“It’s just a key,” Thomas said, rolling away from me onto his left side.
“But where did it come from?” I asked, turning it over between my fingers. I’d never seen the key before. It was as foreign to me as a small dark-skinned child holding a dirty bowl and shoveling maggot-infested rice into his mouth. I cringed and dropped the key.
Clanking onto the hardwood, I was reminded of how much I hated hardwood floors in the bedroom. I wanted my feet to luxuriate in the comfort of thick carpeting. Was that too much to ask? I mean, really? But no, Thomas’ asthma wouldn’t allow it. Why was it always about him? He even made me throw away the stuffed elephant I slept with. I’d slept with that elephant every night since the time I was in the hospital when I was eight. He didn’t care about that. No, he just cared about his own breathing. Damn him.
I reached down to retrieve the mystery key and noticed the note card. I’d shoved it under my slippers the night before; frightened he’d read it and go ballistic on me. I was reading it and didn’t hear him sneak in to the bedroom. That’s like him. Sneaky. Anyway, the only thing that saved me was the light bulb. It burned out just in time. Poof. Darkness. He didn’t notice the note.
Cautiously, I lifted the card from under my tattered slipper and opened it.
You know I’ll always love you. Meet me when the calendar reveals a new moon. You have the key.
The key! That’s it. It must have slipped from inside the note. I clutched it to my chest and felt my heartbeat through the cold metal. A lifeline, I thought. A way out.
I clutched the note and the key, and headed for my desk in the dining room. Grabbing the calendar from the wall, I flipped the page and let my index finger fall on the date of the invisible moon. The date I would be free. At last.
Best known as Pittsburgh-based blogger, Green Grandma, writer and voice-over talent, Hana Haatainen-Caye divides her time between the written and spoken word. In addition to short stories, she's also the author of over 90 children's books published through iMarvel. www.greengrandma.org