We had only been in bed and asleep for little over an hour. We sat outside our house till late by the fire pit with some friends and Rebecca fell asleep on the couch. I had left her there and quickly fell asleep myself, smelling of fire. Somehow I heard my phone vibrate. I never leave the ringer on at night. I ignored it but it was persistent and kept up. I got up to pee and was no annoyed this unknown number was not only calling again and again but was leaving a voicemail. I checked it. It held a sobbing and hysterical friend. I dialed back the unknown number, the only phone she could get her hands on. Within five minutes we were up, dressed, tossing Rebecca in the back seat and driving 30 minutes North.
It was 1 am.
My friend had been tossed around by her husband, again. He took her keys, her phone, her purse and the three kids. He locked the door and she ran for help. We arrived and called the cops. By then her husband was passed out on the couch and we banged on the windows till the oldest child answered the door. Long story short, 3 little boys were carried to the waiting car, one 3 month old puppy was wrestled in with the kids, statements were taken and my daughter stood outside watching the chaos while making small talk with the neighbors. An hour after arriving I was driving the friend and three boys, while my husband and daughter followed behind, as we headed back to my place. Adrenaline was keeping me awake and I rolled down the windows to calm my queasy stomach. Baby wasn’t thrilled about a middle of the night adventure.
4 am was when we got all dogs and children settled into bed.
4:30 am was when my husbands alarm went off.
4:35 am I finally fell back asleep.
7 am was when the house started to wake up. A dog had to pee. A brother rolled on another brother. Someone was hungry. (Okay, that was me again.)
Breakfast started. Dogs chased each other. Kids let the doors slam as they ran in and out. I sat and watched my friend in my kitchen, looking exhausted, as she retold last nights events. I had that look once. The one that says your entire life is about to change. The one that says this journey is going to suck but man, if you knew how great the ending could be. After years of hell she is done with this marriage and filing for divorce. While there have been many nights of escape to my place with the boys, this one is final. They are moving in until they find a place and can get on their feet.
She was there through my divorce. She picked me up off the floor. She watched me cry, scream, stare at the wall and everything in between. This only seems fair. I remember that pain all to well.
The oldest looked at me that night as we drove to my place. I glanced up in the rearview mirror at him when he called my name. “Thanks for coming and saving us again Aunt Sanibel. I love you.” Anytime, kid. Anytime.