Gina lied in bed unable to sleep. She had no idea what time it was and no desire to find out. Her mind kept going back to her childhood friend Ann. Growing up, Gina and Ann were inseparable, meeting each other in the first grade and were hardly ever apart since. Walking home together after school, sleepovers on weekends, summer camp and BBQs, her and Ann were always together, and shared everything – they had no secrets. That was before Ann moved away. Gina remembered that day very well, how she tried to be happy for her friend's new job and how miserable she was for losing her best friend. That was before her marriage to Eric . Her wedding day was also forever fixed in her mind. Eric was so handsome in his tuxedo suit (thought she’d never seen him dressed up since), and when she turned around – there was Ann! Ann had flown in to surprise her on her wedding day, making it all the more special. It was only a week after when her happiness went to hell. It was only a week after, when Eric began hitting her.
Now she lied there in her bed at God only knows what time of night. Lying in fear of when her husband came home from one of his out of town work meetings. Eric was one of the top executives for a large business firm and had to leave town for work often, coming home at any hour of the night or morning (he never let Gina know) and when he got home, he was sometimes in a good mood – but mostly in a bad one. Gina remembered one night when Eric was out of town. She’d spent the whole morning and most of the day scrubbing the entire house from top to bottom before her husband came home. When she was finally done her body was numb from exhaustion from head to toe. She collapsed on the couch and was just about to take a quick nap when Eric came charging through the door, demanding dinner.
“Honey, I just spent the whole day cleaning, I’ll get dinner started in just a...”
But she didn’t have time to finish as her husband came towards her – with his belt in his hand.
That was the first time she tried to leave, the first time she tried to escape – but Eric followed. She remembered him showing up, wherever she was at, with flowers and the old charm that he’d originally used on her before – so many times before.
Gina closed her eyes in her bed, sobbing from the memories – both good and bad. She felt imprisoned. That there was no way out. Her sobbing became wails of anguish – she felt so hopeless and helpless! That was when she heard the front door open, and angry footsteps headed towards the bedroom door.
She woke up in a confused daze, she looked around at the white walls and bright light before realizing she was in a hospital room. Her head and face were throbbing in pain. That was when she looked over and saw Ann standing by the door with a look mixed of sadness and relief on her face. Ann rushed over to her side and took her hand. “Gina, I’m so sorry – I came as soon as I heard. God, I can’t believe what that bastard did to you!”
“How long have I been in here?” Gina asked. She didn’t even know what day it was.
“Two days. Gina, how long has this been going on?” Ann felt relief that her friend was alright (at least for now), but also guilty for not being there when she needed her.
“It started about a month after we got married. It was just shouting and threats at first but slowly got...” She could finish the sentence and started sobbing.
“How many times did you try to get away?”, Ann asked tenderly.
Gina shook her head. “More times than I can count”.
“Then he needs to go”, her friend replied.
“What? What do you mean?”
Ann caressed her friend’s hair on her brow (the side that wasn’t covered with stitches and bruises). “I’ll be back late to pick you up and explain everything then. For now, just get some rest.” Gina closed her eyes and tried to sleep after her friend had left but couldn’t her mind kept going back to Eric and what the hell she was going to do. She couldn’t go on like this. She had to get away once and for all – but how?
After Ann had picked her up, they were talking in the motel room Ann had rented. Ann was explaining how the plan would work. “It’ll be that easy”, she said.
Gina stared at her friend, hardly believing what she was hearing. “But - killing him? No, there has to be some other way.”
Ann tossed over a small plastic sealed baggie. “This is the best way.”
Gina stared at the baggie with its white powdered contents. “What is this? Cocaine?”
Ann laughed, “no silly, like I told you it’s a poison that you’ll put in his dinner tonight”.
“But what is it?”
“Never mind – he won’t even know it’s in there.” Then a sly smile spread across her face, “until it kills him” she added.
Gina just continued to silently gaze down at the small baggie with a single thought replaying over and over in her mind. ‘I’m going to kill my husband. I’m going to kill my husband’.
Later that night Gina made Eric his favorite dish – beef stew (complete with Ann’s secret ingredient). He wolfed it down without so much as a thank you. He didn’t even ask how she was or even apologize for the other night. That didn’t bother her or surprise her at all, what did bother her was he had finished his bowl and was now demanding another helping, and didn’t appear to be feeling even the slightest bit sick. Shit, she thought, whatever the hell Ann had given her didn’t appear to be working. She didn’t know what she should do next. The plan was that after Eric died, she would call Ann at her motel and she would come over to help depose of his body, but what now? She thought about it while watching him devour his second bowl. She supposed she could just stab him, but that would leave a bloody mess, and what about DNA? Surly she would be found out. Just as she was about to give up, Eric’s face went white. A small drool of what looked to her like foam to her trickled out of the corner of his mouth and he plopped face down on the table. It was done. She had done it. He was never going to hurt her again. Gina walked over to her dead husband and placed her hand on his lifeless shoulder. “I’m sorry”, she said, “but you wouldn’t let me leave, and I had to get away”. Then she called Ann to finish things up.
It was about a month later. Gina had reported Eric missing and there was an ongoing investigation and the police had taken both of their statements but that was really all. In short – nobody that knew Eric cared. She had just recently moved in with Ann in the city and for the first time she could remember, she felt free – alive! Her friend was at work and she was alone in the apartment going stir crazy. She wanted a cigarette more than she could stand, so she went into Ann’s room to search for one. She started going through her drawers certain her friend had a pack somewhere. In one of the drawers, she spotted a gun. This surprised Gina, but not too much – a single gal in the city has to have some sort of protection after all. It was what she found next that gave her the shock of her life. She found nude pics of Eric along with very graphic letters! Gina went numb. She couldn’t believe her best friend had been involved with her husband. Why? How could her own best friend have done this to her, and then help her kill him?!?
That was when she heard the door open downstairs, and Ann calling out “I’m home!”
Mechanically, Gina took the gun out of the door and went down to
confront her BFF.