# 101 – Thoughts from the Top of the Stairs


It felt like a golf ball was stuck in her throat. Her eyes were so full that she crashed into the iron railing at the top of a subway entrance. Liza took a deep breath, emptied her eyes onto her coat sleeve, and plowed on. She made it to the car. The seat was back. Damn! Bruce drove this morning. She couldn’t leave him here. Well, she could. She kind of wanted to, but she knew deep down that he hadn’t done anything wrong and she didn’t have a right to be angry about the article.

This was stupid. She was acting like an idiot, she knew. OK, so she wasn’t going to leave Bruce stranded on campus, but he would find her if she stayed in the car. He would look for her eventually. Right? Maybe? Whatever. Liza left him a note telling him that something had come up and he should take the car home without her. She’d meet him there. It was a weak excuse, but she’d bought herself time to calm down and think of a better one.

She needed a place to hide; somewhere quiet and away from people. Liza walked back to her building. It was a hulking brick thing that was an old factory in a former life. The building was locked down at this time, but she slipped in behind a janitor without having to use her own key card.

The main staircase was in the center of the building, off of the hallway. There were two other staircases on the ends of the building that could only be accessed if you worked in one of the departments that they ran through. Liza’s department was one of these.

The wooden staircase didn’t get a lot of use, even during the day.  The steps were bowed and the paint was curling off of the brick walls.  It had no heat or air conditioning.  Liza walked up to the landing outside of the roof access. She tucked her coat under her butt and sat on the top step.

Liza smoked four cigarettes in a row while the waves of emotion crashed over her. Images of Bruce writing that sappy, disgusting article forced their way into her head. She fantasized about tearing the picture of the woman and the little girl to shreds.

Liza imagined traveling back in time and killing the woman before she ever met Bruce. This, she went over in great detail. Liza was aware that these thoughts crossed some sort of line, but she couldn’t make them stop. Did it matter? It wasn’t as if she could act on them and she certainly wouldn’t share them with Bruce.

Hours passed. It was clear that she wasn’t getting over this tonight. Liza called for a cab. The woman said it would be there in half an hour. There were three missed calls on her phone. They were from the University’s main number – all calls made from inside the University showed up that way. It must be Bruce. The last call was made over an hour ago. She missed him and hated him and hoped that he was home when she got there. She stuffed the phone in her bag and went outside to wait.

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