Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Don't Look for Me by Wendy Walker

Author:Wendy Walker
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group


Day fourteen

Mick does not come home. This is the first time he has not been home all day and now, apparently, all evening.

He must be comfortable with me, with the way I am with Alice. And, of course, he is always watching.

But then I think that he does not want to be here. That he is still hunting for whatever he lost when the woman who lived here before me died.

“I’m hungry,” Alice says. She reaches her arm through the bars and I take her hand and press it to my lips.

“I know, sweetheart. Do you want to tell me what there is in the kitchen and I can teach you how to make something?”

She hangs her head, chin to chest, but then raises her narrowed eyes so I can still see them. Her lips disappear under her teeth and her nose scrunches. I call this expression of hers Angry Face. I don’t say this out loud, but I make a note of it, and also what makes it come, and what makes it leave.

“I don’t have any better ideas, but if you do I will try to help you with them,” I say.

Now she crosses her arms and huffs. I try not to laugh, but it is amusing. I haven’t been amused for a very long time. Maybe even for years. There is a new power stirring inside me that has given this impulse of being amused some latitude. Some room to breathe.

“Did he tell you what to do in case of an emergency?” I ask now. “For example, if you got sick, or if there was a fire? Is there a way to reach him? I can help you study and play with you from inside my room, but that’s about it,” I say.

She uncrosses her arms. Angry Face softens, becomes whimsical, mischievous. She tilts her head and pushes one shoulder, always the right one, a little ahead of her chest. This is Coy Face. She knows a secret and she wants me to get it out of her.

Nicole had this face by the time she was four. Annie didn’t have it until she was six or seven, and even then it was more playful than precocious. Evan never had it. My only boy, but I could read him like a book.

I have had time to think these past fourteen days, and not just about the man and Alice and my plan. I think about why I am here, and that perhaps I have finally been sentenced for my crime. I am finally being punished. This has done something to me, shifted my insides.

With this shift has come a reversal of how I had come to see my own daughters. Annie the good girl. Nicole the bad girl. We are not supposed to do that. Parents. Good parents. But I have stopped pretending that I am one. I hate the person Nicole has become these past few years. If I met her on the street, I would thank God she was not my child.


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