The Art of Disappearing

Here’s a little creative piece I’ve been thinking of writing for a while. It goes with a story that I’ve been toying around with, but I worked out the prologue.


 

Kyleigh should have done this a long time ago. This leaving. She should have packed her bags like she did the night before and thrown them all in the back of her Toyota the minute she knew she was in too deep. The moment her heart fluttered when he said that he loved thunderstorms. The moment heat crept up her neck at every email, text, and private message. The moment she saw those tiny eyes look up at her with such innocence. That little girl didn’t understand who her daddy had brought home. But Kyleigh did. And that’s when she should have left.

Quietly, so no one would know what she was up to, she sold her furniture and consolidated everything she could into the few suitcases in the back. She’d take her savings and get everything new wherever she was going. She turned in her two-week notice at her job just so she wouldn’t leave on bad terms, and paid up the rest of her lease at the apartment complex. Everything was thought of, everything done seamlessly and without questions. She had no answer. None that anyone would want to hear.

It wasn’t much, what she had left. Kyleigh burned all the clothes she had worn when he touched her. That got rid of quite a lot of her wardrobe. She brought only her most favorite books. The ones that they never talked about or read together. She kept only the sentimental things she knew she could never throw away. Like the necklace her mother bought her for her eighteenth birthday, and the old crumbled picture of her father in his military dress uniform. The rest had to be tossed. It must have been in a landfill by now. And as it deteriorated, so would the memories of him.

That’s what she needed. A cleansing. A good, thorough purge of everything that reminded her of that man.

Kyleigh glanced in the rearview mirror. Her whole life was behind her. Her childhood, her friends, her family, all of it. She’d disappear because of him. Because she couldn’t stomach the self-inflicted shame anymore.

It was her fault from the start. That much Kyleigh understood. She had been stupid and careless. All because she thought she loved a man she couldn’t have. That love blinded her and whispered lies with every kiss, every caress, ever long night spent doing things she had no business doing.

Kyleigh closed her eyes tight to fight away the pain. She was done crying. Done feeling sorry for herself. With every mile marker she passed, with every sad country song playing on the radio, she told herself this was for the best. It had to end, and this was the only way.

To just disappear.

She looked to the shoebox in her passenger seat. In it were the last pieces of that mistake. A few letters, a photograph, her old phone, the key he had given her, and the rose petals she had collected over the year.

She took the letters first. On the face of them were scrawled out her name in his handwriting. She used to love the way he swirled the tips of the “K” and “Y”. She thought it was because he wanted to put some embellishment on her name. “A beautiful name deserves to be written stylishly,” he had told her. Kyleigh shook her head at those letters now. They mocked her, reminding her of how stupid she had been.

She stripped off the rubber band and, making sure that no one was behind her, tossed them out the open window. Kyleigh watched the creamy sheets flutter and flail in the wind behind her car. Every long one of them, gone. They’d be run over by minivans, semis, and trucks by the end of the day. She hoped it rained so they would get soaked and shred all the more easily.

Emboldened, she snatched up her old phone and chunked it toward the grassy ditch. It missed and the corner slammed against the blacktop. She almost thought she could hear the screen crack as she zoomed away. She’d never be able to browse through their conversation history again. No one knew her new number, the one that belonged to the brand new phone sitting in her console. It hadn’t been violated by dirty phone calls and explicit messages like, “I need you” and “Please come over?”

The key flew farther than her phone and made it to the sloping shoulder of the road. She never asked for the key. He just gave it to her, expecting it was what every girlfriend wanted. It was access to his life, to his personal space if she wanted it. That had given her hope, had opened the way for trust. But she wasn’t the only woman to have a key to that house.

The last to go was the picture. In a digital world where printed pictures seemed so archaic, Kyleigh prized it. She kept it on her desk at home, a reminder that she had finally found something good, something to look forward to every day. She had taken it out of the frame for this last trip. The old Kyleigh smiled back at her, blissfully leaning into the arms of the man that had asked too much. He smiled at her too, looking hot in his dark sunglasses and ballcap. Thinking back now, it wasn’t too sunny that day at the park. He just didn’t want to be recognized. Instead of reminding her that good things still existed in a cruel world, it stood as a testament to just how far a man would go to deceive a girl into thinking she had a chance at all.

That tear she had been fighting finally rolled down her cheek. With one knee holding her steering wheel, she took that picture and ripped it right down the middle. Then she brought the two halves together and ripped it again. Again and again she did that until she couldn’t tear it up any more. Then, she flung the confetti into the wind. Like the letters, they twirled and spun, catching the sunlight before falling to the asphalt.

And that was it. There was nothing else to purge. Nothing else to relinquish. She thought it would be relieving. She thought there would be some sanctified pause where all the weight she had been carrying would just fall from her shoulders and she could breathe. There was no relief, no cure for the ache in her chest. Instead, she felt the same. Absolutely the same.

It hurt like hell. It had since the day she decided she couldn’t do it anymore. It hurt every time he tried to call or message her, begging for forgiveness and another chance. Kyleigh wouldn’t give it. She had loved a married man, and for that she’d probably rot in hell for all eternity. But she could spend the rest of her life making up for it. She did the only thing she knew would fix it and ran away. No one would find her again. Not if she could help it.

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About Sheritta Bitikofer

Sheritta Bitikofer is an author of eclectic tastes. When she's not writing her next paranormal or urban fantasy novel, she can be found volunteering at her local animal shelter, shooting archery at a medieval reenactment event, doing Zumba, watching a historical documentary, or having coffee with her husband at their favorite café. A wife and fur-mama to two rescue dogs, she makes time to write engaging and moving stories about shifters, vampires, and magic that enthrall readers from cover to cover.
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