This time, packing and preparing for a move was much more peaceful. Sara didn't hear from Matt for the duration of that time.. She was a bit unnerved by it, to be honest. Part of her felt a little guilty for just dumping him the way she did and she had to fight the urge to call him up, apologize, and beg him to take her back.. But still, there was that underlying hesitation. She was also afraid. A shiver would run through her any time she imagined herself with him again. No. No more. The days leading up to her departure were tense and she was always looking over her shoulder, always expecting him to somehow sneak up on her.. not knowing what she would do if he did, not trusting herself.
Luckily, no one was ever there.
Sara's move went smoothly, perfectly really. She got settled into her apartment in Chicago quickly, and enjoyed her new job as an apprentice in a local theater. It was only about a month before she found an opportunity to audition for a big role and was accepted. Her heart soared as her dreams finally started to take flight. She missed the beautiful Elizabethan Theater in Ashland, but was thrilled to be on to bigger and brighter venues. She immersed herself in the escape of playing a part and becoming someone else. What a blissful break from her own life and her own troubles!
And then the phone calls started. Sara didn't know how Matt managed to find her number, but he did. He'd call at night and cry over the phone, begging for her to come back. Plead into the answering machine for her to let him come to Chicago. He'd remind her of how good things were before she left and longed to understand why she waited until things had improved to leave him. After a few weeks of that, she changed her number. But she felt awful. After all, he'd changed, right? Why didn't she give him another chance?
She began to feel as if she was the one who was screwed up, she was the one who was wrong. Apparently, she could only be happy if things were bad. Apparently, she just couldn't find it in her to love him unless he was being manipulative and abusive. What is wrong with me? she wondered.
She missed him. She missed him terribly. And she fought the urge to give in and fly back to Ashland.
A few more weeks went by without the phone calls and the ache finally began to subside. Sara was finally able to open her eyes and see just how much power Matt had over her. But still, she didn't hate him. She had little reason to at this point.. she'd managed to get out before things got worse. What might have happened had she stayed? What would the next offense be?
She reminded herself of this as she walked down this Chicago street to the theater on a brisk fall morning. Sure, she missed him. But the sadness of being homesick and wanting to be in his arms again paled in comparison to the relief she felt at being smart enough and brave enough to stand up and walk away.