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Crime Drama Fiction

“Would you want to tell me about Adam?” The distant muffled voice sounded clearer as the speaker reached the end of his sentence.

She blinked her thoughts away, focusing back in on the conversation. She kneaded her skinny fingers on her thighs anxiously. Her empty brown eyes wandered through the room one time before settling back on the man in the arm sofa across from her. The office she was in, while well furnished, was simplistic. The heavy curtains drawn over the window made the room feel so much more austere than a therapist’s office should, she remarked to herself. 

“I’m sorry I was just wondering, could we pull back the curtains?” she asks.

“Oh yes, of course, if you prefer.” he replies getting up.

“Please.” She motions him to sit back down.

He politely nods at her as she walks around the coffee table between them. Her slender figure dragging the hem of her pale yellow maxi dress behind her, she looked ghostly and divine. Pulling the curtains back, she basked in the sunshine pouring through the bay window. Smiling, she takes a deep breath and lets out a sharp energized exhale. She returns to her seat, more composed and lively than before.

“It’s important to get enough sunlight.” he says once she settles in, “did you and Adam spend much time in the sun?”

“When he was a child, yes.”

“What about when he comes for visits?”

“He doesn’t. He’s very busy, with college.” She says.

“How does that make you feel?”

“Proud.” She answers curtly.

Dubious, he stares at her over his round glasses before letting out a sigh of exhaustion.

“Mrs. Barry, I cannot help you if you do not let me.”

She says nothing. He rings the assistant who comes to escort Mrs. Barry out. The hallway back to her room is as gray as she feels, and the nurse offers no warmth. 

The smell of cheap lavender air freshener, medication and old age that permeated her room made her restless. She sat at the foot of her bed, expertly folding her laundry. Just a couple of weeks ago she was folding laundry in a proper laundry room and now she sat on the floor of a bedroom in a psychiatric ward. Her fingers clenched around the shirt she was holding as the reality of her situation settled in. She quickly folded the shirt setting it aside. She picked up a small white towel. Flashes of her husband’s bloodstained hands clenching hers as she clings onto a soaked, bloody towel invade her mind. Without a second thought, she tosses the towel in the trash can. A knock on her door grounds her. The nurse informs her that Mr. Barry is here to visit her.

The guest meeting room was a gloomy place, in part due to the little light struggling through the small window high on the wall, in other part because of the lack of color in the decor. The only reprieve from the somberness of her situation was in Deon, standing tall as ever by a table. The sight of him comforted her to no end. She walked up to him, arms reached out. She takes his face in her hands lovingly.

“Darling, you are a sight for sore eyes.” she says, readjusting his tie.

Pulling himself away, he sits down at the table.

“Have you been keeping the front lawn mowed?” She asks as she sits beside him.

“Really? The front lawn is what you care about right now?” He asks incredulously.

“What would we look like being the only home with a messy front lawn?” she asks nonchalantly.

“Who cares” he starts exasperated before stopping. Taking a moment to calm down, he adds, “I filed a missing person’s report for Adam.”

“Why would you do that?” she whispers through a forced grin, squeezing his hand.

“Because I want to give him a proper funeral,” he answers coldly.

She notices her leg tapping without her consent, she shakes off her hands to get rid of the tingling in her fingers. Taking in a sharp breath she says:

“I understand where you’re coming from babe I do, but I would like for you to try to understand me. If you hadn’t filed that report, one of his college friends might’ve done it eventually, but they would’ve never been able to trace him back to us. We would’ve been able to have the funeral as a family in about a year or two from now. Everything could’ve been fine…”

“I’m sorry,” he stops her, sounding indignant “are you implying that this is my fault?”

“Of course not. We both made mistakes over the past two weeks, but it’s not too late to fix this. As soon as you feel safe, we will sign me out of here and everything will go back to normal, okay?” She says in a comforting tone while caressing his cheek.

“There is no going back, Heather. There is no normal waiting for either of us out there.” He says pushing her hand away. “There most definitely isn’t a shared responsibility anywhere. You did this.” he adds, anger and heartbreak seeping its way into his voice.

“Why won’t you understand. I did it for us.” she explains in a persistent whisper. “I agreed to lock myself in this hellhole, for us. How much longer am I supposed to let you punish me for doing what’s right?”

“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare tell me you… did what you did… for us!” his voice shaking as he struggles to utter thoughts he cannot speak. “You did it for you. For your own ego. Even this,” he motions to the room with his hand “you did simply for your own gain. You are so obsessed with how others see you. You don’t really care about anything other than your image, do you?”

“This is ridiculous,” she scoffs, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms over her chest. “After everything I’ve done for you. Do you think people don’t care about your image? Do you think our neighbors, your coworkers, your boss, would’ve been half decent to you if it hadn’t been for how hard I worked to maintain our ‘image’?” She lets out an exhausted sigh. “You can’t keep me in here. I’ll just sign myself out.”

He shakes his head, his eyes filling up with tears he refuses to cry.

“No, you won’t, because if you do, I’ll turn you in to the police, then you will really lose everything. This right here is your best option. You stay out of jail, I get to keep my children safe, and you get to see them once a month.”

He stands up to leave, as she stays stunned in her seat. Her jaw clenched and her thoughts racing, she asks why he hasn’t turned her in yet.

“Because I loved you. Because I love you.” he answers as the nurse comes in to lead Heather Barry back to her room. 

December 04, 2020 23:09

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