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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Drama · #2000782
Two very different women are brought together by a common enemy.
Amy could smell Enya before she saw her. It was the odor of living on the streets, no matter how many times you washed up in a public sink. Home was a shopping cart, covered with plastic garbage bags. Amy knew there was a change of clothes, a coat, a few precious keepsakes, the occasional can of food, blankets, toilet paper, and her calico cat, Hope.

"Hi Sweetie, how's tricks?" Enya greeted her with a warm smile.

"I come bearing gifts," Amy was delighted to see this special comrade.

Amy held a box that Enya could smell. It contained a roast beef and swiss cheese sandwich, corn chips and an eclair. It was Enya's favorite, bought in the museum gift shop. She didn't get such a treat except when Amy met her. She was starving. Today had been unlucky, as far as people's leftovers and dumpster diving went. Hope had scored with a can of Fancy Feast cat food though. The cat was a natural thief, sniffing about until she found something interesting then trying to get at it.

The two women made a strange pair. Amy Trechant was thirty, dressed in vintage scarlet Halston. It was a wool sleeveless lined dress with a matching coat, simple and elegant, worn with pearls. Her hair was shoulder length, dark blonde with shimmering golden highlights. Her bangs almost covered her lovely sapphire eyes. Men usually turned their heads to look, which upset Joe, her overbearing husband.

Enya Mayne was sixty-two with unkempt gray hair, watery blue eyes with yellow sclera, a wandering scarred highway traveled across her forehead and eyes. She had been a beautiful woman at one time. A war had been waged on her body and face. It had left scars from open wounds that hadn't been stitched, broken ribs and other fractures that hadn't been treated properly. Her soul was damaged but she still believed love could heal any pain that evil could unleash.

Their meeting was a standing date, The one place Amy could go for three hours once a week was to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Enya would met her in an alley behind it. They had to watch the time. Joe Trechant must never catch Amy talking to someone that he didn't approve of.

Joe had hired a man to tail Amy. The guy reported the two women speaking and exchanging food. Joe knew his wife was a soft touch, a homeless woman would be just her charity cause. This was a situation that could be handled if he said the word.

Enya had saved Amy a year ago and it was the beginning of a sincere friendship. Amy was coming down the steps from the museum and she fainted. Enya had been close by and actually caught Amy. Another woman was about to call 911 and Enya stopped her. She managed to revive Amy with baby wipes on her face.

Enya had felt Amy's situation in her gut. She checked Amy's ankle, noticing old bruises on her leg but nothing new. Then she noted both old and fresh bruises on Amy's neck under her scarf and coat. Enya knew an emotionally and physically abused woman when she saw one. It was like looking in a mirror.

As Amy came around, she was ready to bolt. Enya tried to give her some orange juice.

"Leave me alone!" she pushed Enya's arm away, "I'm just fine."

"Honey, I'm not going to tell anybody your business. I just wanta help."

"I don't need help."

"Well, you probably do but I know it isn't as easy as folks think. Like tellin you about battered women's shelters and restraining orders. Sometimes well meaning folks cause more trouble. I couldn't get help cause my husband was a cop."

Amy's eyes opened wide as Enya untied a bright purple scarf showing her the careful surgical scars across her own neck, so close to the carotid and jugular.

"Every cut I have has a "politically correct" explanation with records. I think we understand each other, don't we, hon?"
Enya looked directly into Amy's eyes as she nodded her head.

Enya helped Amy over to a bench. Her cell phone went off. Joe's man had seen everything.

"I am fine. I fell but I'm okay. I can get home. I need to sit here a few minutes. Is that all right?"

Enya heard a gruff voice with instructions.

"Please don't do that. I'll call you, okay? I'm sorry I'm late. Please let me come back."

Enya watched with a heavy heart as tears welled up in Amy's eyes. "I always do the wrong thing."

"He has convinced you of that," Enya put a arm around her.
Amy tensed at being touched.

"Let me share a story. I was a pretty girl, only twenty-two, fell in love with this strong hot looking cop with a big family. I was so alone in this city, working as an R.N. in a busy E.R. My parents had died in an auto accident. My Bubba loved Simon and thought he would be perfect for me. I watched him bring in drug addicts, so nice to these troubled sick people. He was my knight in shining armor."
Enya's eyes shined with tears, " I really was pretty then."
She sniffed and continued.

"Turned out he was one of the cops that took graft. I heard things that would've had him killed. There's a network of dirty cops that have no regard for life; his, mine... even our baby son."

"Simon had to show me how he defined respect. He knew I couldn't turn on him so he pistol whipped me. Once he knew he could, it happened regularly. He and I did this dance to keep me in line."

"He made sure he didn't hit where it would show, when I was pregnant he barely touched me. He told me if I breathed a word.....I wouldn't see our son. I knew he meant it."

Amy told Enya she came here every Wednesday night for three hours. It was the only time he let her out of the house. It took three years for him to trust her to do this. He worked from home and he was suffocating her. Occasionally, for business, they had to go out for dinner or parties, then he would clutch her arm and speak for her.

Over the past year, Enya had the chance to care for Amy like a daughter she never had. She feels like she is safer on the streets than Amy is in a penthouse with an abusive lunatic. Enya knows where her husband is and he can't hurt her. She knows too much.

Amy convinced Enya to explore the museum. The two of them had a wondrous time looking at the art and deciding what each piece was "saying". It opened a new world up for Enya who would dream about places she had visited in her imagination. Amy bought her a paint set that had acrylics, brushes and a couple canvases. She hadn't used it yet.

Amy was getting ready to go out. It was a Wednesday and it had been a good week. Joe had been gone quite a bit. He had allowed her to get her hair done and even shop for some clothes. He had given her instructions about the length of her dresses and nothing low cut. She stood in front of him appearing to listen.

"I want to see these things on you before you step out of this apartment, do you hear me?"

"Yes, darling, I'll give you a sexy fashion show."

"Don't be smart with me. You know I worry about your safety."

"Yes, Joe, I understand."

She had a fun time shopping, buying three outfits. One dress was black and white abstract swirls on silk fabric with cap sleeves, a V neck and it flared out from the waist. She found a lovely white crocheted hat with a black ribbon. Another dress was a light blue soft leather fabric that fit her body like a glove. It was sleeveless with a belt featuring a sterling shell clasp. It was above her knees but not too much. Then she bought a sublime ivory blouse that was ribbons of silk with a soft gauze in between. It had silk covered buttons. The skirt was pleated and a mauve color. She also bought a scarf with a swirl of colors like a spring garden in a Monet painting. She bought some cute costume jewelry. Shopping was great without her husband's critical eyes.

This was the boutique she always went to and the saleslady was the same. She was nice but distant. Usually Joe did all the talking with his condescending manner. The bill was discussed over the phone with Joe and taken care of.

Joe hadn't seen the new clothes but Amy wanted to wear something she had purchased. She picked the black and white dress since it was longer. She was humming along with the classical piece on the Bose system. She smiled at herself in the mirror as she put lipstick on. She twirled around in front of the long mirror in the back of her large closet. The dress was a dream, like a Matisse painting she had seen.

Suddenly, there was a popping noise. The glass mirror shattered at her feet.

She turned around and saw Joe with a gun. She knew he was going to kill her. Her whole body felt like jelly: she dropped to the floor in a defensive position.

"Where do you think you are going?" He asked in a calm manner.

"To the museum.... it's Wednesday. What did I do wrong?" she stammered.

"You are supposed to show me clothes before you wear them. Remember our fashion show?"

"I didn't think you would mind. This is not sexy."

"You look like a slut, just asking for it. I never could trust you. This is why I must take care of you."

"But Joe, I thought you would like this."

"There will be no more Wednesday outings. You must be punished for disobeying me."
His fist connected with her face so fast she didn't have time to react.

Amy came to with a terrible headache and a throbbing jaw. The carpet was soaked with blood. She raised her head and then tried to sit up. Then she saw Joe on the floor. She called his name. He didn't answer. Crawling over to him, there was what looked like blood all over the front of his shirt. His eyes were wide open. She felt for a pulse, none. He wasn't breathing.

Amy was surprisingly calm but she could feel her face swelling and her jaw throbbed. She reached in his pants pocket and got his cell phone. Calling 911, she told the operator, "My husband is dead. Someone hit me."

The woman was asking questions, "Is your husband breathing? Can you check for me? Feel for a pulse in his neck.
Mam, can you answer me? Are you hurt also?"
Amy felt the headache coming on and she was suddenly afraid to say more.She laid the phone down as the woman continued to talk about help being on the way. She managed to get up with shaky legs. There was something she needed to do. As tears rolled down her cheeks from the pain in her head, she began to look for a gun. It was gone. She wasn't about to move Joe.

There was something that caught her eye. A familiar looking piece of silk purple material was on the floor, Amy picked it up and walked into the bathroom. She flushed it down the toilet and then laid back down on the bed.
She heard sirens followed by footsteps.

The authorities photographed her face and the hospital's ER checked her over, finding old fractures on the scans. Plus she now had a concussion and a new fracture on her temporal bone.

Amy told the police everything she could remember except one thing. She explained how it was all fuzzy but she remembered Joe was angry and had hit her. She told them she thought he had a gun but wasn't sure.

A police investigation was ongoing and there were many questions about Joe's business. Amy couldn't help them. She really didn't know anything. She did retain a lawyer and they went over everything. The police didn't have any evidence except the bullet the coroner had recovered. All the DNA evidence around their apartment pointed to her or Joe or their occasional housekeeper that was out of town. Joe's gun was never found.

Amy was now a free wealthy woman. Joe had left everything to her.

After a few days of recovering and taking care of business, she took a cab to the museum. She went to look for her friend Enya. She couldn't find her anywhere.

Enya had lived for Wednesdays with her friend Amy.

In a way, Joe had won.

By Kathie Stehr

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