Last Breath (Short Story)

Below is a short story I wrote years ago.  I decided to share it because it’s a story about empowerment and growth. I hope you enjoy it!

Woman curled fetal

Samantha looked around the bedroom in frustration.  Everything they owned was strewn on the floor: clothes, shoes, papers—everything.  Feeling demoralized, she stepped over the mess and went to the dresser.  Staring into the mirror, she ran her hand down the bruise below her collarbone.   “Great,” she said. “I can’t wear my yellow dress tomorrow.”  She heard a bang downstairs and opened the door.

“Stop jumping on that couch!” she shouted at the children.

Samantha’s daughter, Willow, was playing with her friend Miranda. She was amazed that two dainty 7-year-old girls could be so rough.  She smiled, realizing that she was once a tomboy.

Her husband Sean left hours ago to buy drugs.  Learning of his three-year habit was a shock.   She lay on the bed, closed her eyes, and drifted to happier times.

Chicago’s Grant Park was beautiful in the summer.  Samantha sat on the stone bench in front of a garden.  The purple blazing stars were her favorites.  She began to read and soon heard a deep voice.

“Excuse me.  Do you mind if I sit here?” the man inquired.

Samantha’s eyes rose to meet the hazel gaze of the young man.   “Sure, it’s a free country,” she said.

Reading her book, Samantha tried to ignore him but failed when he folded his paper and turned toward her.

“I’m here every day but I’ve never seen you before,” he said.

“I usually come after work and I left early today,” she replied.

He smiled and extended his hand.  “My name is Sean Denison.”

“Samantha Jacobi.”

They married two years later and Willow was born soon after.  Sean, although a good provider, was controlling and temperamental.  Samantha knew he loved her, but she regretted giving up her career.  Now, her life revolved around her family.  She had no one to talk to and felt empty and hollow inside but she did have a plan to make it better.  Her thoughts were interrupted by the door downstairs and, heart pounding, she listened.

She heard Sean and his father Bill talking.  Because of his drug use, they lost their home and moved in with Bill.  Sean was humiliated and he took it out on her.  This morning, he punched her in the stomach and choked her.  All of her attempts to build his ego backfired.   Feeling hopeless, she went into the bathroom.

“I’m so tired.  I need to sleep. ” she whispered. Sitting on the edge of the tub, she stared blankly at the pills in her hand.  Samantha closed her eyes and imagined her body breathless and still.  “No more pain.”  She dumped the pills into her hand.  Trembling, she realized she hadn’t written a note.  “He won’t care anyway.”

She heard a familiar giggle and held her breathe.  Willow always had a contagious laugh, her beautiful little girl.  Hoping Sean would be the one to find her but not so sure anymore, her hands flew to cover her mouth as deep sobs burst forth.  Rocking back and forth, Samantha cried until she was spent.  Then, throwing water on her face she left the room to cook dinner.

Sean came behind her at the stove and wrapped his arms around her.  She tensed.

“Forgive me?” he asked.

“Why should I, Sean?  It’s not the first time,” she replied.

“Baby, I didn’t mean it.  I’ll get counseling. I promise.”

“Sean, please…” she started but he cut her off.

“Sam, let’s talk about this later, OK?”

“Sure,” she replied.  “Later.”  She needed a new plan.

     Samantha was working on a project for her new job.  Sean sat on the bed staring at her as she worked on her laptop.  Her heart was pounding.  She felt a confrontation coming.

“Sam is everything alright?” he asked.

“Sure.  Why do you ask?” she replied.  The hairs on her neck rose.

“You seem different the last couple of months. “

Samantha turned away from the laptop and faced him.  “What do you mean by that?”

“Are you kidding me?  Look at this room.  You haven’t touched it in weeks. “

“Maybe that’s because I’m tired of cleaning it so you can toss it up again looking for drugs that don’t exist.”  Frightened, she stood her ground.

“That’s irrelevant,” he responded.  “You can’t stand disorder.  Plus, you’ve been turning me down lately.”  He raised his brow. “Are you seeing someone?”

“Of course not!”

Sean stood and grabbed her arms.  The pressure made her gasp.  He threw her to the floor. She recognized the look in his eyes and tried to move.  Too late, she felt searing pain as his shoe connected with her back.

“You are a liar!” Sean roared as he kicked her again.  He straddled her, grabbed her neck, and squeezed.

Samantha felt nauseous. “Sean, please don’t do this.  I’ve been seeing a therapist,” she whispered.

Suddenly, he was still.  Willow was watching them and seeing the fear in his daughter’s eyes, Sean released his wife.

“Mommy, are you OK?” Willow quivered.

“I’m OK, Sweetie.  Come here.”  She opened her arms and Willow went to her.  Samantha picked up the phone and called her sister.

Months later, Samantha sat on the balcony and smiling, watched her daughter playing in the yard. The doorbell got her attention.

“Hi, Sam.  How are you?” Sean asked.

“I’m doing great Sean.  And you?” she replied.

“I couldn’t be better. The meetings are going well.  I have a hundred days sobriety.”

“I’m happy for you,” she smiled.  “Willow is outside.  I’ll go get her.”

“Before you do that, I owe you an apology.  I felt like a failure and I took it out on you.  I had no right to do that and I hope you can forgive me.”

“I forgive you, Sean.  I’m happy that you are getting help and hope we can remain friends for Willow’s sake.”

“Always,” he replied.

Samantha went to the balcony. “Willow, Daddy’s here.”

©2010 Kim R. Woods All Rights Reserved

IMG_3940Kim Woods earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems at DeVry University. She developed a love for writing poetry and short stories as a child. Kim is socially conscience and her desire to use her life experiences to help others is what drives her to seek opportunities to share her story. She decided to write freelance for the Bolder Sister because it is her desire that women evolve and thrive in their own authentic truth.
Kim resides in Chicago, Illinois and has one son, Donald. In addition to writing, she spends free time creating unique wall art, decorating, and teaching herself how to sculpture. She also has a blog Who Will Speak.













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