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A Woman's Work

A Woman's Work

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Sometime's a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
Sometime's a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

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Published by: Renee Miller-Johnston on Aug 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A Woman’s Work…By Renee Miller The dim hallway, smelling faintly of pot smoke and fish, stretched before her.Diana remained rooted at the top of the dingy stairs. She wanted to do it, had sought himout, followed him here, and spent weeks planning this moment. But now, before thereality and knowing that at the end of the hall apartment 4E held her beginning—or her end—paralyzed her.“Deep breath, Diana. He’s just a man.” Just a man. A man who couldn’t hurt her anymore. She was a big girl, strong, independent and intelligent. He had no power left.Diana stepped forward, her legs trembling in anticipation and just a little fear.What would he say? Would he be happy to see her? Would he think she’d come to beghis forgiveness? Probably. Jack had always been arrogant. Jack was
The Man,
after all.
The Man
did whatever he wanted.A baby’s cries in 4A brought Diana’s mind back to the present. Next door, in 4C,a man yelled and dishes crashed. She cringed but continued to place one foot in front of the other, moving toward the last door. In 4D, scratches echoed from behind the door, ananimal or something tried to get out. She didn’t want to think about it; she’d scratched,clawed and hammered at a door that wouldn’t open. People like her, trod the hallways,listening but ignoring her desperate pleas for help. Maybe when she finished in 4E she’dknock on 4C and ask the woman inside if she was okay. The woman would lie, as Dianahad so many times, and say everything was fine. She wouldn’t believe it.
Music rocked 4E as Diana approached, to the familiar growl of Nine Inch Nails.How she hated that sound. She used to love it, until...it didn’t matter. None of thatmattered. She was here, it was time, and Jack hadn’t won.She reached up. Her hand stopped, fingers closed into a fist just an inch awayfrom the brown painted door. The E was crooked, a screw missing, and wood splinteredaround a newish looking knob. Someone must have broken in—or out. The thoughtsteeled her resolve.Diana knocked.The music blared. She knocked harder, rattling the door on its hinges. The music played on. Diana tried the knob. It turned. Her heart leapt to her throat, icy fingers of fear crept over her back and she pushed them away. She was
afraid. He could not hurt her.Pushing the door, she jumped back when it flung away from her hand. Her mouthdried as her gaze met his.Jack. Her lover.Jack. Her tormentor.Jack. Her killer.“What—no, you’re dead,” he stammered.“Yes, that’s what they think. Isn’t it?” Her courage returned as his face paled, ahand fluttering to his unshaven jaw.Jack always rubbed his jaw when he was agitated. Next he’d run a hand throughhis brown hair, a bit unkempt now, but still with that boyish curl. His blue eyes were redrimmed, and faded just a little. Did he miss her? Diana’s chest tightened at the thought. No. She didn’t care.

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