What do I really want to know?

The Escape (Wallpaper)

by LJ Frank

She looked into the rear-view mirror from the corner of her eyes. How can you be sure, she quietly asked herself.

Three days earlier, she was a brunette. Last night a blonde. There was nothing transparent about her. Who really is transparent? We have skin birthed in different hues, our bodies being like canvases where the artist adds globs of paint for texture to cover our internal organs. And yet the thoughts sheltered in our brain ofttimes can be a mystery even to ourselves. The artist smiles at the puzzle of his creative work. Being human in the artist’s eyes is a matter of becoming. It’s not stationary. It evolves. It’s never really quite finished.

She looked over at the passenger seat. There exist souls that are more jaded than others, she thought to herself.

The black sedan she was driving had been parked outside the place. Car keys were lying next to the gear shift. She picked up the keys and deposited them in her leather shoulder bag sitting on the passenger seat. She pressed the starter, shifted gears, and departed with just the clothes she was wearing and a key to a safety deposit box.

The key was in a jewelry box, in a dresser drawer of the upstairs master bedroom.  Master being some designer’s antiquated term for the house’s owner who was anything but dominant or primary. She wondered if there was a submissive’s bedroom. Terminology can evolve into the outlandish and nonsensical. Time and knowledge affect historical perspective. 

Be that as it may, on top of the dresser was a familiar looking photo of someone she thought she recognized, perhaps from her past. She shook her head as if to rid the image from her mind.

She gingerly stepped down the staircase in her high heels and walked pass the other guests milling about, talking, and laughing. No one seemed to pay attention to her or even the car she drove off in. All she really knew was that she needed to depart. The car was available and she wanted to get to another city and a particular bank.

What she wanted was in a safety deposit box. She drove for a few hours. Finally, arriving, instinctually understanding that any given situation in life can affect and determine a person’s choice.

She started to get out of the car when she turned her head. Disarming eyes were staring at her or in her direction from across the street. And then the person scratched their chin, abruptly turned, and walked away.  

An image flashed in her mind from her childhood. It couldn’t be. She froze for a second. She knew fear can give way to paranoia. No, it was someone else. Her right hand reached back in her shoulder bag. The safe deposit key was still there. The bank was steps away. What did she have to lose? What did she really know and not know?

She walked across the street and entered the bank. Walking to the entrance of a vaulted room, she signed in and then handed the key to a clerk. He led her to the deposit box. She took the box behind a nearby table and closed the curtain behind her. She opened the box. She sorted through the personal effects until finding that which she sought when an arm reached through the curtain and a hand touched her shoulder.

Her body jerked. She gasped. Turning around she found no one was there. She peered through the curtain. No one. Hallucination, she said to herself. She hurriedly secured the stuff into her shoulder bag, returned the box to its original location, and exited the bank.

Getting into her car she thought someone called out her name. She looked back across the street as she got into the car. Relax, she whispered. A few people were entering a nearby coffeeshop. She took a deep breath.

It was at that moment she felt a hand on her arm and heard a voice.

 Get in, close the door, and start driving. I’m going with you.

She turned and looked at the face. It was the person in the photo on the dresser.

Who are you?

The owner of the car you’re driving.


Here’s our destination. The person handed her a map with a circle on it marking the location.