It's an odd thing, catching such a candid glimpse into someone's life. But from my vantage point, it happens far too often.
People are less guarded around me. They never seem to worry about me overhearing their conversations or seeing the things that they want to keep private, even when they're standing right in front of me. Now, I can understand why, but that doesn't make the pill any easier to swallow.
Take today, for instance. The second this couple walked through the door, I was uneasy. All this time being a voyeur has made me aware of the minutia that regular people look past. Like the way her smile slipped from her face the moment she stopped making eye contact with the clerk, how his knuckles were bright white around her dainty hand, or the well-practiced application of makeup to a beautiful face he felt the need to make his mark on.
I watched them part ways and move down separate aisles. He walked toward me, but my focus stayed with her. Even from the other side of the store I could still see the iron grip he had on her. She made sure to always keep her head down, her movements timid and apprehensive while she shopped, as if she expected him to appear over her shoulder at any second. I could hear him rustling around behind me as I observed her, accompanied by profane muttering.
"…And now you're gonna pick out the most expensive thing in here, yeah? 'Cause why not? It's only my money, right? And yeah, I saw you look at him on the way in… You fucking bitch. You think I didn't notice? Just you wait until we get home…"
She chose a dress from the display and held it up by the hanger, admiring the garment before holding it against herself. I tried to imagine her wearing it, how elegant it would be draped around her figure. But it was clear she'd learned to never linger on anything she cared for, that could only mean she cared for him less. She cast a fearful glance in his direction, quickly returning the dress to the rack before turning away.
He made his way in front of me, still monitoring her every move while under the guise of browsing for slacks. I saw my opportunity. Now was the time to act.
Plastic hands took him by the throat, pulling him off his feet. I covered his mouth, muffled his cries, dragged him away. I didn't feel any of the punches he threw at me, but the light leaving his eyes made me feel alive.
Then I was back at my post, dutiful fulfilling a mannequin's role before anyone noticed my(his) absence. I watched her amble around, searching for him. Eventually, her eyes found me. I've worn a tireless amount of styles and fashions, but on that day the blood on my hands stood out to her.
It was his blood, but it meant her freedom.
submitted by /u/psyopticnerve