“Open the door Emma, my key won’t bloody work…”
“Em! I know you’re in there – c’mon, it’s pissing down out here!”
“Jesus Christ woman, what is this?! I’ve just got off an eight hour flight, I don’t need this crap!”
Gripping the kitchen chair, she pulled the wooden seat tight against her thighs, ready to assume the crash position.
I changed the locks while you were away, she breathed, You’re not coming in.
She willed him to find the envelope, why had he not found the envelope? Castigating herself for not using something stronger than masking tape to secure it to the door, she mused on the last 8 hours. Was this day that she’d spent so long planning for to be defeated by the flimsy properties of masking tape when faced with an unforecast, and yet strangely appropriate, storm? The note was pretty rubbish as well, all those words that she’d mentally constructed so carefully had flown, leaving her with your typical ‘Dear John with a twist’ letter. Still, it said enough, if only he would find it.
As her husband gamely kicked at the door she allowed herself a half-smile. It had been his idea to install the doors and the security system, she’d always thought it was OTT, until now of course. He’d practically salivated as he’d shown her the profile drawing of the door with its steel (or was it titanium?) layer, double thickness something or other and deadlocks upon deadlocks.
Kick away, it’s anti-scuff paint. Serves you right for spending our Disney fund on more security than we’d ever need…
She felt the nervous laugh rise in her throat but contained it, paranoid that he’d sense her presence and teleport his rage inside the house. Rising, she edged towards the stairs. If she could get to the twins room she’d be able to see the front door. Her mind wandered, weighing up whether it would be worth crawling round to Matthew’s room to borrow his periscope. She dismissed it, she’d never find it but would almost certainly impale herself on a rogue piece of lego or a pokemon character.
The thunder flatulently masked the creak of the stair as she rose, but not the crescendo of wrath emanating from her unwittingly estranged husband. Crawling into the twins bedroom she crouched behind the now redundant changing station. Thighs burning, she slowly pushed her way up the wall swearing that when all of this was over she really would start exercising. Maybe she’d get some running shoes and become one of those fit mums she skulked past in the park.
She could see him now, and suddenly his rage became real. The sick fear balled in her chest and she leant heavily against the wall, sucking her lip, willing the unwelcome tears to stop.
Where’s the envelope? WHERE’S THE SODDING ENVELOPE?!
As her husband turned to the window she spotted it. Dropping to the floor she finally released the laugh, quickly followed by a gasp of pain as her flimsy arms refused to hold her weight, winding her. It had obviously fallen before he arrived home, ready for the cab driver to deposit the suitcase on top of it.
Glancing down the corridor she spied Matthew’s light sabre. Where’s the bloody force when you need it most?
The sound of the home phone penetrated her thoughts. It would be Gemma, checking that she was ok. Reaching for her mobile she flicked to Tweetdeck. Her mentions column was crowded with cryptic messages of the ‘earth to @maudlinmother’ variety and she had 6 DMs, all increasingly agitated about her safety. It felt good to respond, even without a resolution, she knew they were there and that people knew she was here and were thinking of her.
Recalling his disapproval and ridicule of her ‘twatty friends’ renewed her strength. This was happening today and she was making it happen. She rose again, staring at the envelope the same way as a student she would stare at the pockets of the pool table, willing them to magically expand when her balls went near them. This time she willed the envelope to glow, or grow, or do something to draw attention to itself. Her husband, now more wet than there were superlatives for, finally looked down and saw it.
And so it begins…