The red Jeep Cherokee was flying on the I-90. She was curious about the future in the new town. She was so open to start a new life after her awful divorce. His voice is still in her ears: "You are nothing without me! We will see how fast you will be back on your knee, asking to be with me again!"
-No, I will more likely die than back to the slavery life with no voice!
Helen was a 40 years woman, but she looks so young that most people would say she is 25. She was born in a big city in Ukraine and raised by a free woman. It was even so hard to understand how she could be so submissive for more than 20 years.
Now it is over. The woman is free and starting a new life in the small University town. She was excited to get a new job and an opportunity to write. Her dream was always to write, but he still kept saying: "It is a stupid thing! It is not a talent neither a profession!" She got her place as a columnist-writer in the local newspapers. Most people would say it is not a big deal, but not for her. Helen was happy like in her childhood when she was living with her grandmother, and it was allowed to be herself. She missed those feelings so much. She was so tired of following other people's rules, society's rules.
-Fuck everybody! I am a free woman! I can do what I want! It is my life - her hands fisted the steering wheel.
Through the University building, she started to recognize the apartments. It was not as pretty as in the picture, but they seemed so cute for her. Helen stopped the car and went out. She saw a couple walking around with a little boy. She waved at them, but they did not answer. They were staring at her with fear in the eyes. Then a woman grabbed a boy's hand, and they hot-footed from her. Helen was confused, but maybe it is only because of this shitty new virus. People are afraid to be close to each other.
-At least you could smile and wave me back! Fucking idiots! It looks like the virus makes people sick not only physically, but mentally too.
She was unpacking her car when she felt cold eyes on her back. She turned back and saw an old lady; she was staring at her over her sunglasses. The woman has a small spitz on the lash, which was staring at Helen too. Helen smiled and waved at them. The old lady grabbed her dog under her armpit and ran to her car.
-What is wrong with people here?! - Helen slapped her forehead - excellent start, man.
She came in and fell asleep after 5 hours of driving. The noise from outside woke up her. The air in the room was hot and dry. She could not breathe, trying to get some air like a fish thrown by the ocean to die.
-Gosh, no oxygen!
Helen moved to the window to open it with the hope of getting some freshness. She opened the window and saw two boys were playing outside basketball. She waved at them, but they looked at her like she was a witch from the fairy tale and wanted to cook and eat them.
-Nice town! At least people have the same opinion about newbies; she smiled ironically. Keep being positive, Helen!
She took her dirty clothes and went to the public laundry. The laundry was no way special. It was an old building with little erased letters on the window about working hours and prices.
-$2 per wash, are you kidding me? How I'm supposed to pay $2 per wash if I have $40 per article. Assholes!... Keep being positive
An old wash machine started its annoying song. Helen could not keep listening to this awful noise; she went outside and saw a local newspaper box. She came to the box and tried to pull out one. It was a shitty quality paper with awful gray pages. The smell of the paper was like the smell of the rotten cabbage.
-O my gosh, I think it is the worst newspaper I have ever seen in my life. Awful paper, awful wash machine, horrible people…. Be positive, Helen, everythin will eventually be great.
Helen heard a car stopped near a laundry building, and an old lady got out of the vehicle. She was looking so lovely. Her hair was in order, looking perfect. Her dress was slightly blue, and a string of pearls on her neck was perfectly matched with the dress. Helen was staring at her like she was hypnotized. The lady was looking as the lady from the tv show advertisement. Helen imagined her with the cake in her hands saying: "The cake in our restaurant is like your grandmother's cake!"
Suddenly the woman waived to Helen. Helen was so confused that she waived back only after a couple of minutes.
-See, not all of the people here are bad. Such a nice lady!
Helen paid for the newspapers and went back to the laundry. She opened the door and lost her speech. The lady has put all her clothes accurately in the box.
-Hi, Thank you so much!
-Aw, do not worry, my darling! We help our guests here!
-I am not exactly a guest! I will live and work here.
-You decided to change your life, honey?
-Kinda.., I am divorced, and I want to start over here in the friendly and small town.
-Of course, I know… I am divorced too. I know it is a hard time, but it will become better every day. You will be free and young. I do feel free and young!
-You look so great and young. I love your dress.
Helen was so happy to talk to this nice lady. She was feeling like she was talking with her mom. This woman was looking in Helen's eyes with love and understanding. Helen relaxed and started telling the lady her story.
Suddenly, the face of the woman changed completely. Her face became dark and some fear pictured on it.
-Tell me honestly, my dear, are you a Russian spy?- asked the old lady.
Helen stopped talking and got confused for a moment. She tried to understand the joke part, but the lady's face was serious and compressed.
-Is it a joke because of my Russian accent? - starting Helen with a smile.
-No sweety pie! It is because we know you are a Russian spy and want to know all of our secrets!
-Your secrets? What types of secrets? What kind of secrets can you keep in this small town? - Helen started laughing, still thinking it was a joke.
-Holy- Moly, miss Brenda was utterly right about you! She said, you are a spy!
-Who is miss Brenda? I have never met her in my life, how can she know anything about me?! - Helen's face becomes serious too.
-She was right! You have already asked me tons of questions!
After those words, an old lady ran out of the laundry, and Helen only heard the car's sound.
-Charming place! - said Helen and walked to her car.