Waking up again I was a little hungry. I saw the tray was gone, so I grabbed the chocolate cake and ate it. It was yummy.
I went into the chest and pulled out my knitting. Why yes, I knit. I was never a very good knitter and I haven’t done it for years but I have knitted a few Afghans in my time. I still had some yarn left and thought I could use it here. I remember doing a whole lot of thinking once I would get it started and didn’t have to concentrate on it too much.
As I got a few rows done, Clara started wheeling herself in my room.
“Hi there”, she said.
“I hope I’m not bothering you but I thought we could chat some more.”
“That would be lovely. I could use some company. Can I ask you a question? Do you ever feel that you’re trapped in this place because of the locked doors?”
“I did at first but I got used to it. I’ve never tried to get out that’s why they’ve never put an alarm on me.”
“That will be me too Clara. I am not much of a rule breaker. When I was in school and the other girls would smoke in the washroom, I wouldn’t. If there wasn’t a crosswalk, I would walk further until I found one. The speed limit, let’s just say I was that woman you were cursing at that was in front of you. I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the picture. Why did I do that? I think it’s because I had it drummed in my head. You see my parents were very strict. Not to speak ill of the dead, but my mother was very domineering and a force to be reckoned with. I was always told to be a good girl and follow the rules. All she had to do was give me “the look” and I bent to her will.”
“A lot of us were raised that way, Annie. That’s just the way it was back then. Can I tell you a secret?”
“Sure, I won’t tell anyone.”
“I’ve watched when they’ve done the code for the door. They don’t seem to change it because it’s been the same one since I first came. I always have visions of busting out of here. I wouldn’t go out of the building but sometimes I’d like to go out into the courtyard without having a shadow with me” and she laughed.
“Clara, now that I’m here we might just do that sometime. If there’s ever a time to break the rules now would be it. Do you have any other family besides your children?”
“You mean child.”
“I have a sister but she lives out of town. I talk to her about once a week. She’s a few years older than me. And you?”
“No not really. I was an only child as was my husband.”
“Did you work outside the home” Clara asked.
“Yes, I was a high school English teacher. I worked before I had my kids and then I went back when my kids went to school full time. I retired when my father came to live with us. When he died, Hank and I were going to start traveling and then he died. We thought we had more time to do things but it wasn’t to be.”
“You were one lucky woman, Annie. I was a stay at home mom my whole life. My husband never wanted me to work. I was dumb enough to listen to him.”
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