Maroon 5’s And She will be loved….
Her gaze is trained towards the image in front of her eyes. She studies it carefully, it has a beautiful face, and its eyes are like two shiny diamonds that seem like they could pierce through any soul. The lips are full and well rounded the hair a flowing mess of black. Beautiful is what it is. Then suddenly, she could swear she saw it sneer at her. What does she care? A long time ago-that’s what it seems like now- she had a vivid imagination; perhaps this is just one of her imaginations too. She used to sit in the daytime and imagine herself in the passenger seat of a car-she could never quite guess the make- next to a wonderful man that would every now and then glance at her and smile and she would smile back. He would momentarily let his left hand wander off the steering wheel and reach out to her… clasp his palm in hers before resuming his driving. He would make her heart throb… almost jump out. She loved him.
And in the night, when she was asleep, she saw herself walking down the halls of Justice Hall, her hips swaying with full confidence. She was a brilliant lawyer on the ladder to being a judge. And in the evening after work, having spent the day saving the world, literally, and helping right the wrongs of this world, two little wonderful children would run up to her to embrace her and she would hug them as tightly as she could and kiss them on their foreheads.
But what would this image staring down at her know about her imaginations? After all, wasn’t it just a reflection of herself on the water? It would never understand even if she told it her life story, she decided. For once, she realizes she is freezing, trembling even; perhaps that’s why she had seen the sneer. So it wasn’t an imagination after all. Then they were all gone for sure if she couldn’t even imagine something as nonsensical as that. The air around is cold too, and the breeze leaking through the cracks in the window isn’t helping either; she can’t exactly remember how those got there, but the shattered glass tells her that she too, like life shattered her tender heart, could shatter something. Whether out of anger or frustration or both, or neither. Perhaps she was just in a drunken stupor. Still, she reaches out with her arms and grabs the handrail. Slowly but very carefully, she lifts herself up and out of the bathtub.
When she has dried herself up and is dressed-she won’t need the make up today, not where she knows she wants to go anyway- she grabs her purse and walks to the front door. She pauses a little before locking the door, almost amused at how meaningless it all is. She would care very little today if someone broke in and stole every single thing in her house, just like everything else has been stolen from her. In one final act of defiance to life, she decides not to lock up. She leaves the key in the keyhole, dangling in the wind, daring life to do as it pleased today. She starts walking. Slowly at first, but as she nears the place, her pace quickens. She feels impatient.
She proceeds direct to the counter and orders two shots of vodka; the first of the night, but definitely some of her last. She takes them in rapid succession. The bartender doesn’t even lift his eyebrow when she doesn’t wince. He is used to her. Usually she comes here, drinks herself silly, then just as when she is about to blackout, before any man can take advantage of her by offering her a ride back home, she staggers out into the night and somehow, she always manages to disappear. Nobody ever knows where she goes. And those who do in fact try to hit on her are received with an iciness that beats their Smirnoff Ices. Her routine is always the same, two shots in rapid succession, then a bottle of whatever shots she started out with. Today, it is vodka.
The alcohol makes the memories come flooding back, as they always do when she is drunk. Perhaps that is why she likes the alcohol; it never allows her to forget. She wills herself never to forget. She remembers clearly walking back home from work one evening, happy as usual and excited because she had finally got the recipe for the Black Forest cake she had always wanted to try out. And then as if from nowhere, he appeared. At first she didn’t know what was going on and she froze, but when he grabbed her, she started screaming. All this time she hoped it was just a mugging. Then the bugger proceeded to pin her to the ground, all the while slapping and beating her to shut her up. He ripped off her skirt and forced himself on her, one of his hands on her breast the other on her mouth. She remembers the pain like it was yesterday. Then when the animal was done, he left her there in her shame and despair and pain. It was a couple walking back from their date that found her and took her to hospital…
The nurses had given her emergency contraceptives as well as those life-saving pills that prevent you from getting infected with HIV, the post exposure therapy. They were kind and helpful and had helped her file a statement with the police who had come to see the rape victim, as she was now referred to. But then the insensitive doctor had told her a few days later when she was feeling much better that while treating the wounds inflicted on her genitals, she had discovered something else..
“Jane, my dear, she had said, you have Ovarian Cancer… your wounds will heal up and hopefully the post exposure treatment will prevent you from HIV, but we will also need to start treatment for the cancer as soon as possible. You are lucky we found it early…”
The irony that the animal that raped her had also probably saved her life. It was infuriating and hurting and nauseating to even believe it or accept it. It was for her, unacceptable. After weeks of trying to find justice but with no solace, she had started drinking and she had refused to start the treatment. She had quit her job. What was the point of trying to get other people justice when she couldn’t find it herself? And that was what led to today…
She takes a gulp of the vodka and rises from her chair. She walks out, her destination, the bridge. She knows she will jump. But in her drunkenness, on her way to the bridge, she bumps into him and falls down. She knows it is him because when she looks up and looks at him she recognizes him immediately. It is the man she always imagined. Almost like a déjà vu. He smiles as he lifts her up, just as he used to do in her imaginations. She wants to say sorry first but she is too dazzled, and taking the cue, he does. He notices the bottle in her hand and smiles… he takes it from her hand and takes the last sip, before throwing it away… slowly, he leads her to the coffee house just ahead…
In her head, she makes the resolve, she will imagine again… she will hope and dream again. She will try to smile again. And tomorrow, she will begin her treatment and hopefully get her job back… Maybe life isn’t too cruel after all, she decides and smiles for the first time in months.