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Somewhere Safe--Part 7
Days passed. I was released from the hospital, if you could call it that. My nights and days were spent at the hospital where Gavin was held. The only thing that had changed was that I was wearing faded jeans and a baggy red sweatshirt instead of a floral nightgown. Everything else, it seemed, stayed the same. The nurses cheery smile when I came by every day, the Christmas lights shining, the carolers from high schools coming to sing to the children down the hall, the Christmas calendar in the lobby reminding me of the holiday that was nearing. And just how long I’ve been here.
“ Hey, Kathrin?”
I spun around to find Joe and his wife, Susan, in the doorway of room 206.
I smiled but it was fake and we both knew it. But what difference did it make? Everything was fake these days. “Hey Joe, Susan. Why are you here?”
Joe physically flinched and instantly looked uncomfortable. “I...ah…want to…um…”
Susan sighed and looked at me sadly. “ He wants to question you about that night. “
“Oh.” I had forgotten in all of this grief that Joe was a friend and among many other things that could describe him, a police officer.
“I’m sorry I have to do this but-“
I waved him off. “I understand.”
I looked back at Gavin, silently promising him I’d be back later then headed out of the hospital.
The drive there was awkward and silent, but that was ok. Talking was something that would be done later and it would hurt, going back, but I’d do it, for the sake of sanity.
We entered the station and were greeted with curious glances and few muttered hellos. It’s not easy, I realized, walking through a sea of faces that I couldn’t match with a name, all judging me, knowing what happened wasn’t just a single act of violence, but a boiling point.
Joe sat in the blue leather chair that I bought for him last Christmas and I prayed that he’d give me some mercy.
His pudgy fingers drummed the table as he said, “Ok so I'm going to ask you some questions about that night and before that. You can't just nod or shake your head; you have to answer and Kathrin?"
I looked up. Joe looked at me with sad brown eyes that read I'm sorry. I knew that emotion so well that I could teach a class on the topic.
“If you want me stop the tape just say."
I nodded. My insides were shaking fiercely and my confidence was slipping away faster than I would have liked. I stood tall in my seat as Joe pressed the play button on the little black recorder that would catch every mistake I had made that night and before that. I wiggled in my seat and blew out a concealed breath.
"Can you tell us your name?"
"Your maiden name?"
“Miss Clark,” I opened my mouth to correct him, to say that my name was Mrs. Dickinson not Miss Clark, but then I remembered just how much had changed in that one night. “ What, exactly, happened that night?”
I opened my mouth to tell him but nothing came to mind. Or rather to mouth. I had everything Joe needed stuck in the cobweb in the back of my brain along with the other things I had tried to forget.
I looked down as if trying to humble myself or maybe make me invisible and shook my head.
Joe cocked his head sideways. “ Miss Clark?”
I chose to play with the fragments of memories that I had and carefully and cautiously piece them into something that would hurt much less, fool myself into thinking that it was someone else’s horror story.
“I kept glancing back, making sure he hadn’t followed me. I know that sounds stupid, but it is a nagging habit that I couldn’t seem to shake. I twisted the finger that once held my wedding band…”