The Essence of Evil Part 2 The Union of Life
Chapter 7 Fem-Care

1

It was on overcast Thursday. Cold, damp, and dark. Ralph walked down the stairs to his house. Upstairs, there were two bedrooms, the large one on the left was where Lisa and Simon had slept. The other was a small office, with an old IBM typewriter Lisa used when she was working for the Bailee Times as a movie critic. She gave up after awhile, despit Simons' strong support. After Lisa died, Simon kept everything intact in there, and every week, he dusted it, cleaned the windows, and left a coffee on the desk in memory or Lisa. Next to the office, there was the bathroom, the tiles, sink and bath were in Sixties' Pink. Simon and Lisa both hated the colour, and were meaning to renovate, but with Lisa in a low paying job, and Simon juggling one full time job, and a part time one on the weekend just to manage the bills, it was all but a dream.
Downstairs, there was their four seater couch. There was a mahogeny coffee table on a Persian rug (fake, of course, but what people don't know can't hurt them Lisa would say) there was Simons' leather chair, out-looking the window, and a 51cm television which they won in the Christmas raffle.
In the kitchen, there was the dining table, all the kitchen appliances, and a side door outside. Simon opened the door, walked across his porch, and went to check the letter box. He opened it up, and saw a small envelope in it. He picked it up, and sat down on his porch chair. The return address was simple, just Alex and Amelia which alone, was enough to relieve him. It had been around two months since they had gone, Simon had assumed. He tore open the end of the envelope, and shook out two sheets of lined paper crammed with Alexs' writing.

Dear Simon [the letter began],
I suppose by now you must I decided to leave Bailee forever, but I didn't. It's just that we're supposed to stay out of contact with everyone - phone and letter - for the first few weeks.
I'm up at West Ridge, it's a place for women who have been abused, mentally, and physically. I like this place very much, and so does Amelia. Of course she does; there are atleast nine kids her age here, she has so much fun, crawling around aimlesly with her little friends.
As for me, I am finding lots of women who know what I've been through, I'm sure you've seen the TV shows
- Oprah Talks To Women Who Love Men Who Don't Love Them Back - but when it happens to you, you can't help feeling that it's happening in a way it's never happened to anyone else, in a way that's brand new to the universe. The relief of knowing that's not true, was the best thing that ever happened to me...

She went on to talk about her chores, food, and Amelia learning to walk. the rest, she of the letter was about what had happened and what she had intended to do about it. And it was then that Simon really sensed the emotional turmoil Alex must be feeling, her worries about the future, balancing her life, a determination to do what was best for Amelia...and for herself too. Alex was also discovering that she had a right to live a happy life. Simon was happy to hear this, but sad, when he thought about all the dark times she had persevered through just in order to reach this insight.

I'm going to leave him. Part of my mind just howls when I say that outloud, but I'm tired of blaming myself, instead of Ed. There's plenty of therapy here, where all the women sit around in a circle, and cry for the entire hour, but it all comes back to seeing things plain. In my case, seeing things plain is realising the man I married back in 86, has been replaced by a paranoid. To realize that the man, who used to bring me hand picked flowers, and sat on the porch playing checkers with anyone, now just rambles on about 'Agents' and 'Colors' and some guy only known as 'Him'. I think I know how all this started, and when I see you, I'll tell you, if you really want to hear.
I should be back at the house on Bennett street by mid-spetember
[It was July now], if only to look for a job...but no more about that, the whole subject scares me! I had a note from Ed- just a paragraph, he says he's living down in a secluded cottage at Fresh Harbor, which is near Eagle Labs, where he works. He said he was sorry for everything, and he would honor the non-contact bail agreement. He said he was sorry again, but I didn't get any real sense of it, if he was. It's not that I was expecting tear stains on the paper, or his ear, but...I don't know. It was as if he wasn't apoligizing at all, just making something up. He also sent a $700 check, which seems to show he understands his responsibilities. I also was happy to hear he was getting therapy for his mental problem. I think that should be his punishment, 16 months 24-7 therapy. I said that in group, and everyone laughed like I was joking. I wasn't.
Sometimes, I try to think of the future, but all I see is me waiting in line for a meal at the
Christian Feed The Homeless Program, or going into the Seventh street homeless shelter, with Amelia in my arms. Those thoughts scare me, and sometimes I cry, but there's always something to hold on to, remembering that day you helped me at the store, after Ed beat me. I think of that, and I know, I can always have one true friend.
The letter was signed Love, Alex.

Simon clutched the piece of paper in his arms, and wiped a tear off his cheek. He seemed to cry at the drop of a hat lately, maybe it was the insomnia. He looked at the paper again, and read the PS.

I'd love to have you visit, but we have to keep the location a secret, men are off-limits here, for reasons I think you'll understand. A.

He sat there for well over half an hour, thinking about the letter. Once he was done, he watched some television.