In a lovely dream …
Coming out of the tunnel with the Baltimore harbor receding into the background, sunlight glittered on the water in patches of bright silver. Kitty watched out the bus window at the vast expanse of water, the gray ships – navy vessels, although Kitty didn’t know that – freighters loaded with huge cranes lowering giant boxes onto piers, barges, and tugboats, all of it a mix of imagery that made Kitty think that her little world had been less than a speck of dust on this earth. And now that she had left that miniscule life behind, what would she find?
“You sure are a mystery to me. You know?” Alva said, shading her eyes from the sudden bright sunlight.
“Me?” Kitty asked.
“Of course. See here, from the way you tell it, you was practically a prisoner of that man. How come you got away now? I mean why did you stay so long? That ain’t no fun, especially for a young woman. And you attractive at that.”
“You think so?” Kitty was again surprised.
“Sure you attractive. Every woman’s attractive in some way. She just gotta find out in what way her particular womanhood is meant to be expressed.”
“I used to wonder about things when I was in the grocery store. I’d look at those magazines by the checkout and I never dared buy one, because he looked at every bill and he would see anything that wasn’t on the original list. Once his son brought home a comic book and hid it under his sheets. I never saw it but I heard the fight they had about it and he locked his son in his room for a week until he apologized. After that I never even looked at the magazines anymore.”
“You was a prisoner like in one of them cults.”
“Don’t make no never mind. What I want to know is how you come to the decision to break out – to leave him?”
“I think maybe it started one day when I drove home a different way because there was an accident and the main road was blocked. I passed by the library for the first time. It was only two miles from our house but I never knew. So when he was out of town, I walked there – to the library.
“I went in and just sat down and started to read what was on the table in the sitting area. It was some magazine about traveling to islands. They looked so pretty. I was just amazed. So I went back every day I could. And then when I got up some nerve I walked to where they keep all the books and … well it was like I was in a lovely dream where the world was holding out hope for me in the form of a big forest full of pages swaying in the wind. And in the dream I was not afraid anymore.”
“I been through things like that. You be going along with your life. Then you meet someone. With me it was always some man. And then all of sudden you look around and say – wow, girl, when did this happen? You in some situation, and you don’t even know how it is you got there. Lord, lord, do I only know? So what happened with you?”