The tip of the pen hovered nervously over the dotted line.
For months I had been planning this. Tonight was the night I’d finally be free of my family. A new life, with the man I loved, miles away from anyone who could try to boss me around. For months I’ve managed to put up with Mother’s sneering, scathing lectures and all my sisters’ little comments, a happy fire burning in my chest, a secret belonging to me, and only to me. An escape. Freedom.
So why was I hesitating?
The pen wobbled. Just sign it, Jane! A voice in my head cried. To be free, all you need to do is write your name. It’s not that hard!
But Mother’s face swam into my mind. Her forceful words reverberated through my head. “I will not have my youngest daughter wasting her life on some… some good-for-nothing tramp! You, unlike him, have a future… education… wealth!”
Am I doing the right thing? Is this all a huge mistake?!
Somehow, the slow burning hatred I felt for my mother has faded. Why can’t I hate her? All the rules, the restrictions, the ‘little-girl-on-the-leash’… If I could remember that deep, furious hate, I would be able to do this!
But I can’t. I can’t do this.
A sly voice spoke up in my mind.
So, what are you going to do? Go back home, with four other sisters, all so much older and prettier and smarter than you? With a mother who will always find fault with you, with your appearance, with your personality, always trying to get you to change? Go back home, to the house where praise means being told that; ‘You did that almost as well as Rebecca did. Perhaps if you keep trying, you might be as good as her… eventually…’ You were always her least favourite daughter. She won’t even notice you’re gone. Sign it. Sign that bit of paper, and you’ll be free of her at last.
The pen stopped wobbling. I took a deep breath. With a perfectly steady hand, I signed my name, ending it with a flourish. I handed the register to the man sitting next to me, sitting so close, touching. He carefully wrote his name next to mine.
And next to me… forever. I smiled at him, feeling my old life slip away. Gone is ‘Ms Jane Felicity Hollan-Rushton’.
He turned, his grey eyes shining with love. “Are you ready, Mrs Jane Peterson?”
I grinned. New name, new life. No more rules. No more restrictions. Let it rip.
Written for Ermilia’s Picture It & Write