Somewhere far away I heard the buzzing of my cell phone. My hand fumbled on the night table, fingers stretching to stop the noise. Beside me my husband groaned.
Lifting the phone I squinted at the glowing screen. “Unknown Caller” stared back at me. “What the hell?” I muttered. I was ready to give someone a piece of my mind. An unrecognizable voice said, “There is a car waiting for you outside your house. Get inside. You don’t want to ignore this.”
My heart leaped into my throat. I had stopped expecting the call years before. I had grown complacent. Now a voice I did not know was on the line saying the words I hoped I would never hear.
The caller disconnected. I lay quietly with the phone still pressed to my ear. Doug peered out from under his pillow. “Everything okay?”
I heard my voice respond from far away. “Yes, it was a wrong number.”
“Nancy? Are you alright?”
Pulling myself together I answered. “It’s nothing.” Without turning on the light, I swung my legs out of bed. “I think I’ll make a cup of tea.”
“It’s the middle of the night Nancy.”
Taking a deep breath I stood up. “I know. But it will relax me.” Going to the bedroom door, looking back at him I said, “Go back to sleep.” My heart was pounding. I kept my voice steady.
Once the bedroom door closed behind me, I hurried downstairs. Glancing up the stairs, lit by a sliver of moonlight, I made sure Doug had not followed me. Opening the hall closet I switched on the light. I stretched to pull the carryall from the shelf. It made a low thump as it hit the floor. Nervously I looked upstairs again certain Doug would have heard the noise. The bedroom door remained closed.
Grasping the bag, I stepped out into the cool night air. A black car sat at the curb, lights off. The car door swung open to admit me. Casting a final look at the house I got into the backseat.
The man sat on the far side of seat. He had aged so much in twelve years. As the car pulled away I heard Doug’s voice call out, “Nancy!”
His voice faded as the car sped away. The old man spoke. “I apologize for the late hour.”
I understood. The men who had pursued me for years ago had found me. It had been inevitable. “Where will I go?” My voice shook.
“Your new identity is being prepared.” His hand covered mine, spotted with age. “Your country appreciates you Marlene.”
It was as though he was speaking to someone else. Staring out at the darkened streets as we sped into the night I wondered if this was the last time I would be ripped from a life I loved. I wondered what they would tell Doug.
Tonight Nancy died, Marlene was resurrected, and some nameless me was waiting to be born.