(Excerpt from Coffee Please)
Six inch squares. She folded the tees into six-inch squares, aligned in a small stack. “Flush and grounded” was the term the Air Force taught her and she applied the technique this morning. She scurried to her van, parked in the dim garage with the hatch open in back. Inside the back of the car sat an open duffel bag that she could easily climb into and disappear. Already packed was the nebulizer, a machine that blew air through a tube with a small cup of medicine, creating a mist of steroids to inhale. This kept her youngest son breathing. Next to the neb was a pacemaker machine, wires with leads to attach to her oldest son’s chest, ensuring his heart held a sturdy beat.
She left the door between the house and the garage open so she could listen for her sleeping children should anyone stir early. Her glance stayed fixed over her shoulder and without looking at the bag, she placed the clothes within. She needed only enough for her and her three boys, enough for a week.
She was preparing the exodus, becoming “mission ready.” Eyes wide and skin drawn taut, she hadn’t slept in weeks. Her cell phone was stuffed under her left arm inside her bra so her husband wouldn’t take and dismantle it again. Beneath her right breast, also tucked in her bra, was a small roll of cash. Crushed in her front pockets of her jeans, which she had been sleeping in for days now, were her car keys, a pocket knife, her driver’s license and a credit card. Her can of mace was deep in her purse. At night, she feigned sleep, lying still, trying not to move before it was time.
“Part the sea for me, God,” she had prayed. She remembered to brush her teeth, but had forgotten to comb her hair. This was indeed her dark time.