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Crunch Time
by Angelica Fuse


My daughter giggles in the other room, and that’s fine until she gets too quiet.  Then I have to check on her.  That’s how I know she’s in trouble, that’s how I know she’s like me.  She’ll start school next year, go into the wider world.

Rod is downstairs finishing the coffee up.  He’ll do for now, but just for now.

Today is the day I decide, waiting on the phone call.  Do I go back to what I’ve always known, what’s easy, to the land of Egypt?  Or do I step forward into a new life?  A runner's life?

“I’m sorry,” the voice tells me in my mind.  “You’re not right for this.”  That’s what I’m preparing myself for.

I haven’t told Rod this yet, but this is it.  If I get this, I’m gone, taking our little girl with me.  I finally decided the night he pulled the steak knife on us.

He leaves for work without saying a word.  It will be at least an hour before the phone rings, at least an hour before they told me they would call.

“What’s you doing?” my daughter asks.  I didn’t even know she had left her room.

“Waiting,” I tell her.

We’re about to be on our own.  It’s when I hear his truck outside refusing to turn over that I know the day won’t go as planned.  I know that this is down to the wire, I’m burning inside, got to make a decision.

I think about the gleaming row of knives like teeth in the kitchen as he walks back in, cursing at me for ruining his truck even though I’ve never driven it.



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