Being Brave

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Bravery comes in many shapes and forms.

Submitted: April 04, 2019

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Submitted: April 04, 2019

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Being Brave

For most people bravery would not come in to what Ellen was about to attempt. It was just something they did every day, without even thinking about it. But to Ellen taking that step was momentous.

She had been badly beaten, left for dead, and spent six months in hospital recovering before she was allowed to go home. She still bore the scars six years later, both the external ones and the internal ones, too. In all that time she had never once set foot outside of her front door.

It was time. She had decided that somehow or other she had to make herself face the world, for Ellen was no more than twenty-five years old. It wasn’t so hard to make the decision but to actually put it in to practice was something else.

Ellen was alone. She had told nobody her plans, but she had written a note to herself in her journal; ‘TODAY I WILL GO OUTSIDE!’ Maybe putting it down on paper would provide the strength, the push that she needed. No one else would know but she would be only to conscious of her failure.

Ellen looked out of the window. The sight of the occasional vehicle driving by made her shake, but at least there did not seem to be any pedestrians about. That had to be good, didn’t it? But what if someone should try to grab her, pull her in to a car; who would help her?

She began to hyperventilate, so much so that she had to sit down, put her head between her knees and breathe. Okay, she told herself, it was okay. She lived on a quiet street where nothing bad ever happened.

Ellen drank down a glass of water, coughing on it at first, but then feeling a bit better, a bit stronger. Should she put on shoes? A jacket? Again, just the thought of doing so made her pulse pound, her breathing turn shallow. She was putting too much thought in to the entire thing, Ellen decided, she needed to just get on with it.

The door stood closed, taunting her. She felt as though it was saying, ‘You can’t! You can’t’ over and over again, ridiculously, for everyone knew that doors cannot talk. She stepped towards it, feeling herself tremble all over, her legs so weak they could barely bear her weight. Backwards and forwards it seemed to move, further than nearer, making her feel nauseous with disorientation.

Reaching out, Ellen grabbed hold of the latch. She had anticipated it being either burning hot or freezing cold, but it was neither. There was just the coolness of metal beneath her fingertips, nothing extreme either way. Now she had made physical contact with the door at least it stabilised to give no more of that zooming in and out feeling.

The doubts hit her hard. She’d never do it, open the door on to the outside world. She...couldn’t. But, getting a firm grip, she did. Just a couple of inches at first, but then she pushed it further and further. She could squeeze through it now but again she hesitated. What if the door closed behind her and she was unable to get back in?

At that thought she almost shut the door again and gave up. Almost, but not quite. “Be brave,” she muttered aloud to herself. Her teeth chattering and her hands shaking, she pulled open the door and stepped outside with her right foot. The impulse was to step back quickly, slam the door shut and retreat to her bed, hide under the covers. Instead, she forced her left foot to follow.

Both feet outside, Ellen was firmly standing on the path. She stood still, counted to ten, then stepped back inside and shakily, but gently, shut the door. She leaned back against it, took some deep and calming breaths and then she laughed.

She’d done it! Okay, so it was only a couple of steps, but she had made it outside the door. Next time, maybe she’d make it to the end of her path; but Ellen promised herself that before she set foot outside again she would ensure that she had her keys.


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