He kicked her out of the front seat of his car. Her body landing on the paved road and rolling a few meters before she came to a stop against the rear tire of a parked Ford pickup truck. The bruises began to sting as the cold night air kissed the open scars. She knew she was a few blocks from her house. The car kicked into reverse, and it sped toward where he knew he had pushed her out. She quickly rolled behind the truck and hid herself in the darkness. She could hear his boots thumping on the ground, moving away from her in a staggered, stop and search pattern. He was desperate.
“I know you’re out here; you’re a crazy bitch!” he yelled.
She had gotten him good on the side of his face. A wound-up right hand with all the force she could muster, that caused the car to swerve. He responded with a quick elbow that caught her just under her left eye, but she managed to escape the full force of it. The car had slowed enough for her to open the passenger door, and the kick to her backside, or rather the shove with his boot, had catapulted her into the road. She crawled into the bushes behind the house to gain more cover. In the shadow of the hedge, she could see his tall figure, frantically running, and ducking, peering beneath the parked cars and along the sidewalk looking for her. Trevor was a violent fool. But she knew how to handle him. She touched the shiner under her left eye and shrugged off the pain. Nothing a bag of frozen greens won’t fix. He would have a hard time explaining his busted cheek to his wife. She smiled at the thought.
She waited until he had given up his search and drove off before she was brave enough to venture back to the sidewalk. A stray cat walked up to her and rubbed up against her ankle. It startled her.
“Hello handsome.” She bent over to pick it up; it was warm and soft. “Where’d you escape from this hour?… you must be hungry.”
She limped the few blocks back to her home; her left shoe in one hand and in her other arm, she cradled the cat. Every time she passed in the glare of a streetlamp; she would examine the bundle of fur that was now more than willing to be carried. He was a Maine Coon, a bit underweight, but he was gorgeous and would get along well with Sparky, her little pug. The kids would love to have him as a pet. If only her boyfriends were as submissive as her pets. She rubbed the cat next to her face and it purred.
Louisa had arrived in Georgia the New Years Eve of 1988. With Maureen holding her hand she had waited for her ride to come get her, as the fireworks to ring in the new year were lighting up the sky over Atlanta. Already she was falling in love with the city. Maureen seemed to have accepted that Jeremiah Keane was no longer going to be a part of their lives. She was a happy child. The looming shadow of angst was replaced by a restful sleep on the bus ride. She herself had slept sporadically, half expecting Jeremiah to turn up along the journey and drag her kicking and screaming off the greyhound.