Monday morning, I took Lindsay to school then went back to the house. Matthew had brought up a few empty boxes from his basement.
“I don't really have that much stuff.”
“You should take anything you can, Alexis. Who knows how long the divorce will take?”
I drove the SUV to Kent's house and Matthew followed me. I went in through the side door. There were dishes in the sink and I instinctively walked over to clean them up. I stopped myself, shaking my head. I wasn't there for that.
“Where should I start?” he asked from behind me.
“Let's go upstairs. You can start on Lindsay's room. Pack all of her clothes first. Then if we have room, we can take some of her toys. I'll get my clothes.”
I didn't take all my clothes. There were some things Kent had bought me that I knew I never wanted to see again. I took only the jewelry I had when we got married. I took off my wedding ring and left it on the bureau.
Matthew peeked in. “I have all her clothes. I'm not sure which toys to take.”
I went back to her room and put some things on the bed for him to pack. Then I went to the bathroom and collected all my toiletries.
“Alexis? I was thinking. Maybe you should leave the SUV here. If someone you know sees you going to my house they may tell Kent.”
“What would I do for a car?”
“You can use mine to go back and forth to work. Bryce can pick me up on days when I'm working.”
I shook my head, “I don't know. That's sweet of you to offer, but I couldn't inconvenience you like that.”
“It's OK. I'll survive. And maybe in a few weeks we can look around for a used car for you.”
He packed up the jeep with the boxes while I gathered my medical records. I thought I might need them for the trial. Then I went into Kent's office. He had all the drawers to his desk locked. I knew where the key was. I went through the bank statements and pulled out some older ones. The attorney had said as long as I had the account numbers, he could find out what he needed to know for the settlement. I also found the life insurance policies and some other documents I knew would be helpful.
It pained me to think it had all come to this. Me: secretly stealing bits of information so I could be rid of the man that had caused me endless pain and suffering. I had tried to behave, tried to please him in any way I could. It was never enough. I was never enough. A tear slid down my cheek.
“Are you OK?”
“Huh? Oh. Yeah.” I let out a heavy sigh. “I'm glad you're here. I'm not sure I could have done this alone.”
“You'll never have to be alone again.” He leaned over and kissed the top of my head. It was a small gesture of affection yet it meant so much more.
There were a few other things I decided to take, nothing big or expensive: pictures of Lindsay, a ballerina figurine that my mother had given to me many years before, a few cassettes and CD's that he never listened to, and the clock on the kitchen wall that a friend had given us for a wedding present. They were the only things that meant anything to me anymore.
We drove back to his house and unpacked all the boxes. I knew Lindsay would be happy that she had more of her own toys to play with. I had also taken a couple of her Wii games and her pink CD player.
“You didn't take much for yourself,” he said as he helped me unpack.
“Material things are not important to me.” I sat on the floor next to a box and pulled out a few items. “As long as I have Lindsay, a roof over my head, and a few clothes, I don't need anything else.”
“Well, now you have a friend too.”
“Thanks Matthew. I really do appreciate everything you've done for me. I hope someday to pay you back.”
“You don't have too. Just seeing you and your daughter safe is enough.”
I sat back on my heels. “Where did you come from?”
“That's not what I meant.” I paused, running my index finger over the curves of my glass ballerina. “It was like you came into our lives just to save us.”
“Maybe I did. I dunno. Maybe I'm the one who needs saving.”
He shook his head. “Nothing. I'm going to go make some coffee. Want some?”
He disappeared leaving me wondering. What could he possibly need saving from? And what did happen to his wife and daughter? I wanted to know. I wanted to ask. I knew it wasn't my place and I didn't want to pressure him or push him away by asking. I hoped in time he would feel comfortable enough to tell me.
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