Short Story Sunday
Chapter 3 & 4
Short Story – Chapter 3
By Jeanna Kay Simpson
Monday morning comes way too fast. I hurried downstairs to prepare breakfast and get the coffee pot going before Richard even opens his eyes. As I crack the first egg I hear his footsteps moving from our bedroom to the master bath. I have exactly 6 minutes. He has a routine. It takes him exactly 6 minutes to get out of bed, brush his teeth, wash his face, run the electric razor over his chin if needed, comb his hair and get dressed. Exactly 6 minutes for me to fry an egg over easy in coconut oil, lightly salted, place it on top of sliced avocado, add 3 sliced strawberries on the side and make his coffee.
“Good morning darling,” he says with a smile as he descends the staircase that leads directly into our kitchen area. “Is that a dark roast I smell?” he asks. “Yes, I thought you might enjoy it this morning” I wait impatiently for his reply. Did I make the wrong assumption I ask myself? I should have known better. Saturday and Sunday went perfectly. Please do not let me mess up first thing on Monday by making a different brew of coffee.
Richard is staring at me perplexed. I can almost read his thoughts. He is trying to decide if this is going to piss him off or if he is going to just try the coffee. He takes a sip, “It’s good. I like it. Next time warn me though before you make any changes.” I just smile. I smile outwardly, while my insides are burning from the anticipation of what could have just occurred.
“What are your plans today?” Richard ask. “I am going to meet with the ladies from church. We are deciding on a charity to support for the holidays.” I say excitedly. He clucks his tongue, “We’ll just make sure dinner is not late and do not get behind on your responsibilities.” Right I think, my responsibilities. I mentally check off the list in my head. Pick up dry cleaning, change the sheets on the bed (he insists that every Monday), go to the meat market, and make sure dinner is ready and hot when he walks in the door. All while looking perfect. Heaven forbid I wear those cute leggings that the other ladies wear. Nope, according to Richard, a woman should always have her hair styled, makeup impeccable, and always dressed to impress. Including the damn heels! “Of course Richard, see you at 5:30 sharp, t-bone steaks tonight!”
Two hours later I am sitting with 5 other ladies from church. We all have our list of potential charities to help during the holidays. Over coffee and pastries from the local deli, we start discussing the different charities and how to narrow them down to just one. I think to myself as I look at my list, why do we only help during the holidays? Some of these charities really need help all year long. My list includes No More Homeless Pets and a new upcoming group called Group Homes. Group Homes was started by a young group, they started Group Home to revitalize some of the vacant old homes in downtown. The plan is to revitalize these homes and turn them into affordable community living for young adults. Both to me sound like great ideas.
I tune back into the conversation and hear Debbie mention Red Door. Everyone is nodding their head, yes and I notice one of the other ladies even has tears forming in her eyes. Did I miss something? Oh no, I did it again. I drift off into my own little world and miss something. I clear my throat, “Tell us about it again, start from the beginning, just so we all really get why Red Door should be the charity.” Wow, I covered that quickly. Debbie smiles and starts over with her story. I feel tears in my eyes. Red Door will be our charity this year. What is that saying? Charity begins at home…
Short Story – Chapter 4
By Jeanna Kay Simpson
I did not mention the charity to Richard. Red Door was started by a woman who was married to an abuser. She actually faked her own death to escape him. It sounds like a movie! She lived under another name in another state for two years, always worried that he would find her. She kept up on the social comings and goings from her old life. While searching Facebook she found a post from another lady. The lady talked about how she stood up to her abuser and she was advocating other women like her to do the same. Vera, the Red Door curator, clicked on this random lady’s Facebook profile and started looking at her pictures. This lady was married to Vera’s ex-husband. Or widower by anyone else’s account. He was in jail.
Vera took all the steps necessary to re-enter life as herself. It was quite daunting because evidently faking your own death and your husband collecting on life insurance is a crime. However, when she told her story with the fact that her ex-husband was in jail she got nothing but a slap on the wrist.
Vera formed Red Door, a safe haven for women being abused. This was the charity that we will be helping during the holidays. If Richard showed any interest in my life and asked about the charity he would forbid me for being a part of it. Thankfully he never shows any interest in my life unless it has to do with him.
Debbie delegates out a task for the 6 of us to do. One of them is a full-on interview with Vera. “Rachael, that is perfect for you since you were a journalism major in school,” she states with a huge smile on her face. I cannot turn that down, “Of course, I am excited and would love to hear her entire story!” After everyone has their to-do list and we finish off our coffee and pastries I head on to complete my responsibilities for the day.
The night goes off without any issues. Richard must have had a good Monday because he came home all smiles. We enjoyed our dinner and he retired to his living room to watch football. I clean the kitchen and prepare for Tuesday. I am going to call Vera in the morning and schedule a time to meet with her for our formal interview and to go over the events of the charity gala with her. Part of me wishes I could be her and the other part of me is scared to death of how Richard will respond when we show up to the charity gala that is sponsoring an abused shelter for women.
I enter my master bathroom to get ready for bed. As I undress I noticed that the bruising is starting to change colors across my back and ribs. I stare at my naked body and count all the places that have been bruised, broken, and painful. All the places that I hid and pretended did not hurt. All the places that no one knew about.
How on earth was I going to be able to sit down with this Vera lady and interview her when I am the exact type of woman she is aiming to help? How will I keep my secret hidden?
The next morning I phone Vera after breakfast. We schedule an interview for the very next morning. She sounds so exciting and is so grateful that Red Door is our charity this year. “You have no idea how many women come to Red Door on a daily basis. It is going to be so great to open two more homes to help support these ladies!” Vera says on the phone. I can hear the gratitude in her voice and the tears in her eyes.
I spend the better part of the day trying to come up with questions for the interview that did not sound too personal. I want to know about the Red Door. I want to know how she had the guts to get out. I also know that this can’t be about me. Richard would never let me go.