"Godamnit…." She hissed, whacking her shin on an old trunk. She sunk to the floor and wiped away the blood trickling from her shin. Why the hell am I even up here? she asked herself silently, What to find some stupid telescope for my kid? Jesus, why do I even bother, he's a brat anyways. The ball and chain of marriage and children. She sighed and heaved her weight back up, pushing her way through the clutter of her attic. Really, the shit I go through for these ungrateful kids. She was struck again by a protruding box. "Jesus Christ!" she screeched, once again falling to her knees to examine her latest scrapes and bruises. "What the hell is even in these things anyways?" She pried open the lid to the chest with much difficulty, and it fell back with a thud and a suffocating cloud of dust. She leaned back on her heels, hacking up whatever had seeped into her lungs with that ancient cloud. She swiped at the air in front of her face and leaned in over the trunk. Yearbooks. Old high school yearbooks, untouched since, oh, I don't know, the mid eighties. Seniors-Class of '85. Yes, eighty-five then. She sighed, I really have no idea why I'm up here, much less looking through old yearbooks about the "good old days". Nonetheless, she softly opened the front cover. She was washed over by the smell of aging paper and fading ink, the scent of nostalgia. She turned to the senior section, large headshots of smiling teens. She recognized few of the names, and turned to the Student Life section. There she was, young and beautiful, face still bright and innocent, untouched by the pain of a failing marriage. She stood with two other skirt-clad girls, and the caption read: The tremendous trio, how could we ever forget them? She couldn't even remember the names of the girls that her young self was supposedly partner in crime with. She was popular, she remembered that. Always one of the pretty girls, plenty of friends and a fair number of boys chasing after her as well. What the hell have I come to, I have no friends whatsoever…On the next page, a picture of her with her husband, the two of them beaming with their arms around each other. He was highly sought after in their high schools years as well, and she had made several enemies just by claiming him her own. More pages turned and hours passed, lost in the ocean of bittersweet memories and the happiness she used to have. She sat on the dusty ground and wondered if her classmates were as miserably unhappy as she was. As she looked through the book, sort of like her chronicled past, she started to cry. It was slow at first, one or two fat tears rolling down her cheeks and streaking her overloaded mascara, but it soon became a barrage racked with pitiful sobs. She sat on the floor and inhaled the past and cried her eyes out, just missing how incredibly happy she had been. Sure, she had complained as much as the next angst-ridden teenager about teachers and schoolwork and the like, but ultimately, she had a fantastic life and was relatively happy. Well that didn't last long did it? She scolded herself bitterly, if anything she should be grateful that any part of her life had been easy at all. At the same time, she wondered what had happened to the young girl with the flawless figure, all the right friends, and those gorgeous gray eyes. She had done away with those long ago. She would often turn to Rocky Road Ice Cream when her family refused to be her friend, and she got colored contacts to please her husband, who always complained about the way she looked in some way or another. Her silky blond hair was grizzled and going gray. Oh shit! I forgot about my hair appointment! She sat bolt upright, struck by panic at her failure to make it to the hair salon. She was about to stand up and run downtown, when she thought This is not how I am going to be what I wanted. She sat back down. I'm not going to that hair appointment. I don't care how gray my hair is anymore. I just don't care. She stood up, and fondly dropped the yearbook back into the trunk. She climbed down the stairs and emerged on the landing. She first went into the bathroom and closed and locked the door. She leaned over the sink and looked at herself in the mirror for quite a while. She reached down and twisted the
faucet. The water was biting and cold. She put her face down into the sink and washed
the mascara away, still weeping. She scrubbed at the concealer covering her wrinkles and washed away her garish red lipstick. She looked at herself again. She reached up with
one perfectly manicured hand and took out the blatantly fake blue contacts, exposing her true gray eyes that used to be so piercing and full of life but had faded into a dull glint. She looked at herself and felt the most confusing mix of purity and ugliness she had ever experienced in her life. She felt that she had finally done away with her good-for-nothing husband who had changed so much since high school, simply by washing away the makeup he so strongly advocated her to wear at all times. Yet she could not bring herself to smile. She stared blankly at her wrinkles, reminding her of the time she had wasted when she could have been making a life for herself, not just being a stay-at-home mom, torn down by her kids and abused by her husband. She was so fucking sick of living up to their expectations. She drifted into her bedroom, into the walk-in closet. She looked around at all her clothes. Stupid, superficial, and ugly. Push-up bras and too-tight pants. Disgusting. She tore off her gaudy, constraining apparel and finally found some old sweatpants and an oversized football jersey and put them on. She was once again overwhelmed by the ugly sense of purity. She wandered downstairs and fixed herself some coffee, waiting for her husband to come home. When he finally did, she was still sitting at the kitchen table staring down into the dregs of her coffee wearing the sweatpants. Her husband looked down at her and she could smell the alcohol on his breath. "What the fuck happened to you?" he slurred, scrutinizing her face, devoid of make up. "I married you that's what happened" she said, and immediately rued her words. His eyes blazed drunken anger "Why you worthless son of a bitch…." He reached over and slapped her with such brute force she was knocked off the kitchen stool. She lay on the cold tile, face down, waiting for the kick to the side. It hit with hurricane force, and she coughed up just a little bit of blood. Blood and dust.