Reality in disguise

Photo by Joanne Adela Low on

A sense of defeat had attached itself to her and she was dragging it around like a dead weight. Nothing was working. She had tried many times, but she always came up against a wall that seemed higher and higher every day.

  • We are looking for a different profile.

That was the damned standard answer she was given over and over again. And with each answer, her chance of getting out of the lie that was her life receded. 

She had married quite young. Sergio had been an overwhelming young man, with a personality that made all the young women who knew him fall in love with him. He also had an undeniable physical attractiveness. And she felt she was the luckiest person in the world for having been chosen. 

Until the first slap came.

Every time she remembered it, she felt her skin burn again where he had stuck her and her spirit dampen a little more for having let herself be vexed. It seemed as if her cheek was throbbing, marking in unison with each beat each of the five fingers he had scarred her with. It was the first time she had had to wear makeup not to feel more beautiful, but less outraged. But it hadn’t worked. No one noticed at the party they attended that night that her face was scarred. However, she felt that something had cracked inside her. It was a feeling so clear that she did not understand that no one could perceive it from the outside. 

Her eyes became a dam trying to stop a leak that at any moment would occur with the unshed tears that were accumulating inside her. But she could not allow it, not there, not at that precise moment and place. The consequences would be unpredictable and she felt too small to face them.

The few times she talked to her friends, whom she had been seeing less and less in recent years, they kept hinting at how lucky she was. They thought she had a perfect life, with luxuries and an interesting social life. As if that was the important thing.

They were all in their forties and they laughingly complained that their husbands had abandoned them, while Sergio was still as handsome as when he was in college. They only saw the facade. They did not want to look beyond. No one dared to peek at the scars hidden under the makeup. 

She just wanted to scream and tell them how wrong they were. Just like at that party so many years ago, they only saw the reflection of an unreal life, a mirror that returned deformed images and hid the pain that was just below, just a few millimeters away. 

And the years passed but nothing changed. He didn’t dare to step forward anymore. The time came when she got tired of looking for a job on the sly and facing one no after another. Her self-esteem couldn’t take so much rejection. There was no escape. She was in a web of lies and pain, bearing the burden each day of an aimless dawn where her only hope was that day wouldn’t hit her. 

She surrendered to the evidence. Her life was a life sentence. She never realized that with her silences he was growing. If only she had believed in her… She was worth more than she thought and never realized her full potential. 

I wish someday I would have launched a cry for help.

Now it was just another footnote story in the local newspaper.



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