Heavy is the Head that wears the Crown

She is alone.

Waiting in the Winter darkness for a bus or taxi, rustlings in the shadows dry out her mouth.

She is alone.

Spoken over in an office filled with brash suits, the glass ceiling smeared with sweaty hands and secret tears.

She is alone.

Making a school costume for her sleeping child, the result of an unwilling encounter with a trusted, family friend. Silently shunned, ostracised.

She is alone.

Doing the grocery run head down and eyes lowered. Painted by leering eyes and wet tongues while reaching for a loaf of bread.

She is alone.

Driving down the highway in her car. Not his. Dismissed and labelled without any consideration.

She is alone.

Listening to the decisions made about her, for her. Her education, her career, her freedom, her life. Her worth.

She is alone.

Stepping out into the cold, darkened parking lot, eyes sweeping the depths watching for threats. Keys clutched in sweaty palms. She is tired of always being on alert, exhausted from conforming to others’ expectations. She is everything to so many but still nothing when it matters. Angry at the betrayals from her own.

A flame sparks. Flickers. Warms.

A hand closes around her fingers, strength flows. 80 000 footsteps march together echoing in the darkness, more footsteps, more warmth. Women before, women now, women since.

She is not alone.

My head is bloody, but unbowed – William Ernest Henley

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