Video Review: Amanda Marshall “Birmingham”

“She had indeed stepped from the path which seemed to have been chosen for her and cut herself a new path-” Maya Angelou appears over the carpet of an home. A faded brown recliner sits in the family room. A rotary phone lies on the floor. Cardboard boxes stand in the corner. A television plays on its stand.

Snow falls on a car parked behind a building. Amanda Marshall dances by a garage door. The Birmingham News sits on the passenger seat of the car. A twentysomething woman sleeps in the backseat. Back in the home, a Confederate flag hangs on the wall. A thirtysomething man lies on the couch. Empty bottles sit on the kitchen table. Wedding photos of the twentysomething woman and thirtysomething man crowd on top each on a card table.

On television, Marshall sings into a hanging microphone. The twentysomething woman looks out the window. She tiptoes in the family room and takes the keys out of her husband’s pocket while he sleeps. She puts on her jacket while she walks on the porch and searches for her suitcase hidden by the garbage. She drives off and heads onto the expressway, passing a sign for Tennessee. Wrapping the blanket around herself, she gets out of her car and watches the snow fall. She finds a postcard and writes, “Your car is in Seattle. Is it still raining? Get Help. Goodbye.”

Carrying her suitcase and duffel bag, she walks to the mailbox and mails the postcard. She takes off her ring and drops it in the mailbox. He reads the postcard on the porch and kicks the column on the side. Hitting the door, he slams it as he goes back inside.

Rating: 5/5

The twentysomething woman writes down in her notebook as she listens to her trainer. She asks about the program. Her trainer goes over the function again with her. She wanted to get everything right. It was her first proper full-time job. Her ex-husband forbade to work, to have friends or go out. She hadn’t talked to family in years. His temper was something she feared. He had hit her several times, sending her to the emergency room.

She had to get far away from him. Often, she dreamed of living in Birmingham, Alabama. Her apartment would be near the gardens and she’d walk her dog every day pass the stores in the city. However, she’d have to plan her escape. She couldn’t wait much longer.

Over a year, she packed a suitcase and a duffel bag while he was at work. In between, he had gotten fired from several jobs. His drinking was out of control. A neighbor had caught her and she had pleaded for them to not to say anything. The neighbor had given her some money, a cell phone and information about shelters. Her trainer asks her if she has any pets. She grins and says she has a German shepherd puppy. He was rambunctious but she adored him. Her trainer tells her about his cats.

Director: N/A Year: 1996

Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit & 45 Magazine.