This post follows from One Night. Click on the link to read.
In the light of day, Annabelle wonders if she’s making a mistake. She tucks her precious list in her underwear drawer, beneath the stash of Bonds knickers. Tim will never find it there.
He’s long gone. Off to work in his high-vis vest at one of the construction sites in the CBD. It gives her time to ponder her steps over a coffee, or if she ought to make the move at all. Why does everything always seem worse at night?
No, things really are bad between them. She can’t afford to let the sunshiny brightness outside to sway her thoughts. Their life is a looming thunderous black cloud, threatening to pelt painful bullet-like drops from the sky at any moment.
Her plan, as she worked it out last night, will take months. She needs to build an escape fund so that she can move into a flat of her own. Slowly pack her off-season clothes. Notify work of her new address. And what else was on the list? She had about twelve steps written down, that seemed of utmost importance during the dark, quiet of the night. Now, though, she wonders why she needs to plan at all. Tim’s not violent; she suspects he wants out as much as she does.
Three hours later, her belongings are packed into three suitcases. Her knick-knacks and art and books and cushions and other small items are in boxes at the door, ready to jam into her car. Poised with pen in hand, she writes a note:
Dear Tim, I think we both know we need to end this life together. You’re not happy, I’m not happy. I’ve left you with most of our stuff. I can come back for things over the weekend. I’ve withdrawn $5000 from our joint account for now, and we can work out how to divide the rest later. I’ll be in touch. I’m sorry. Annabelle x
It’s not great, but he’s never placed much stock in prose, so it’ll do. She folds it in half and leaves it on the kitchen bench, next to his bottle opener. He’ll find it as soon as he’s home, given a beer is the first thing he goes for.
She stacks the boxes into her car. The boot resembles a maze of cardboard. Surveying her spacial skills with her hands on her hips, Annabelle is ready to phone Meredith.
‘Hello?’ Meredith answers on the first ring.
‘Hey sis, how are you?’
‘Great. I’ve left Tim. Can I crash with you for a while?’
‘Oh my God, you’ve finally done it! Anniebellsie, I’m so proud of you!’ Meredith’s voice squeaks with excitement, and Annabelle chuckles at the pet name her sister has always called her.
She’s proud of herself, she realises; her sister’s words serve as an authorisation for her to feel it within. She didn’t need that stupid plan. No need for skulduggery and months of planning. Only the balls to admit when she’d made a mistake and move on. Annabelle draws breath, stares at the front of the apartment she’d shared with Tim for three years, and gives it a nod, a silent goodbye.
‘So, can I drive to your place?’
‘You bet! I’m here now, come right over.’
And, as Annabelle does just that, she’s filled with gratitude for life and sisterly love and the ability to start anew. She flicks the sun visor up, to let the sunshiney brightness fill the windscreen of her car and warm her as she begins the next chapter of her life.