Ham in hand Todd labored into the deserted streets of Baltimore, passing closed shops and empty parking lots along the way. He struggled to keep hold of both the ham and his jacket, the wind slicing through him fiercely and relentlessly. Taking a left on the corner of 5th and High, Todd angled his face to home. Walking a little more briskly now, a fire and a hot coffee he knew waited calling him onwards.
Stepping inside, shutting the door quickly, he jettisoned his boots, his hat, his gloves, his coat, and his keys. Leaving it all behind like a carcass he emerged seemingly free. Picking back up the ham in the bag, he went straight for the kitchen, hoping she wouldn’t be there. “Hello, dear.” Her voice woke him up to the sober reality of what had happened here. The odyssey of the store in the treacherous snow was a necessary distraction, but he knew it was unreasonable, the elusive thought of escape. He knew what he had done. What she had done. What they had done.
What had they done.
The ham roasting in the oven filled their two bedroom apartment with a sweet smell, making Todd’s mouth water. They sat in the living room silently. Avoiding eye contact. Lost in anxiety. What now, what could he do? What options really did he have. It seemed like a great idea at first but now they were stuck with it. She was mad, he was mad, but this was suppose to fix things. Pouring himself a double whisky, Todd took a sip standing at the window. His wife, Susan, sat cross legged, scowling on the couch. “We can’t go back tomorrow. It wouldn’t work, they would find out”, she told him. “They would know right away it was us. But if we don’t show up they’d know it, too.” He knew that. He had already run it through in his head. They were stuck. “But your sure there’s no way to get away? Maybe if the storm lets up in the morning and we could be off like we planned?” But he knew it wouldn’t. She was far more optimistic about the whole thing than he was. He knew they were doomed. She went on. Drinking he drowned her our with the grey anxiety of his fears. The snow looked so calm. But how fierce it was. How fierce. Relentless. Escapeless.
The ham was finished and they ate in silence. He could see a tear down her face as she thought out loud, “what will they say, oh what have we done. My poor mother.” Susan was always more concerned about the opinion of others than the actual consequences of life. He tried not to listen to her. He was anxious enough already. But, if only… well, that’s an idea. Perhaps it’ll work. Perhaps that’ll be the end of all this mess. Yes. But then theres the issue of timing. It would have to be flawless. No mistakes. In and out and then no one would be the wiser. They could always try again another time when an escape would be possible. That was the hang up. If only it wasn’t for this snow that so suddenly ruined everything. It would have been perfect. In and out and no one would have been the wiser. She wouldn’t be crying and I wouldn’t feel this burning all over my skin, the kind you get when you know your done for, as Todd did. As Susan did.
The next morning after a restless night, as Todd informed Susan about this way out he devised, they went back into work early. As early as they could without causing any suspicion. The jeweler wouldn’t be in this early. They’d say they came in to finish that paperwork. They even fabricated a couple pages last night to make it seem believable. Bag in hand, hand and hand, they battled the snow still falling sideways to Mr. Goldman’s off 6th street. The sun was barely rising but in the dim light they could see their doom. The cars the lights the boss in his chair. The men in uniforms the investigation already underway. He came early. He came early. Doomed.
Panicking Todd stopped and stood as the snow hammered his face. His mind frantically ran endlessly to unwind the chaos. What to do what to do what to do. Susan was crying. What to