Karen climbed over a fence to get to Martin’s back yard.
Fuck you! was Karen’s answer to the ghost of Frank she assumed she was only imagining. She guessed she was supposed to remember when she couldn’t even crawl out of her storage unit and feel grateful for the miracles wrought by modern medicine.
But she didn’t.
She looked around. The light was soft on a garden that, though now grievously overgrown, was still sweet. She made out primroses; she’d loved Martin’s primroses. He’d told her they were as prim and proper as those in his mum’s garden in Kent. She guessed she should feel something. A twinge for the long-lost innocence and simplicity of her life? Or even fury at Martin for killing Frank who was, after all, the love of her life?
She didn’t feel a thing.
That funny rock. Still there. She lifted it just enough to retrieve the key to Martin’s back door underneath. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, a name resonated through her head:
Nothing more. Just the name.
Why had that cop who told Karen she was going to get out of the hospital…and that that emergency worker was going to drop the charges for some mysterious reason…asked her so much about Marie, even for her address?
Karen shrugged it aside and tried the key in Martin’s back door. At first it didn’t work, but wiping off more dirt did the trick. At last she was in, scurrying around till she found that Martin had stashed her suitcase, her purse, and most of the clothing she’d had no time to put back on when she rushed out the back door, in a closet. She dragged it all out, into the middle of the living room floor where she’d left it when she fled to escape Frank, and collapsed into the mustard-colored cushions of one of Martin’s vintage Danish Modern armchairs. It had been so very long ago:
Frank cheating on her with her best, friends-forever friend Marie.
Leaving the apartment she’d shared with Frank with only what she could get to that accursed storage unit she’d signed up for with Irwin and this suitcase she’d brought to temporarily move in with her friends-with-benefits Martin.
Frank kicking the door in while she and Martin were exploring their “benefits.”
Her fleeing half naked out the back door and running to her storage unit.
Martin and Frank following…
But none of it mattered now. She rifled through her purse…plenty of money…then grabbed her phone for the first time in forever. The battery, of course, was dead. Charger in her suitcase, but what was this: another phone in her suitcase, not hers? She turned it over in her hand. The case said “Jennifer.” Then she noted a whole bunch of boxes in the room that hadn’t been there before, marked “stuff.”