It was my first Sunday of freedom.
I woke up, and took a deep breath in. I’d made it out. I’d escaped. I was still shaking, but I was free.
I crept to my kitchen and made myself a pot of coffee, purposefully keeping my gaze from the TV.
I wasn’t going back there. I wouldn’t.
Breathe, Carrie. Breathe.
I sipped on my coffee, enjoying the silence.
Since I’d escaped, I’d burned the shiny outfits, the platform heels, the dangly earrings, the lists of NFL players’ names… I scrubbed every trace of my makeup off my face that I could.
Still, my eyes remained lined with dark kohl, my lips constantly glossed. I’d tried to cut my hair, too, but my wavy blonde locks hung past my shoulders, perfectly tressed.
I shook my head and shuddered. I couldn’t let myself complete the phrase. I’d worked too hard to deny it, to banish it from my mind.
I remembered the flickering tunnel of lights, the greenscreen cube I’d been locked in for nine years. Nine years had gone by, after I’d sold my soul… and for what? A weekly audience of millions? To sing random lines about American cities where NFL stadiums sat? Had it been worth it?
I decided to enjoy the rest of my Sunday and not dwell on these things. I went for a run. Went to a flea market. Hid from every TV I could, especially those tuned into football games. I didn’t want to risk exposing myself. Or somehow, being found.
I made myself dinner and poured myself a glass of wine. I still wasn’t sure how I’d done it, how I’d managed to crawl through my TV and out of my Sunday Night Football prison. But I’d done it.
A chill ran down my spine.
I showered, and tried in vain to rub the makeup off my face, again. But it still wouldn’t come off. I got in bed and read my book, trying to distract myself as kickoff approached. I was safe here.
But then, I heard a crash. Someone, or something, was in my living room. I grabbed the baseball bat from under my bed and tiptoed downstairs.
The house was dark, but a glowing light was crackling from the living room. I was drawn to it, like a moth to flame, I couldn’t resist its call…
And then, I heard it. The siren’s song.
That voice… I knew that voice… it was my voice. And it was coming from me. My hand jumped to my throat. I couldn’t stop myself from singing.
“All right, what a night, it’s finally here…”
My feet were leaden, they carried me toward the screen, which hummed with energy. My pajamas burned off my body, replaced instead by a shimmering jumpsuit, high heeled boots, and a leather jacket. A microphone appeared in my hand.
Tears ran down my face, but I couldn’t feel them. A smile spread across my face, cheeks turned up, and I moved closer and closer to the TV.
“The stars have arrived, c’mon get up and cheer…
Hey Jack, it’s a fact, the show’s back in town…”
I couldn’t fight it anymore. I was going back. And I didn’t know when I’d be free…or if I’d ever be free.
I belted, now looking out from inside the TV. The green screen closed in around me.
“Waiting all day for Sunday night…”