris-strewn concrete was actually preferable at this point that putting those fucking things back on.
This is what you get for wearing heels, she said to herself.
Don’t start that blame talk bullshit, she thought right afterwards.
And then, I’m never going to be able to wear these fuckers again.
The crying started again. “My favorite shoes!” she wailed to the dying night with tears spilling down her cheeks once more. But she trudged on. No stopping this time. She tried pushing every thought that attempted to race across her mind like zigzagging wasps stinging and darting and stinging again back to the dark recesses from which they waited. For awhile that seemed effortless as she dodged broken glass and dirty needles focusing more on keeping her feet somewhat intact…more than she could stay for emotional stability at this point. But the further away she got from downtown, the less there was to dodge and those thoughts would sneak past all her defenses, stingers ready, poised, and menacing.
Why did I agree to this stupid date?
Why didn’t I listen to my instincts?
I shouldn’t have had that last drink.
I knew better than to stay after he tried to kiss me.
What am I going to do about it?
What if he calls? Why am I so fucking stupid? What if he has something?
And before long, all those thoughts ran together in a whirlwind of blackness that left her reeling and paralyzed on the sidewalk in the full light of morning facing the onslaught of onlookers on their way to work.
It took her hours to reach her apartment that morning, her feet sore from running. Her mind ragged and swollen from every dagger-like thought. Every muscle ached. She almost felt like she was outside her body looking down at an unrecognizable apparition of her former self. She turned the key in the door hoping that when she crossed the threshold into her own space that she would feel something besides the numbness and the buzzing panic that rippled below it. She hoped that when she turned around and locked the door behind her she would feel less vulnerable. That maybe, just maybe, she would feel safe.
With the door locked, she pressed her back against it and slid down into a crumpled pile onto her own floor with the realization that nothing changed when she closed the door to the outside world and like that stupid fucking run in her stockings, she’d never be the same again.
This time, she didn’t try to stop the tears.
Some flash fiction for Sunday Confessions. Hope you enjoyed despite me being a bit rusty in the fiction department. And, as always, check out the other contributions on More Than Cheese and Beer. I'm sure they're all awesome as always.