I hear them talking all around me. Busy couples. Young professionals. Students. A girl In a purple scarf. I sit in the cafe and watch. I believe I’m safe, but I’ve believed that before. He’s always found me, but I’ve learned some tricks.
Last time he held a knife to my throat and said, “I own you, bitch.” He always beat me where the bruises wouldn’t show.
That’s why I cooperated for a long time, almost two years. I knew I couldn’t run like a frightened deer this time. I had to plan.
He grew careless. Started giving me money again. Money I saved. The more humble I behaved, the more he gave me.
“You are my beautiful star,” he would say. “Soon we will be together always.”
I cooked for him, and treated him like a prince. Then the night came when I made my special dish, a special lamb glazed with a sauce made from lily-of-the-valley among other things. He ate four helpings.
Even then I didn’t run. I went to the hospital to speak to the doctors, to explain we had eaten the same dinner. I even brought a sample of my sauce. It was, I confess, slightly altered. When his wife appeared, I left out respect.
I sip my ice tea and look over the crowd. It will soon be time to get moving again.
After I left the hospital, I walked to the train station and retrieved my bags, then took a train to Boston. I lived three days in a hostel, then paid a thousand dollars to buy a beat up, green Honda.
Now I figure it’s time to get across the border to Canada. I plan to drive west, and and find some place where I’ll be safe. With any luck, I’ll just disappear.