And Back Again
For the first two weeks, I was never left alone. Not for a minute, not for a second. Not long enough for PK to go to the store, or even to the bathroom. If he went to the bathroom, he took the phone with him. If he had to go to the store, I had to go too. I just tucked my head down and behaved myself. I didn’t do anything that would rock the boat, nothing to indicate that I was anything other than a repentant runaway. But I was. I was planning again.
The first time PK left me alone, I moved too quick. I was taking a bath, and no sooner did I hear his truck crunch out of the driveway than I was out of the bathtub, seizing the phone, and calling my dad again.
What? I checked the battery. No battery. I dug out an old plug in normal phone…no dial tone. What the hell?
I went out on the porch, looked at where the phone wires came into the house. I’m not going to lie son, I am pretty hopeless about cables and wires and hooking things up. I couldn’t tell if it was hooked up or not. I went back inside. I knew that I was caught, it was just a matter of time until PK came back.
As soon as he walked in the door, I watched him dully as he pulled the phone battery out of his pocket, and with a smug look at me, went outside and plugged one end of the wires into a outlet on the outside of the house. Then he came back in, gloated at me for a minute, picked up the old-ass plug in phone, and hit redial.
I closed my eyes. Done. I moved too soon! When would I learn patience?
I let his harangue wash over me, just nodding at the appropriate parts, otherwise not really paying attention. I almost wished he would hit me or something, just to jolt me out of this apathetic stupor. Instead I think my lack of response somehow satisfied him, because at length he shut up. Or perhaps he was a little afraid of overdoing it…you know, push the bitch too hard and she might just snap.
I went to bed.
We visited his mother a few days later. We sat on her couch with PK’s arm draped over my shoulder. I was idly occupying myself with thoughts of how long it might take before PK’s boss wanted him back to work, and who I would enlist to help me. I was planning what I would take with me, this time I knew I would be lucky just to make it out of that house with myself and some clothes on my back.
I almost missed it when his mother said, proudly, “You guys look great together. 2N, it really seems like you’ve settled down. You seem more comfortable together than I have ever seen you.”
I went back to planning.
Spitfire was the one I finally decided would help me. Spitfire was a petite, permed, platinum blonde with big blue eyes and cute as a button. Spitfire worked with me at Safeway. She was my only friend, only my friend, and I knew that she and her husband, HellsAngel, would help me out.
Finally PK had to go back to work. He wasn’t going to let me go back to work, and we couldn’t very well pay the bills with the two of us sitting at home staring at each other. The first day, after he left, I was lying in bed luxuriating in being alone. Really, really alone.
Have you ever listened to silence? It sounds odd, but when you are constantly in the presence of someone, especially someone as inimical as PK was, you actually notice the silence. It’s like a big down comforter of peace and quiet that you can just fall into and snuggle it around you. You hear things like birds, and dogs barking, and the wind, and the sun, and all the sounds of freedom, of people who don’t have to look over their shoulders…just in case someone is there.
To this day, I can’t stand to be around someone too much. I treasure my alone time and my freedom like a blind man would treasure the gift of sight. It’s put a crimp on many a relationship throughout my life.
The phone rang.
“What are you doing back here?” It was Tricksy. I was dumbfounded. How had he known? To this day I still don’t know if he guessed, or if someone told him, or maybe he was watching my house, I don’t know. Maybe there really was some kind of crazy psychic connection between us, I don’t know. But suddenly my apathy broke and I started sobbing. I told him the whole stupid story, about my mom and PK and ending up in Tacoma, and ultimately back in ShitFuckTown.
Finally he asked, “When are you leaving?”
“As soon as I can get ahold of Spitfire.”
“I’ll have her call you, OK? Hang in there.”
Spitfire called two days later. PK was sitting on the couch, watching TV and me, while Spitfire spoke in my ear. Rapidly, as if afraid of being overheard, she told me to pretend it was someone else and that she would make some plans and call me back during the day. Was he at work during the day? Did he come home for lunch? Did I have all my stuff I wanted to take?
I pretended it was one of the waitresses from the Chinese restaurant. I answered her questions with “Yes” or “No”, and hung up. I invented an entire conversation, telling PK that my friend BitchAndAHalf from the restaurant had heard I was back in town and was seeing how I was doing. Inside, I was singing.
Spitfire picked me up in the afternoon. I took a crate of books and two garbage bags of clothes and shoes. The plan was that we would go to her house until my dad could come get me. Her husband HellsAngel was out of work and would stay with me at home until my dad got there. We figured it would take a week or so.
I was afraid. I refused to go near the windows, in fact HellsAngel made sure I didn’t. We kept all the shades drawn so you couldn’t see inside the house, not even by accident. I was forbidden from going outside, not to get the mail, not to have a cigarette, nothing.
I talked with Tricksy a couple times. He wanted to know how I was doing, asking when my dad was going to be there. Telling me he missed me and that he wished we would have met in different circumstances. I agreed, but wasn’t really worried about it. Thinking about getting home, away from ShitFuckTown forever, was all I could think about.
Three days passed. My father would be there in two more days.
Next: chapter twelve.