I'll never forget my next door neighbor, I'd often see her and her husband by the pool. She was caucasian and he was black. She was so pretty. She had short blond hair, she was petite, at her perfect weight. She smiled all the time. He was tall, handsome with a perfect medium build and an awesome six pack. They had a two year old son with gorgeous brown eyes and the cutest sandy curly hair that I'd ever seen. I'd watch them at the pool while my husband and I played with our twins. I envied them. They looked so happy. She never knew that behind closed doors, I was a prisoner in my own home…she never knew because my smile seemed to be as real as a Norman Rockwell portrait. The perfect family, just like hers. Only my smile was fake… pretending to have it all together.
One weekday morning, about 6:00 AM, I was awakened by the sounds of banging and a woman screaming outside of my front door. I rushed to see what was going on. As I opened the door, a lady was laying on the ground faced down and crying. I helped her up and could not believe my eyes. It was my neighbor…the woman at the pool. I put my arms around her and brought her into my apartment. Her face was red, swollen and bruised. Her eyes were puffy and filled with tears. I pulled up a chair and gently sat her down in front of me. And there we were. sitting across from each other, no words… face to face, knees to knees…heads bowed while weeping and holding hands as if we were praying. I was her and she was me. It was as if we were facing a reflection of ourselves in a broken mirror. We were silent, embarrassed, filled with pride, not saying a word; but speaking a silent language of shattered trust, betrayal, isolation, humiliation and imprisonment…behind closed doors.
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