6:32 pm Monday, a ten piece puzzle of a broken plate sits on the slate tile floor. The fight is over, Christine’s point was made. Sarah had never been a good listener; it was her defining non-physical trait. Sitting next to the shattered remnants of the first gift she had given Sarah.
Marinara and pasta in water bubbled away on the stove. Christine’s footsteps overhead as she packed her things. Unable to speak, Sarah stares through the patio doors at a Robin in the bath. Splashing and cleaning itself. Why did I do it? I knew what would happen. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, even when I was doing it. ‘No one will find out’ he said.
Sarah’s hand trembling slowly reaches into her dress pocket and pulls out her phone. Thumbs too bloody to unlock the screen, she feebly types 1-2-3-6-5-4. [Text Notification] Mr. Pond: “We are on our way, keep Christine calm until we arrive.”
Calm had long passed, it stood no chance in the face of the photos of Sarah with him. The man whose fault it always was, Father, who never understood Christine no matter how hard he tried. Shrinks, boarding schools, copious amounts of medication, the best lawyers money could buy, and his earnest attempt to love Christine the way she needed never amounted to her being, “OK or normal”.
When Christine and Sarah fell in love he was hesitantly supportive. He was happy she had found love. The worry was, did Sarah know who she loved. They went on to have a blissful honeymoon, “Welcome to the rest of our lives,” said Christine as they crossed the threshold. She was loving then, Christine’s spiral began after they returned to New York and she lost her psychiatrist to a drunk driver. They moved to Vermont to slow life down, adopted 5 rescues: 3 dogs and 2 cats.
The cats were the first to disappear, their tracking chips destroyed, they were gone without a trace. Once the first dog went missing Sarah reached out to Papa Pond as he liked to be called. He came to visit that weekend, and every weekend after.
Two weeks ago she accused him of trying to steal Sarah from her. Christine’s rage was hardly contained by their home. She demanded he leave and never come back to town, “If I see you again, I’ll end your overlookable existence, and if I see you with Sarah again, I’ll kill her too.”
That Saturday, Sarah came home to police around the house assessing the damage Christine‘s Father had caused. Sarah held Christine as she cried about what a horrible manipulating man he was.
This past Sunday, while Sarah perused the farmers market Papa Pond convinced her to talk. Sarah called Christine to ask her to pick her up two hours, “I want to see little Aaron in the school play, I’d ask you to come but I know you hate them.” Papa Pond and Sarah went for lunch and the play went on without Aunt Sarah’s attendance. He explained Christine’s sorted past and apologized for not doing so sooner.
At minute five of their twenty-minute ride home, Sarah mentions that while she was waiting to be picked up, Papa Pond called and seemed sorry and ready to apologize for everything he had done.
“If he comes near me or you, he’s dead,” Christine said as plain as white rice, “Also do you remember how I joked about chipping you when we got really drunk at Tasha’s party and you passed out and came to on her vet table… Yeah, that wasn’t a joke.. So if you run I’ll find you. But you’re not thinking about running you love me.. People in love never leave each other… They never lie to each other. Right sweetie?”
“No, I would never leave you,” reassures Sarah, as she stares out the window and allows NPR to fill the silence rest of the ride home. Christine holds Sarah’s hand with all the gentle love she can muster, eye contact, smiles, and each set of eyes return to their window.
Once at home Sarah starts on dinner. Aware that she wouldn’t get far she sent Papa Pond, [Text Message] “911 I don’t feel safe come as soon as you can!” then deleted the message.
“I’m going to see Tony about getting your car fixed. Be back in 30,” shouts Christine as she skipped out the door. Tony was a mechanic by day and Private Investigator by moonlight. They met two miles from her home. He unwittingly handed over Sarah and Papa Pond’s death note in the form of a photo.
Ten minutes later, Christine’s ’97 Subaru Outback pulls up their driveway, her door slams. Unaware, Sarah begins to set the table for dinner; holding up the black plate with “I Love Juice” written in lavender calligraphy as her memories of ‘the picturesque day Christine bought it for her at the flea market on their third date. The sunlight through her voluminous blonde hair flowing in th.’ A shot rang out. The force slammed Sarah back. The counter shook. The plate drops. Clutching the hole in her stomach she slowly slides to the floor.
Christine flies up the front staircase. In their room, she packs clothes and jewelry in a duffle bag. Her
Papa Pond arrives with the local authorities, she fires from the bedroom window hitting an officer, and the rest light the house up like a Christmas tree. There is the sound of a sack of potatoes hitting the floor in their bedroom above. Sarah slumped on the floor staring at “Love” intact in front of her face; as the firing dies down so does she.