Written 03/04/2018


Seven Minute Finale

I sit in my favourite chair, reading a book for my English class in college. I major in psychology, but barely nineteen, and it's my first year, so I need my generals finished first. I have most of the lights off in my apartment, as I have no use for them at the moment. Relaxing in my chair, I nearly fall asleep, when I hear a jostling noise at my door. Slightly baffled, I turn toward my door, trying to listen for any voice calling for me. No one had called to say they were coming over, and even if they didn't, they would have knocked. I sigh and turn back to my book, eventually thinking nothing of it. It's probably just a poor drunk guy trying to enter his own apartment. I go back to reading.

Before I know it, there is a person in my apartment, wearing all black, with a ski mask over their face. They're holding something in their hand and shouting something, but I am in shock and I can't understand them. I am desperate now, trying to figure out what exactly they're saying—

Too late. I feel an agonizing pain in my right side and suddenly they're gone. At least they shut the door behind them, my paranoid side thinks dazedly. But now...

I can feel it. The blood… it seeps through my fingers, tainting my pale, freckled skin crimson. I… I don't remember what happened, exactly. I know I was punctured with something—a knife, maybe, or a gunshot. All I can feel is the thick, liquidy substance slowly leaking through my shirt and my fingers.

I know I'm dying. I can feel that, too. As I lay on the hardwood floor of my own home, I slowly recall exactly what had happened just minutes before. I think it was a knife that got me, because the wound is much bigger than a normal gunshot wound. It isn't just a stab, either… the gash is deep and long, and the blood gushes horribly out of it. My phone is out of reach, and the only light on is the one in the room I'm in. I know I'm doomed...

In the first minute I see myself being born in the hospital. "It's a girl!" the doctor proclaims, and hands the infant off to be cleaned up. It's a bit strange, seeing a baby being born that also happens to be yourself.

"I'll name her Azalea," my mother says fondly, once I am in her arms. My father is absent, but I should have known. He was never there, not even for my birth.

The second minute is longer, and I see myself as a rapidly-growing infant, countless feedings, naps, and diaper changes being done. I mature a year, and I see myself take my first steps, my mother cheering me on. I notice my father in his chair, staring at the TV with a beer in hand and several empty bottles on the coffee table. I scowl, and the scene changes.

During the third minute, I have grown to be about five years old. I realize it's my first day of kindergarten. My mother takes a picture of me in my frilly purple dress in front of my new school. I'd always hated that dress, preferring pants and a T-shirt over skirts and dresses, but I guess she had forced me into it that day. It's probably why I'm frowning. I look around the scene and observe my mother. Her smile, though brave, is trembling and her eyes have dark bags under them. I notice ugly, black bruises on her arms, and there's another on the left side of her jaw. I can't figure out where they are from before the memory disappears.

The fourth minute whizzes past my elementary years and suddenly I see myself at a seventh grade dance. I am not wearing a dress here, but black pants, a nice shirt, and sandals. I'm dragged good-naturedly by some of the popular girls to the group of boys. One of the girls asks who wants to dance with seventh grade me, and there is an awkward silence. Then one of the boys speak up. "I'll dance with her." The dance is also awkward. When my mother picks younger me up, I observe her carefully. The bruises seem to have gotten worse, despite eight years having past. Then I realize: she'd been abused.

The fifth minute is somber. I am in my first year of high school, and my mother is sick. She's in the hospital, and I know I've been forced to become an adult before I was supposed to. My eyes are now as dark as my mother's once were, and I know freshman me is wondering how can we pay for the hospital bills? My father is not there, once again. I know that at this moment, he's probably at a bar, hooking up with some lady and cheating on my mother.

Minute number six is much better. My mother is well again, and I have just finished my junior year of high school. I have a boyfriend in this scene. His name is Logan. I can see I'm infatuated with him, and he with me. It's the perfect day, sunny, slightly breezy, and we're on a park bench, just relaxing. Even so, I can see the storm in my younger self's eyes, and I know I am worried about something.

The seventh minute—the final minute—shows me my last summer before I go to college. I am still with Logan, and I know he's going to a college near me. It should be a happy time, but I can see that both of us are upset. My parents sit across from us in my living room, and I notice my mother flinching ever so slightly whenever my father raises his voice at us. I can't hear anything, but I know he is telling us that he doesn't approve of us, Logan should just leave, you're not allowed to have a boyfriend without my consent. So where have you been for the past year and a half, dad? I watch us leave the house, and my father turns towards my mother. He is shouting at her, and then for the firs5 time, I see him physically hit her. Now I know it had happened before. I want to interfere, but I know I can't, and then the scene goes black.

I can feel it. The blood… it seeps through my fingers, tainting my pale, freckled skin crimson. I… I don't remember what happened, exactly. I know I was punctured with something—a knife, maybe, or a gunshot. All I can feel is the thick, liquidy substance slowly leaking through my shirt and my fingers…

...And I finally rest.