I have a package for you that you need to sign for. I am sorry if I startled you but I was not here to cause any harm.
I will come back tomorrow about noon. Please understand I am only doing my job. You don’t even have to open the door completely..just enough so that I can hand you the form and you can sign it and hand it back to me.
Thank you and Happy Holidays,
Tilly held the note in her shaking hand. She read it a second and then a third time. What was she to do? She wasn’t expecting a package and knew no one who would send one but what it if was important?
There was a long hidden need in Tilly for human interaction and it was trying to rear it’s ugly head. Tilly fought to push it back where it belonged. She had no business even considering being face to face with anyone. She would scare them because she was so ugly, first of all, but they would hurt her as people always had. She had no need to dive back into that hell. Tilly fought off a long ignored memory of ugly words and uglier treatment. Her father? She thought so, but the memory was old and vague.
Tilly shook her head from the old hurts and came back to her present. She would never open that door to anyone…ever.
With that decision made, Tilly made a large mug of cocoa and took it upstairs to her bedroom. Placing the cocoa on her nightstand, she dressed for bed. In her gown, she climbed under the quilt handed down from her Grandmother to her mother and then to her. She picked up the book next to her and disappeared into the world of Jane Austen. She was, at present, living the life of Emma Woodhouse. Even when Mr. Knightly chastised Emma, Tilly would have preferred that life to her own. At that moment, Tilly’s mind whispered that the young man at her door looked a bit as she imagined Mr. Knightly…or Mr. Darcy or even Captain Wentworth.
“NO!” Tilly called aloud. She tossed the book to the other side of her bed. She did not want to think about that young man. She did not want to think about the pain and torture he would bring with him if she opened that door just to sign a paper. She did not want to see the look on his face when he saw her ugliness. She then remembered seeing that look on her Father’s face.
She had been about 6 years of age. She had come home from first grade in her favorite blue dress. Her hair had been brushed until it shined so brightly and been plaited into braids. Those braids were tied with soft blue ribbon. Tilly had felt like a princess all day. She had floated through that day doing all her lessons perfectly and even gaining smiles from some of the other children as well as a pat on the back from her teacher, Mrs. Roberts.
But when Tilly walked through the back door and into the kitchen, her father had been sitting at the table drinking beer from a bottle. He had turned and looked at her, his eyes red and vague. He had motioned for her to come close. When she did, he had ripped the dress off her as though it was made of air. She had stood there in her slip feeling paralyzing shock. Where had her mother been at that moment? She remembered listening for Mama, but she heard nothing but her father’s rough breathing.
That was where Tilly’s memory drifted off. She only had vague feelings of pain and fear. After that, her father was gone. She didn’t know where or why he had gone but she did remember being able to breathe again without his constant attacks.
Now, this young man tortured her with thoughts of what had been and what might be.
Tilly didn’t sleep that night. She listened to the night sounds as they were amplified by darkness and deep fear. Her hands shook for no specific reason. Her breathing was stilted for no specific reason. She was unable to turn off the light. Tilly was deathly afraid the dark would choke her. She feared the darkness would return her to a mostly forgotten hell.
When the sky began to lighten, Tilly’s fear threatened to overtake her. She felt that this day could be the one to pull her into the bottomless pit she feared more than anything.
She finally made her way downstairs to the kitchen where she brewed a bit of tea. Sitting at the table where, long ago, her father had always been, she sipped the tea and told herself over and over again that the bastard was gone. The devil was gone. Then there was that knock on the door and she froze.