There is a cold drizzle coming down. It is raining in my heart. I am sitting in a street underpass in my neighborhood late at night with my 5-year old daughter Mila and 10-year old son Jordan. I pray no dog walker comes along and I have to explain what I am doing here squatted in front of this little fire of twigs we have collected. We are camping out. Sort of. I do not know why I am here except that my husband will be checking all the hotels but he will not be looking here yet. I must be out of my mind. I wonder when he will call the police. Not yet. He has a few cards he wants to play first. He thinks I am pathetically weak and foolish. I'm sure to screw up. I have to think clearly.
I hand out sandwiches and bags of chips to my children. They are giggling. I am glad my son is still a little too young to ask critical questions and little Mila thinks this is all a great adventure. For months, on my long soul-searching walks, I imagined I could find a hiding place in the surrounding terrain, like a lioness trying to find a safe place to stash her cubs. Escape was always on my mind. I know hiding out in a park doesn’t make sense, but I have actually been planning—trying to stay alive.
“Sshh.” I don’t want any passerby to hear us.
They button up their jackets and wiggle into their sleeping bags. “The ground is hard,” Jordan says.
“I promise you a softer bed tomorrow.” I had better figure out where we go from here. I cannot afford to make any mistakes.
to be continued . . .