Everyone else thought she had escaped just in time, leaving them and their scoffings to the pain they now experienced. Or so she told herself. She wished her view confirmed their alleged thoughts, but really that was merely a hypothetical audience that could not exist. The people she actually saw through the impenetrable iron gate weren’t even an audience, for each glimpse back showed dancing and laughter. Joy. Life. Too occupied with their celebration to ponder her current state and how it compares to theirs. They’d moved on through the pain without her, and each brief glance they bestowed upon her resembled that of one given to someone diving wholeheartedly into a pool of vomit. No, looking back afforded no comfort.

Looking forward showed the flaw in her hypothetical audience’s beliefs. The door to the building was locked, and she could only peep through the window and observe all those that had left her behind. Dancing and laughter there, also. On occasion a person would smile towards her window, more out of pity than as if she was a participant in their festivities. Yet still the truth was evident – she’d left too late and too soon. She was alone and the road less travelled had grown back over since her friends had paved their way through.

The scream began in her stomach, then her throat, before forcing her mouth open. A clenched fist drew back and demanded entry to the glass. She could not stop here; she must make it through. A shattering, and blood painted the window remains. Tears streamed down to join the puddle of blood that she began to kneel down in, clutching her hand where the glass had ripped her skin more than she had shattered its center.



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