Seeing Is Believing
Holly Farris

Angie squints a good eye at the crooked mirror. Her bruised face puffs as she studies herself; she spits blood into the grimy Chevron sink. A blue stuffed bear sits on the toilet tank, grinning. The plush animal is the only thing she took, its passenger seatbelt the one she had remembered to buckle. Tonight was the worst fight yet.

Squatting to pee red (kicks can cause it), she thinks of BB half a mile away in the trailer. Passed out, he is maybe even now dreaming about winning the ring toss at the fair, handing his best girl the dumb-ass toy. Angie pinches bruises, then her doughy waist, the best way to siphon love from BB to the baby she carries.

"Looking like this," he'd said after he blacked her eye, "who'd wantcha?" Not easily shocked, but looking for an answer, she had grabbed the bear and run, planning to be at her mother's out-of-state by morning.

Bony fingers dig a slim pocketknife from her jeans pocket. Steadily, she cuts black plastic eyes from its dimpled face, drops them into pink water, and flushes. She sucks a cigarette, offering him a pretend drag to ease his mutilation, grinds the butt against her boot heel.

With the bear under her arm, she crunches through gravel to BB's car and drives the last half mile. By the time she turns into the drive she feels free. The radio newscaster starting to talk reminds her it's been an hour since she left.

First published: August, 2003