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It began, like any other day. A sleepy sun rising, a determined bird chirping, waiting for company to wake. And Rosemary, burying her head even deeper in her pillow. Begging that bird to please shut up. It began with her trying and failing to fall back to sleep. If she had, perhaps things would have turned out different. But what ifs are not stories. What ifs are laments. And today is the day Rosemary faced the music. Whether she was ready or not.

She pushed the covers away irritably. Sleep had toyed with her all night, so she didn’t know why she wasn’t in the exhausted slumber that usually happened when insomnia hit. But she still couldn’t sleep even though her brain screamed for rest. She tried to be as quiet as possible. Tip-toeing to the bathroom. Edging each door closed as carefully as possible. She tried to do everything possible not to disturb her father.

She showered. She towel dried her hair. She dressed and packed her bag for the day. She crept through to the kitchen, her stomach growling, and made herself some toast and tea. And she sat silently, chewing slowly, and then sipping the hot beverage with care. Placing the cup gently on the coaster. She finished her meal and carefully rinsed the dishes and put them in the drying rack. Everything put away. Everything clean, everything quiet.

She eyed the front door. This was the hardest part. How to open and close that door without noise. It was easier if he was already up. But he liked to wake at 7:30. She needed to be on the 7:15 bus to school. He thought she was wasting her time studying graphic art at some technical college. University is where he expected her to go. But it didn’t sing to her. To be honest, graphic art wasn’t that thrilling either, but there was a path there, a job she could do sooner, so she could earn money and get out on her own. And that’s what she really wanted. To be on her own. To be out from under his control.

She edged the front door open and predictably it creaked. She winced, and slid through, trying as much as possible to shut it without slamming. The trouble was, the door didn’t close properly. You had to slam it for the latch to catch. A gently close would simply open again, and then he would be mad because she left the door open. But if she shut it forcefully he would be mad too, because she slammed the door again and woke him.

She opted for the later option and gave it a good firm, shove. And then she heard him, “Rosemary! stop slamming the damn door.” She could have left then, went to class. Waited for his criticism when she came home. But something in her stilled. She felt a her body buzz, her mind prickle and she yelled. “I did not slam it!” And then she thought, fuck, I’ve done it now.

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