Rachael thought about the first time she saw him.
His good looks couldn’t hide the bad he had done.
She wanted to save him, and for a while she did, until
it was her that needed saving–and that’s when he left.
It was almost five years before she saw him again;
and, by then, she had grown to believe that his leaving
is what saved her. She still can’t recall how she ended
up at a gallery opening downtown or if she knew he
would be there, but later that evening–without the
burden of small talk or regret–they spent the night
together; a night that almost twelve years later,
she still thought about.
Why now? she wondered. How did he find me?
Rachael’s husband knew little of her past. In his eyes,
her life began when they first met: Her friends were
mostly their friends, and in the scheme of things,
she didn’t know any of them very well.
Over the years, she occasionally heard his name
mentioned at dinner parties and when she got home
she would search for him online, and think about the
crooked scar between his shoulder blades and the
way he lowered his head when he smiled.
The phone was still in Rachael’s hand.
“Ma’am?” the operator asked for the second time.
Rachael could see the dust on the stairs.
Yesterday, she would have probably fetched the
vacuum cleaner and end up cleaning the whole
house–and likely gone to the market afterwards
to buy fresh flowers. But, not today. Instead, she
took the clips out of her hair and looked in the mirror.
Considering it was the first time she had seen
herself that morning, she was not unhappy with
what she saw.
‘I accept the charges,’ she said to the operator.
Rachael could hear the distance in the crackling
line, but not in his voice.
His good looks
he would be
his eyes, his name, his shoulder blades, his head