from Wild Thoughts: A Floral Guide to Feeling by Garrett Huon

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There’s a knock at the door. All the lights are off, but there’s a fist pounding at the door. She’s sunken into the couch, clutching a blanket over her knees in one hand and a knife in the other. The floorboards are vibrating and so is the doorframe. Her room is looking more and more appealing with every beat against the wood, but she can’t move. Eyes cannot leave the door. Like her gaze is the only thing keeping it together. She’ll get a noise complaint in the morning, but she hardly thinks about that.

There’s a man on the opposite side of the door, and no amount of glaring will stop him. Not when he’s flush with rage. Not when he is punching and kicking in the hallway of their apartment complex. Not when he might test the durability of the flimsy metal lock that keeps them separated.

She’ll have to move, she realizes. There is no doubt in her mind. Because he’ll still be here after the night is over, prowling and waiting. Because she won’t be able to live while constantly keeping an eye over her shoulder.

It hurts her head. The banging against the door hits right between her eyes, makes her dizzy, makes her sick. She can hear the blood rushing in her ears as a steady background to the aggressive percussion. It sounds like screaming. She wants to scream. Desperately.

“Leave me alone. Just leave.”

She wants him to stop. She wants some quiet. She wants to go to sleep but not with him here. Can’t with him here. Not like this