I will never forget October 21. From the floor of the van, I could look up and see the rain clouds rolling in. My heart dropped. I got up and pulled on my camo hoodie. Stepping outside, I stretched and watched the final ray of sun fade behind the clouds. Every bone in my body hurt from sleeping in the van.
Fall was in the air but bringing an early hint of winter, and at the worst possible time. It was the first time in 32 years, I was not going to be able to enjoy Fall. I should have been home decorating for Halloween and shopping for a costume. Every year his mom hosted big Halloween parties. She worked at the local Halloween store and the previous year she treated us to free costumes that were worth hundreds of dollars. We looked stunning in our Joker and Harley Quinn costumes. This year he was going to be a Pirate and I was going to be his Elizabeth Swann.
I stood there in the parking lot wearing cut-off shorts, cowgirl boots, and a hoodie. That's how I left the house last night. I needed to go to the restroom, but I was so embarrassed at how I looked. I pulled my phone from my pocket and checked my screen for the latest weather update.
Rainy and 37 tonight. I shivered at the thought. I was literally going to freeze tonight. I had seen an old blanket in the van that "He" and I had kept in here for fishing. It would be better than nothing. And I needed to find it before going to the restroom.
I turned to open the van door when an arm reached around my neck and waist and pulled me tight. What happened next was utterly awful. My bladder was full and my nerves were shot. I felt the urine soak my legs.
"Focus. Focus... !"
The voice startled me back to reality.
"Ahem." I cleared my throat.
The lady shuffled some papers.
"I am Miss Calleb." She reached across the desk to shake my hand. A picture of her and assumed to be significant other sat between us in a fancy gold frame. A happy, smiling couple arm in arm. I felt nauseous.
Miss Calleb stood up and walked to the filing cabinet. The cabinet drawer rolled open. Miss Calleb flipped her hair back out of the way and with her long, manicured nails flipped through some folders with a soft clickety-clack of the nails. I admired her long slender legs that ended in a pair of dark, brown, high heels. Her skirt stopped just above the knees. She wasn't thick enough to interest my husband. And she certainly didn't look adventurous enough.
I must've smirked aloud. Miss Calleb turned to me.
"You ok?" She asked.
"Yes, I am fine." I am fine, just obsessed with my husband cheating. Obsessed with the fact you are wearing the nice long nails he always had me get every few months to satisfy his twisted fantasy. But yes, I am perfectly fine.
"Well before you came in I made several calls. Unfortunately, my hands are tied to an extent." She closed the folder and placed her hands over her face as if she were going to cry.
"I'm so frustrated with the system." Her long, pink nails shimmered in the florescent lighting as she stroked them through her hair, pulling it back away from her face. She leaned back in her chair and let out a sigh.
I couldn't help but wonder why she didn't pin it back if her hair annoyed her so much
"I don't know what I can do for you now!" She said exasperated. "I don't want you back in that van. The shelters are much too shady for women to be in. And I certainly don't want you anywhere out there where he can have access to you." much
"It's not your fault Miss Calleb." Tears slowly swelled in my eyes.
" Listen. I am not done trying. " Miss Calleb closed the folder. "Even with your medical reports, there are not enough outstanding issues to warrant you staying here after the three-day intake."
"What about the PTSD screening?"
"Even if with that, C-PTSD is often done in a therapy setting."
"So I am not crazy enough to be here. Even though really I am. I was crazy enough to fall for his crap." I literally had to laugh. "I was the idiot to get myself in this mess and it's my responsibility to get myself out of it."
" You've got too much potential to throw your life away like this." She said. " Bad things happen to good people. It's life, Focus. You've to roll with it."
" I know." I shifted in my seat. The pills I had taken that morning were wearing off and I was getting antsy.
Miss Calleb got up and sat on the edge of her desk facing me. It was hard not to notice her bosom beneath the white, tight blouse that was unbuttoned to the 4th one. I bet the boys loved having interviews with her.
Stop it! I ordered myself.
I cleared my throat and glanced past her.
"I just want to go home and sleep," I said. "But I don't have my home anymore. Or a car."
" And I'd love more than anything for you to be able to go home, but not with that monster." Miss Calleb leaned over and gently squeezed my shoulder. I closed my eyes. She smelled so good. So good and expensive. It had been years since I had had that luxury.
"Well, for now, let's just try to get to you to re4lax as much as you possibly can the next few days. Just know I will be doing all I can behind the scenes."
"A warm bed will be so nice." I forced a smile.
The office door opened.
A pudgy, plain-looking lady walked in. I could tell I was going to despise her. She looked at me.
"Your scrubs are in your room. Room C7." She paused for a breath. "When you leave here take a left and the next left to C7."
She nodded at Miss Calleb and left.