A Kiss Before Leaving

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“How did he get you there? What did he say to you?”

“Amazingly, it didn’t take much. I was mesmerised by his antics. I often went to strange places with him without knowing why. I enjoyed the excitement. The building was boarded up, but he got me in, and we went up in the cargo lift to the top floor. The only thing on that floor was an old metal table and one chair. I looked around trying to work out what the game was going to be when he cuffed one of my wrists and dragged me to the chair. I thought this might be a sex game — something to spice things up a bit, so I went along with it.”

“Did he tie you to the chair?”

“No. He put my hands behind me and handcuffed my other hand through the back of the chair. My legs were free, and I could easily have stood up and taken the chair with me. I was smiling in anticipation. I moved my knees apart to show him I was ready to play.”

“So, what happened?” Certain parts of me were enjoying the story, even though the rest of me knew how this all ended.

“He produced a photograph from his jacket and put it on the table. I looked at the grainy black, and white image and I could recognise myself talking to a man. The shot must have been taken with a long lens — very long.”

“A black and white photo, like the ones in the vault?”

“Yes. He didn’t say anything, he just looked at me. I was embarrassed, but also mad. I knew he was sleeping with other women, so why was he making such a big deal out of this?”

“Ego, lady. Blokes run two separate rulebooks — one for them and one for you and the one for you does not leave room for fucking anyone but him.”

“He told me the building was going to be demolished in two days and he would leave me there if I didn’t give him all the intimate details. At first, I thought he was joking, but then he began hitting me and screaming at me. I screamed back, and he laughed, ‘No one will hear your screams my darling. Not way up here.’  I knew he was right and I knew he was crazy enough to go through with it. My fate was in my hands.”

“Your husband was nuts, you know that. Don’t you? And you encouraged him. What the fuck did you think was going to happen? Sooner or later something like this was inevitable.”

“He was threatening to leave, and I got really frightened. He walked towards me and said, ‘A kiss before leaving’. He bent down to kiss me, and I brought my knee up under his chin. It didn’t happen like it does in the movies. I heard the crack as his teeth came together and he gracefully buckled at the knees and fell down. He’d made a show of throwing the handcuff key out the window, but I know how his mind works. It was complicated, but I went through his pockets by lying on the floor next to him. My knees and elbows were scraped and bleeding, but I got free, and when I left him he was breathing and out cold. He must have come to and tried to get down the stairs — I jammed the cargo elevator on the ground floor. I guess he stumbled in the dark and fell again.”

“They found his body where the stair shaft was. That makes sense.”

“I didn’t mean to kill him, I just wanted to escape.”

“And when he didn’t come home?”

“I didn’t go home. I went and stayed with friends. They saw the state of me, and I told them I’d been mugged. It took a bit of talking to stop them from going to the police.”

“Didn’t your friends piece it all together after your husband went missing?”

“No. They believed my story, and so did everyone else.”

“So, what happens now? Do I get the equivalent of the knee under the chin?

“You said it yourself, there is no proof that any of this happened and I don’t think you are going to tell anyone, and even if you did, your boss wouldn’t let you print it. I still have the photos that my husband took. I don’t think he would want anyone to see them.”

She was right — I couldn’t prove any of it, and I don’t think I wanted to. This situation was way out of hand, and I was in deeper than I wanted to be. My mind was racing, and all I wanted was an out. My old life seemed safe and secure, and I was wondering why I strayed so far. No sense bitching about it — I’m a grown up — I make my own decisions.

This wasn’t going anywhere good, and I was along for the ride — it serves me right.

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