The long night of tossing and turning, of sleep interrupted by strange and frightening dreams ended at dawn. She sat on the edge of the bed. Her head and throat ached. She turned to her roommate. “Tell Neil…I can’t…I have to…” She lay back and closed her eyes.
As soon as the house emptied, she showered, packed and wrote a note to Neil declining his proposal. She hitched a ride to
with the man who brought supplies to the clinic. Though she knew running away
was wrong, she couldn’t think of any other action to keep Neil from stirring
her guilt over her leaving IHRM. At the airport she booked the first flight
The first leg took her from
Calcutta to Athens to Rome. When she boarded the
plane for London
her memories of the airports had blurred. Aspirin washed down with tea or
coffee kept her body bathed with perspiration. In Athens she’d begun to sniffle. A cough had
developed in Rome.
By the time she reached London
and the flat she had rented four years before, she wanted to sleep for a week.
Five minutes after entering the bedroom, she collapsed.
Sixteen sleep-drugged hours later she showered to wash away the stench of travel and of fever. Her decision had been made. Tired of constant relocation and living out of a duffel bag, she yearned for a place where she could build a stable life.
A frantic day of packing began. The dolls she’d collected, her clothes, two boxes of books. She stopped long enough to have dinner with her landlady at the pub down the street. After leaving shipping instructions she wrote a check to cover the rent for the remainder of the lease. Then she booked a flight to the States and called Megan Carter.