Agnes was a woman who had finally escaped a torturous marriage to a Godless, abusive husband, who had rendered her to nothing more than a frail, frightened and broken replica of her former self.
Even after she won her freedom, she would still be battered and bruised, from running into things. She never turned on her lights and never opened her blinds. She seemed to take comfort in the dark, where no one could see her, or touch her, or hurt her. She had never known how it felt to be loved, other than having it show in the form of blackened eyes and swollen lips.
Agnes wore her pain like a crown of thorns. Her soul had been broken, her heart had been ripped to shreds, but it still beat and she wondered why.
If someone made a sudden move, she would flinch and if someone walked up behind her and merely spoke, she would scream and cover her head. When she first arrived at the Battery Park Hotel, she was understandably, quiet and reserved.
Then she met Eloise, who wouldn’t accept her life of solitude and fear. She insinuated herself into Agnes’ dark world and tried to diffuse her defense mechanisms by insisting that she turn on her lights, open her blinds, participate in game night and go on regular shopping trips for new clothes.
Agnes was by all rights a wallflower and Eloise…well, Eloise was the life of the party. They were an unlikely pair but they seemed to mesh somehow. Agnes was hungry for normalcy…something she hadn’t known in years, and although no one would ever describe Eloise as being “normal,” she gave the impression that her motto was, “live it up, folks. We never know how long this dance is going to last.”
Eloise didn’t “cure” Agnes but she did expose her to beautiful sights, wonderful sounds and a way of life that she had only dreamed of. Agnes was never going to be one to yank up her shirt and expose herself, but she had learned to smile instead of wincing in fear, and eventually learned to laugh instead of crying in despair.
Agnes seemed to be an old soul, attuned to things others were not. She wasn’t sure how to react when things appeared to be good. She was always waiting for the proverbial “other shoe to drop.” Maybe she didn’t recognize happiness when she saw it, or maybe she was afraid that if she was happy, something or someone would snatch it away from her. Maybe she had suffered too much trauma. Maybe she was afraid “he” would find her.
When she voiced her trepidation, Eloise comforted her and said, “You’ve come too far. I am not going to let you go backward. I’m not going to let anything happen to you, and if that son-of-a-bitch ex-husband of yours ever dared to come within ten miles of you, my Smith and Wesson would be the last thing he ever saw.”
When Agnes asked if she had a gun, Eloise made her laugh when she said, “no, but it sounded good, right?”
Despite Eloise’s efforts, Agnes was still afraid. She didn’t know why…there was just this gnawing feeling deep down in her gut and she had learned not to ignore that feeling. She told Eloise, “I just get the feeling that something terrible is going to happen.”
Like so many of the other residents of the Battery Park Hotel, Anges’ remains were never identified.
To be continued_________________