Dare to Tell – Day 5 – Linda’s Story
He wanted us to move. He had a dream about a house in a well to-do neighborhood. He had plans.
My dreams were right here. I loved the village we lived in, the friend’s my kids had made, the proximity to everything I needed. He was insistent and I kept going back and forth, who was I to spoil his dream? And yet, we went on and on; I tried to dissuade him, he tried to insist. I was wavering.
Then Mary came to stay.
I hadn’t seen her for 20 years, but we had always kept in touch. She’d said she would come to visit one day. And finally that day had arrived.
It was just like old times. We chatted and laughed and caught up. We spent a few days getting back to how close we once were.
I told her about the house. She said I should tell him how I really feel. But I kept making excuses for why I ought to just agree and get it over with. I remember she shrugged, you should tell him.
Mary decided to go on a day trip. She was nervous but I arranged everything for her and just as the train was about to pull out of the station, I jumped over the bars and shoved my cell phone into her hand. Just in case.
When it rang later that night I was worried and a bit annoyed. She said she’d be back already. I’d made a really nice dinner and told the kids not to touch the strawberries; I wanted Mary to taste them.
It was the police. We should come right away. They’d explain when we got there.
I gathered a few of Mary’s things, her pyjamas and slippers, her handbag, the cigarettes she’d asked me to buy for her. We got into the car and along the way he called a few of the hospitals to see if a foreign woman had been admitted.
He kept saying to me, it doesn’t sound good, it doesn’t sound good.
There were witnesses. She got off the train. She walked out of the station towards the bus-stops. She had raised her hand, let out a small cry and dropped to the ground. Lots of people had run to her. She was already dead.
She was 49 years old. My friend from school; finally came to visit. She was dead.
The police kept telling me to sit down. I don’t want to fucking sit down.
I had to identify the body, Mary’s body.
And as I filled out the forms, called her brother, spoke to the Embassy, made all the arrangements, I kept thinking about the damn house.
We’re not moving, I said to him. There’s no more discussion. Life is too short.
That was Mary’s gift to me.