Hard Work

“This won’t t-shouldn’t take long,” Sarah stammered. “Thank you for taking…thank you so much!”
It was 8 in the morning on a Monday, but my work schedule was flexible. Sarah had called me an hour before, saying she needed help with something at home. She was terse and vague.

Her face looked like a wet dishrag.
I waited for her to say something.
Trembling, she started to lift her sweatshirt. Bruises bloomed across her body. Hand-shaped, random shapes.
“I think a rib is broken,” she mumbled.
“I did it.”
“You couldn’t,” I blurted sharply. It was possible. She could have fallen, been in an accident. People self-inflicted horrible wounds, accidentally or no. No. I did not believe her. No blood. Swollen bruises all over her torso. No wounds on her face. This didn’t just happen this morning. No.
“You didn’t.” I wanted to hold her, I was afraid to touch her.
“I told him to. He was so angry. They fired him. He works so hard. I wanted to help. I said anything, everything, more, more. It was my idea.”

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