Carole Besharah

You will never escape the piercing squeal that resonates in your head. Nor will you free yourself from the blood-soaked, white Mary Janes imprinted in your mind. You will double over from pangs of anguish deep in your chest. For weeks. For months. For years. You will no longer seek the warmth of your husband's arm under your neck, buried under the heavy quilt at night. It will always remind you of the time he reached for his cell phone. Instead, you will move to the guest room. You will cry and pace, and pace and cry, never quite falling asleep before dawn. Someday you will bring empty boxes into her room, where rows of ballerinas still smile and pirouette on the wallpaper she would have outgrown by now. You will sit, dazed, winding the music box over and over listening to "Waltz of the Flowers" until the tips of your fingers ache. You will not be able to make yourself fold and pack her soft, knitted sweaters into these boxes. You will not put away the dolls, the storybooks, nor the crocheted blanket you had made during the long winter before she was born. You will, however, slip a red hair ribbon in your pocket. Later, you will hide it under the pillow of your bed—in the bedroom you reclaimed when your husband left your home and your heart. You will finger the ribbon obsessively for days. Until it unravels.

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