She woke up from her dream with a start. Dream was not really the right word, nightmare was. She had just seen her own death at the hands of her stalker. Although she had taken precautions, she realized that where she lived was just not safe. The front door was old and could be demolished with one swift blow. The small dogs would start barking, and even though they made quite a din, it would not make a difference if he came while everyone else was at work. He already knew about the dogs, so the element of surprise would not be there to pause him.
It was time to move, but she would have to do it carefully so as not to alert him that she would be gone soon. She moved her boxes in small batches when she knew that he would be working, and she was never home at lunchtime again. She felt safe enough at night with so many neighbors close by, and they would hear the dogs if they barked. The curtains in her window were the last thing to go, as that window faced the street, and taking them down would be a dead giveaway that something had changed.
There was no conundrum about where she should go. It only took one phone call, and they must have known that day would come, for they were already making space for her. Everything else she could easily take with her was moved swiftly in one day, and she was gone by the afternoon.
The next morning, she woke up early. She had slept well, and tiptoed downstairs to make a cup of hot tea, her morning ritual. There were little creaks and coughs as people began to stir about the house. She had just enough time to take a shower and wash her hair. But she washed away more than that . . . what was that old song that goes . . . I’m going to wash that man right out of my hair. . . and her worries slid down the drain along with him. With her hair in a towel, she headed downstairs. Folks were scrambling about the kitchen putting the last touches on a simple meal of poached eggs atop craggy muffins. Food never tasted as good to her as it did on that sunny morning. Crystal clear was the sky, as was her mind, now free of worry.
She glanced around the table, and at her friends who had taken her in at a moment’s notice. Just what had she done right in life to deserve such kind treatment? She had asked her friend, who had told her, because you are you. She was humbled, and honored. Their kindness could never be repaid, but she knew that thought would have never even entered their hearts.
Spring was coming. The deck was free of frost now, and the snow was reducing in volume about the yard. Not bothering to find her shoes or even a jacket, even though it was barely above freezing, she grabbed her camera and walked in her bare feet outside onto the bare deck and snapped shots of the clouds and the remaining snow. She turned to look back through the window. Everyone was contentedly enjoying their coffees and each other’s company. The warmth that radiated through that window rivaled the sun shining down on her shoulders, and together they cast a spell of shimmering light on her new destiny, one born of pure love.
She slipped quietly through the door to rejoin them at the table. She relaxed back into her seat, and placed her hands around her warm mug of tea. It distinctly crossed her mind how quickly you can change your reality. Fear and hate and control and anger and stormy words would never be a match for understanding and compassion and courage and swift action and the power of love. It is said that the darkest hour is just before the dawn. She breathed in deeply then smiled with gratitude as she exhaled. There could be no doubt, her dawn had arrived, and it was spectacular.