A to Z Challenge: Della

There was no denying that Della was strange, in fact, that was why I was attracted to her in the first place. She was pretty, she was rich, and she presented herself as a prisoner. There had to be adventure somewhere in this mix, I thought, and there was.

I met her in church, of all places. She was “allowed” to come, as she put it, but she didn’t usually stay around to chat or go out for lunch. She had to get back before he noticed her absence and got irritated. She had a very nice car, and classy clothes. Her hair always looked perfect, her glasses were clean and sparkly and her teeth were beautiful. Her husband was a dentist.

She had been a dental hygienist and had worked for him several years before they became “a thing” and got married. I was never quite certain if she had loved him or just been overwhelmingly impressed with his story. He had escaped Egypt when the country turned on its royalty and had come to the United States for a new life. He went back to school to update his dental credentials and set up his own business. For a while, they worked well as a team. She had a son from a previous marriage and it was a relief when she no longer had to be a single mom. And even more of a relief when she quit working and started keeping house.

I should say “keeping mansion”. That would be a much better description of her new job of helping design and build one of the most ostentatious houses, in the most ostentatious part of town. I was only in it once, but what I saw was right out of a fairy tale. I think her husband must have had the royal palace in mind, complete with double, sweeping staircases leading up to his Egyptian room with tapestries, reclining cushions, and one of those crazy middle east tea pots. I think it was staged by National Geographic.

I saw it all on the night she left him.

There were three of us that night. I had a friend who was even more involved in Della’s story than I was. I was the one who had not yet met her abusive husband, so it was my name that went on the storage unit she had me rent. My name went on the U-Haul rental. In her customary dramatic way, she was hiding her tracks, certain that he would come looking for her.

“He’s going out of town, but I’m never sure he won’t surprise me and show up or change plans. If all is well, I’ll open the gate at 11:30 and you can drive in real slow and quiet. Wear dark clothes.” Everything but the ski masks and lock picks. I was worried we’d get taken for burglars and the neighbors would call the cops.

It took us an hour and a half to get her selected items out and packed in the truck. She didn’t take much. She didn’t take anything she thought would make him angrier than he would already be when he found her gone. She took the dog – a hefty Rottweiler, and her car. It was a bit of a challenge getting everything to fit in the storage unit but we were done before dawn.

She was sure he would look for her in every conceivable place, and possibly be violent if he found her. She had to have a place to hide that he wouldn’t think of, someplace humble, ordinary, and unconnected with anyone he would ever suspect. A place where the car could be kept out of sight. A place where she and the dog could hang out indefinitely.

Yep, my house. What was I thinking?

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