Yet still she stayed, living from day to day in a kind of limbo, the decision made and unmade a hundred times a day. What if the miscarriage was her fault? What if it was her punishment for not telling him? What if she got pregnant again? What if that made him worse? She packed bags and unpacked them again, keeping the essentials to hand but never quite taking them out of the door. And then that day, the day of the black Ford, without even thinking about it the decision was made. The margin was perilously small, large parts of her mind were wavering still but she ignored them. The die was cast; she was leaving. Pack a bag, write a note, walk out the door. Easy as ABC.
She wrote the note in haste lest her hand should betray her, not even bothering with punctuation. Im leaving goodbye. Three words; they seemed so small and inadequate – but that summed up their years together. She was never enough for him, always fell short, always made him angry – well, no more. She locked the door and as a final, no-going-back gesture pushed the key through the letterbox. The car was still there in His space, the sticker flashing from the rear: LEAVE MEANS LEAVE. She took it as a sign.
Deep in her bag she kept the one thing she had of the lost child, a photo from the scan. To give her strength she took it out and looked at it once more; the two round forms of head and body, the tiny white marks of its just-forming bones. Feeling the grinding fractures in her forearms she’d fiercely promised the unknown child that no-one would ever harm a single one of those tiny bones. No baby would ever be his. No. The no sounded in the bone, hollow and resonant; it was a decision taken in the very marrow. No going back.
In any case, she reasoned – as though broken bones weren’t reason enough – there was hardly room even for her in that place, let alone a baby. His stuff was everywhere and he didn’t like her tidying. Knew where everything was. Got cross if she moved things. It was his flat, wasn’t it; he paid the rent, didn’t he? Didn’t he have any rights? And so on. She felt tired just thinking of it. And with a baby on the way they’d have had to move anyway – and would he even have been glad? Probably, not glad to be a father but glad because a baby would be another tie keeping her with him, another reason for her not to leave. She put the photo away and headed for the police station.