I ran up the stairs because I knew there were several things I would need. I grabbed the small suitcase I’d brought for the weekend, then took the stairs that led down from the balcony of the master bedroom, finding my way around the back of the house. From there, I walked through the side garden, bursting with blue and white hydrangeas, to the large circular driveway. I saw the limo that had brought Eva and me from New York. The driver was standing there, doing something on his phone. “I need to get back to the city,” I said. “To Grand Central Station.”
He hesitated for a split second: this wasn’t part of the plan. But I was the boss’s wife now, for all he knew, and he opened the door for me. “Yes, ma’am. Will anyone else be joining you?”
“No.” I thought about waiting for Eva. I knew she’d want to come with me, to make sure I was okay. But there was no need to drag her along. She wouldn’t want to come where I was going anyway.
The limo ride took an hour, maybe more. My thoughts were hazy, darting ahead, skimming the past, replaying the pain and beauty in equal measure. I didn’t know what to think or what to do. All I knew is that I needed to get away from him. I needed something I would never get: all of him. Not now. There was no Plan B. I would just have to figure things out as I went along.
I thanked the driver and grabbed my bag, walking the dirty street, reacclimatizing to the old me. The real me. The me that was one with the grime and the struggle. It didn’t matter that I still wore my twelve thousand dollar wedding dress. Or my ring. These were remnants now of past I could look back on, now and then, muse over. Cry about when my defenses were down.
I wandered through the cavernous train station. It took me some time to realize that the blur was my own tears, softening reality in a way that felt good. People stared at me but I barely noticed them. I found the train and paid for the ticket. I used the money card in my new pink wallet, for the very first time. It didn’t matter. He would want me to and he wouldn’t follow me. I knew he wouldn’t. Trust me. Trust me to do what’s best for me right now. I could justify the expenses: I’d worked at Skyscraper for a week. Here was my pay. A train ticket, a new outfit I’d buy myself: some jeans and a t-shirt to live out the rest of my life in, a budget hotel room until I could get some job and rent myself a room. Anywhere. It simply didn’t matter.
The train glided out of the station.
Outside, darkness was just beginning to fall.