I throw a handful of breadcrumbs from the bridge to the duck pond below.  The park is so beautiful at night.  Just me and the stars, the pond, the ducks, the wind, the moon, and the trees.

“Park’s closing, ma’am.  You need to leave,” says a voice to my right.  A bright flashlight shines in my eyes.  I turn to face him and he shrinks back in horror.  I wonder what my face looks like to him bathed in that harsh light.  For a little while I’d forgotten.  What I must look like to other people.

“I’m sorry…I…” he sputters.

“It’s okay.”

“What happened?  If you don’t mind my asking.”

I turn to face the pond again.  “An ex-boyfriend and a container of bleach.”  I don’t feel like telling the whole story.  Living it was enough.

“I’m sorry,” he says for the second time.

I nod.

“The park is closing, so…”

“Five more minutes?  It’s so beautiful.”

He looks at me again, without cringing this time, and I think he understands.

“Five more minutes,” he says, turning off his flashlight.

I give him a small smile and look up at the moon.

For Sunday Photo Fiction 



30 thoughts on “Solitude

  1. An interesting story Jenn. Unexpected that she is a woman who was horribly burned due to bleach thanks to an abomination of a man. I see why she comes to the park when it’s dark. I’m happy the security guard understood she needed those moments of beauty in her life at the duck pound. I have always read and heard about actual stories where bleach/acid is used and I always thought they were some of the worst things a man can do to a woman. For a woman whether we like it or not beauty is something the world defines us by. I liked how you showed woman have value even when they aren’t living up to that standard of beauty. Touching and awful to think about story!

  2. May such ex boyfriends rot in the deepest pits of hell.

    I’m from Pakistan you know, and a lot of the lower class people are uneducated about their rights or even about a proper way of life. So often certain men from such backgorund like to play the “strong” card on their wives or on the women they like and wish to marry in this way. If the woman doesn’t listen to them, this is what they often end up doing.
    And how hard is it to get your hands on bleach?
    But that’s not the only kind of man that does that. Often men are educated and belong to a good and well known family and yet they do it… What excuse do THEY have?

    And honestly, it’s not even about her face. They ruin more than just her beauty. What ends up happening is that they find no job anywhere and no one wants to marry a woman who doesn’t look like a trophy and we live in a society mostly dominated by men. Especially in a place like Pakistan.
    And while I’d say that a man who rejects her because of her ruined face doesn’t deserve her, it’s also true that her life becomes practically unlivable without the support of a man. And that’s not what she deserves… To be shunned throughout her life due to the one crime her “lover” committed. How much heart break and suffering that must bring her…

    We live in a terrible world.

    People wanna pretend that feminism isn’t required because boys will be boys.


      1. I’ve been doing a bit of research on it since I read your comment. One girl was disfigured because she was raped and had brought “shame” upon her family. Horrific. Something needs to be done.

      2. Yes.
        That too.
        Often when women get raped they are though of as “used” material and hence no one ever wishes to marry them and hence they become a “burden” on their families and hence the “shame”.
        I agree so so very much. There’s so much we need to do. So much we need to educate.
        Honestly, the things illiteracy can make people do is awful.
        Either that, or people are simply too backward. They never wanna acknowledge that a woman deserves more. :/
        I don’t know about other countries but in Pakistan, there are a few trust foundations that help these women and give them a home and proper councelling too.
        Cause often the women end up buying the bullshit society feeds them and end up thinking they’re worthless.
        It’s really sad. 😦

      3. Very sad. I was looking online for a charity that helps victims but I haven’t found many reputable ones. I guess Amnesty International would be a good one.

      4. There’s this very popular and well known organization in Pakistan called the Sarim Burney Trust.
        They’ve got their own webpage and they accept donations too.
        The problem here in Kuwait is mostly that it’s against the law to donate any money to trust foundations anywhere in most of the Muslim world. It got banned around 12 years or so ago due to the amount of donations that would end up with terrorist organizations… So now the citizens here are not even allowed to donate to real and trusted charities unless they’re internationally recognized or something…
        Anyhow, here’s the link:
        There are many interviews too that the founder has given but they’re mostly in Urdu. They might be available on youtube with subtitles, I’m not sure…

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