Grief hung in the air as I struggled to put names to all the faces around me. I did so in an effort to tune out my father’s voice. He was delivering an emotional eulogy. The kind that people would go home and talk about as the casseroles in our home quadrupled.
I closed my eyes and went back in time to that night a week ago.
“Caroline, you chose right.”
My mother was sat beside him on their bed. I saw the empty wine glass tremble in her hands.
“You have to send her to boarding school somewhere very far away. She’ll hate you for it but she’ll be safe.”
“I already made the calls.”
“I should have known. You are always a step ahead. Will it be quick?”
“Painless too. Taking the money all those years ago was not a mistake, I promise. They had more than enough to spare.”
He patted her knees and walked out of the room without saying more. He had counted on her being reasonable.
His light tap on my shoulder brought me back to the present. I started a little before my surroundings registered. I let him guide me to the car as I mopped my fresh tears away. I was not grieving for my mother. She had married this monster knowing – even if it was subconsciously – his true nature. I wept for myself because he was not sending me to school abroad. He had ripped off my underwear the night before.