Get busy living or get busy dying and she had chosen life. Yet once again she could not stop her reaction. She stiffened as smelled the familiar smell of smoke; not just any smoke but the specific one of an expensive brand of cigarettes. Her body tightened involuntarily before she realized that she was also holding her breadth and slowly forced herself to relax.
Slowly she softened her body and focused on the words in front of her and went back to reading the book or trying to as the familiar sounds of the coffee shop trickled into her conscious. Trying hard to bolt out the images, thoughts, feelings and sounds of her past. It was hard to let go try as she might. The memories clung to her like the gossamer, sticky threads of a spider web. She always felt the threads binding her, capturing her and forcing her yet she continued to fight and struggle against it.
Even in this public cafe, so far away from the cloistered, muggy room of that had evoked these thoughts she felt unsafe. Not any more, she thought. An ocean stood between them. The bruises, the beatings and burns had been left behind in another country, another lifetime ago. Was it only two years?
It still felt like yesterday, the shouting, hitting and those perfectly symmetrical and boiling hot circles of pain at the end of those cigarettes. Again and again stamped into her soft, delicate, pristine flesh. Marked till she lost count; stamped till the skin felt like a bumpy unpaved track going nowhere. She sighed as she caressed her arm; gone forever was the milky, smooth, soft flesh now it was just a covering over a body. Just flesh not skin; just flesh not feeling; just flesh not beautiful.
Suddenly someone squealed behind her and she snapped out of her reverie. No longer would she dwell on those times. She took a deep breath and hailed the waiter and ordered her favorite coffee. She no longer took normal for granted. She knew getting to a place of comfort can be uncomfortable.