She pulled into the driveway, rain pelting the windows so hard it caused her daughter to question what the sound was. “It’s just the rain, sweetie. We’re going to get soaking wet, okay?” She said as she pulled her keys out and held them in her hand, ready for entry.
She tugged at her daughter’s straps and removed her from the car. She struggled to hold her daughter, the umbrella, the diaper bag, her purse, keys and phone. She bolted up the steps to her front door, hastily put the key in, turned the knob and dropped everything.
Her heart ached, pulled and tugged on her chest, and she struggled to breathe. Her daughter ran circles around her, as she held on to the table edge to keep from falling over. “Juice, mama, juice, please!” The request jolted her into action. She stood, shaking, and walked to the fridge. She pulled out a cup, and pulled the red juice from the fridge, pouring it carefully into the Disney princess cup. “Thank you, mama!” Her daughter sipped noisily and she focused on her breathing. Long, short, long, short, in and out.
She collected her purse, the diaper bag, and her phone from the entry way floor. She placed them on the table, before bending over again. “Breathe,” she told herself. She led her way to the bathroom and made quick work of what she knew had to be done. After she finished purging, she stood up and wiped her mouth. She brushed her teeth, took a few deep breaths, and walked back into the kitchen where her daughter was playing with an open can of Play-Doh.
“Mama feel better?” she asked, concern on her sweet face.
“Yes, sweetie. How about you? How’s your juice?”
“Good, mama! It’s yummy in my tummy.”
She smiled then, grabbed some Tums from the cabinet and set about getting ready for bedtime. Hours later, she heard her husband come home. She turned over, and feeling satisfied that she had made it through the night, she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
The next morning there was a note left on the counter for her. “Thanks for leaving yourselves open to burglars and rapists. You left your keys in the front door. Now you lose them, and I get to determine when you can come in the house. Happy Tuesday, your loving husband.”
The scowl on her face was deeper than it had ever been before. “How dare he,” she thought. “It’s my house too! So I forgot the keys in the door one night, I’m human.” She shook her head, and got ready for the day, the thought hanging on her shoulders throughout the day.
She got home later that night and found the front door locked. She knocked. No answer. She growled, and went to try the patio door. Her daughter peeked out the window, and she put on a smile and waved. Her husband came to the patio door. “No, I think I’m going to let you stay outside while I make dinner. Then maybe you can come in.”
She thought about calling the police. She thought about calling her parents. She thought about calling his parents. She frowned. She sat in the chair on the patio, growing more and more furious with each passing moment. If her daughter weren’t in there with him, she’d be doing something. But instead, she waited.
She smelled dinner cooking. Her mouth watered. She shifted in the chair, growing colder as the sun descended behind the clouds. Finally, the door opened. “Dinner’s ready,” was all he said before looking at her coldly.
She shivered in response. She stood, grabbed her bags and went inside. She gave her daughter a hug, and spied her keys on the table. She swiped them and stuffed them into the diaper bag.
When she came out, dressed in comfortable clothes for the night, he was shifting through all the piles on the table. The curses came flying out of his mouth. “Did you take them?” He started at her accusingly.
“Take what?” she asked, as innocently as possible.
“You know what. Your damn keys.”
“No, you had them,” she frowned, acting her part in their little charade.
“Well, they were right here. I was going to give them back to you, because I think you’ve learned your lesson, but now they’re gone.”
She shook her head. “Learned my lesson,” she mumbled. Part of her wanted to defy him, to speak up and said she took them and they were rightfully hers. But another part of her hesitated to put herself in that position, where they’d have yet another argument. In the end, she smiled and sweetly said, “Well, I can look for them more in the morning. Let’s put Lucy to bed now.”