— where you are i will be —
2015 This Week (August 31st - September 6th)

Karyn receives threatening text messages from her ex-boyfriend for a week before she confides in someone.

The first text comes early Monday morning, waking her from what might otherwise have been a restful sleep beside Mads Corcoran. It’s Noah, it says. Call me. Suddenly feeling sick, Karyn slips out from under Mads’s arm, taking care not to wake him as she tiptoes out of his bedroom and into the kitchen for a glass of water. She takes a moment to breathe, chilled to her core in the artificial cool of the air-conditioned loft, before returning to bed and hugging her unsuspecting bedfellow a little tighter. She does not get back to sleep, but the sound of his breathing calms her down enough so that she can put on a smile through breakfast, a ride to work, and a goodbye kiss. She spends the rest of the day in an elevated mood, refusing to indulge the feeling of dread that the text has instilled in her. This mood, fuelled by good company, good music, and good wine, becomes her defense mechanism for the next six days.

The second text comes late Tuesday night, but her phone is off. Karyn is spending the night with Mads again and is not going to let the person she despises most ruin it for her. Like she had on Sunday night, she creeps into Mads’s loft after he has gone to bed, locking the door behind her and kicking off her flip flops on her way to his room. He stirs when she crawls into bed with him, opening his arms to her, and though she knows he can’t see it in the dark, she smiles. She wants to tell him how much more at ease she feels sleeping with him than she does sleeping alone, but she knows better than to give voice to feelings like that. Instead, she kisses him goodnight and lets him spoon her, taking his hand in hers and hugging it to her chest in the hope that it will make her feel safe. She does not read the text until she gets to work on Wednesday morning. I know you got my text yesterday, it says. Your read receipts are on. You can’t ignore me.

The third text comes Wednesday afternoon, spoiling her appetite and making her regret the two glasses of champagne she has consumed on an empty stomach. Please answer me, it says. I miss you. No longer hungry, Karyn turns her lunch break into a cigarette break, bumming a smoke from one of the men working construction across the street. The taste is something she never has and never will get used to, but it is a small price to pay for stress relief and making conversation with the man who lights the cigarette for her is a welcome distraction from her thoughts. When Karyn returns to the bridal shop, Annabelle Martelli tells her that she does not look like herself and asks if she is feeling sick. She knows what she must look like — a deer in the headlights, a damsel-in-distress — but she tells Annabelle she feels fine.

The fourth text comes Thursday morning. Stop being a cunt about this, Karyn, it says. If I have a kid out there, I deserve to know. This is when the walls she has built around herself begin to crack.

The fifth text comes Friday evening. Did you get an abortion? It says. Karyn does not want to think about it, so she invites Mads to spend the night with her. When they have sex, the world stops at the edges of her bed and all she can think about is him. She pulls him closer, captures his lips with hers, leaves moon-shaped indentations on his back with her fingernails, and though she knows it may be — and probably is — a fatal mistake, she finds herself wishing that things could always be like this.

The sixth text comes late Saturday afternoon. I know you well enough to know that you’re either a) keeping my kid away from me to punish me, or b) blaming me for the abortion, both of which are seriously fucked up. It says. You need help, Karyn. She knows he wants her to hate herself. And she does.

The seventh text comes early Sunday morning. It is composed of three numbers, seven words, and two punctuation marks. It forms a singular question. It nauseates Karyn so immediately, so intensely, that she has leap out of bed and race to her bathroom to vomit. 734 is an Ann Arbor area code, right? It says. She does not want to cry, but the tears come anyway. She decides that she is vulnerable. She is weak. She will never be as strong as her mother.

Without giving much thought to where she is going, Karyn pushes herself up off of her bathroom floor and wills her legs to carry her somewhere safe, somewhere she knows someone will help her. As if on autopilot, she walks out into the hallway, down the hallway, down the stairs—

but when she reaches apartment 103, she hesitates, wiping her tear-streaked face on the back of her hand, wondering if she has made the right choice.

She thinks of Annabelle and how, having been lied to by omission for over a year, she should be the first to hear the truth. She thinks of Mads and how much of a comfort it would be lay in bed with him until the feeling of his arms around her made her crying stop. But she does not have it in her to face either of them, not yet — not because she does not want them, or need them, but because she is scared. She is scared that Annabelle will not want to speak to her after she learns how many secrets she has kept. She is scared that Mads will not want to touch her after he learns how damaged she is. For the first time since moving to Ann Arbor, she feels as though she is crumbling, and she cannot hold herself together any longer without letting someone in. So, she knocks on the door to apartment 103, hoping that the friend who lives there will understand like she thinks she will.

When Tyler Rexing answers, Karyn says: “You told me once that I could work to move past my shit or wallow in it, and… I can’t wallow in it anymore. I need to talk to someone. Can I talk to you?”