A Graceful Departure

By Ritta M. Basu

Grace felt the soles of her shoes catch on the sticky floor as she made her way to a seat midway up the aisle, then midway down the row. She always reached the theater early just to get this seat. She consistently came for the 1 o’clock matinee.

This was her escape and she made it perfect every time. When the lights dimmed and the previews started, she lost herself. She didn’t have to think about the crying children, the battered women, the raging alcoholics. She allowed the screen to sweep her away into its sounds and scenes.

Grace had been working at the Spring Gardens Womens Center for nearly 25 years. She had seen enough heartache to put her in her grave. The movies gave her the respite she needed each week to stay sane and to return to her life’s work.

But today she was tired of working. She had decided she was finished.

Alone in the cinema hall, she opened her purse, poured the pills into her hand and waited for the lights to dim. She washed them down with her refreshing, icy Coca-Cola.

Her eyes grew heavy as one preview turned into five. The world fell silent as the feature began. In another room, the credits rolled.


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