One year ago...
It had been two years since Mina had set foot in Maple Falls, Missouri. Despite the circumstances motivating her to return, she was happy to be back. She missed her parents, her best friend, and this middle of nowhere small town. This town was nothing like Danton, and she was glad. No rush hour, no big city crime, no more trying to figure out how to navigate six lanes of traffic. Best of all, no more Macon.
She glanced around her at the new apartment she had just secured and felt a sense of relief start to set in. The first feeling of ease she had felt in so long. When she was young, she couldn't wait to get out of this town. How ironic that, for the past year, all she could think about was coming back home. She had thought, if she just gave it time, that Danton would start to feel like home. Not all of it was bad. She got a job as an intern at a prestigious counseling agency, and enjoyed the work she was doing with her clients. She met a couple of girls at the college who became fast friends. And since you could get practically anywhere without owning a car, no one had to know about her horrible driving skills. But, then she met Macon Morgan. That started out good too, great actually, until it wasn't. No, Danton wasn't home. This town was, these people were. All of these kind people who watched her through the awkward growing up stages and loved her anyway. This was home. Maple Falls was home.
Mina got up and went over to her dresser to gather her clothes and shower. As she was opening a drawer and pulling out an oversized sweater she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror.
She looked so different than when she first left here. She wasn't sure she liked what she saw. She was too skinny. Like skin stretched over bone, cheekbones protruding under her eyes. Her skin had a sallow look to it, probably from tiredness. She should have stopped more often to rest on her drive here from Danton. But she had wanted to put as many miles between herself and that town, between herself and that life, as quickly as possible. There was also the trace of a healing bruise across her cheekbone, though finally faded enough that it would be easily concealed with some light makeup. She saved her eyes for last in her inspection. She had always felt that her eyes were her best feature. Now they just looked haunted. Haunted by all that she had endured over the past year. Endured, and survived she reminded herself.
She took a deep breath and smiled at herself. Well, all of that was temporary. She just needed trust in God, some time, the people she loved around her, and this little town of Maple Falls to begin to heal.
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