Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is “New Year’s” and this week’s post comes to us from Kathy Price.
A Clean Slate
The snowflakes continued to drift down through the black, quiet night. She couldn’t decide if the stillness enveloping the woods was a comforting silence in which she could find refuge or if it was simply a brief pause before the next onslaught, a pause which would allow the storm to gather strength. Tears flowed down her cheeks as she sagged against the pillar on the porch. Were they tears of loss or teas of joy? Perhaps a little of both. God knew there had been too many tears of pain in her marriage to Mark.
Her shaking hands caused the ice in her glass to rattle as she brought it to her lips. Smooth and cold, she used it to sooth the cut on her mouth, hoping the cold would keep it from swelling too badly. Throwing the drink back in one swift motion, the alcohol burned her throat but did little for her courage. How could she face the chaos in the living room? In the kitchen? She was going to have to do it sooner or later, so taking a deep, ragged breath, she turned and went back into the house.
In the living room, a cozy fire flickered with the promise of warmth and welcome, but then it crackled and spit an ember out onto the hearth. How very well it symbolized her husband: he had projected a promise of warmth and comfort, but the underlying essence posed a very real potential for destruction if not controlled or contained. She stepped over his body to brush the ember back into the fireplace and looked at herself in the mirror about the mantle. Already the skin around her eye was turning a deep purple and the eye had almost swollen shut. Her lip was bloody but what made her tremble was the amount of blood splattered on her face; clotted in her hair; soaking her clothing. This was not how she had planned for the evening to go. Hours earlier, with hopeful anticipation, she had chilled the wine, taken extra care with her hair and makeup, put on his favorite dress. Now, it was all in ruins.
“Bong, bong, bong . . . “ The grandfather clock in the hallway started to strike twelve. Instead of experiencing the passion of a lover’s kiss for luck and toasting with a sip of champagne to bring in the New Year, Gwen found herself alone, but free. Mark was dead and could no longer hurt her. She decided to take a shower and wash it all away: the blood, the pain, the fear. She would start 2015 with a clean slate.
The Spot Writers:
Catherine A. MacKenzie