Alyssa got up from her bed and looked in the mirror. The mirror looked back at her, dispassionately. The finger marks glowed on her paper-thin, translucent skin. She was in pain. Her hair was all messy and tangled, in a heap. Every inch of her willed her to walk away from the mirror. Not look at herself. Not look at the broken girl that was once her. Yet she stayed and looked in her own eyes. They looked back at her, sad and broken. But there was something else there. Something she just could not touch. Not just yet. She shut them tight.
There she was again. And there he was. His fists raised. His eyes, disoriented and angry. His voice coming from a dark place. Muffled and animal-like. Again and again those hands, his hands fell on her. She could have fallen in love with the sheer rhythm of it. But she was in pain. She opened her eyes again. Here she was, living and breathing. Here she was remembering. Trying to recall how her own laughter sounded like. Her voice had forgotten. But her heart remembered.
“Don’t jump through that fence, Aly. You will hurt yourself”, a voice shouted from her past. Her mum’s voice.
She just looked back, her mischievous eyes sparkling. But she didn’t stop running. And she laughed. Loud, happy, full of life.
That laughter, she remembered now. She remembered Aly. That girl, who had looked back from the mirror. That girl, who had hidden herself so well behind those bruises. That girl, who was now looking back at her. Waiting.
She walked to her window. The black paint on the window sill chipped at so many places. Her fingers grazed through the pink and yellow curtains. Her favourite flowers, daisies painted on them. She looked below. It was still dark outside. And outside her stationery window, the world flowed. Where do all these people go? She would always wonder. Is there a road that could lead to a happy place? Is everyone who is running, running towards their happy places?
She opened her wardrobe and looked in. Her clothes hung, carefully. So many colours looked back at her. She picked up a pink dress, with white flowers on it. It reminded her of past memory and after a million years, she broke into a smile. That smile saved her. Like the last breath of a dying soul. She had to go and find back her laughter. She had to find Aly.
She didn’t try to stop what she was feeling inside. The light was creeping in. She looked back and saw the open window. Darkness was slowly being devoured by sunshine. A slight breeze blew and she saw the sunrise. It was glorious. It was forgiving. She picked up her bag and walked out of the door. The door closed noiselessly behind her.
This time, she didn’t look back.
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