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I rushed from the bathroom, forgot my bag by the door and then rushed back out of the car to grab the bag and backed out of the driveway without looking in the rear view mirror. All I could focus on was the window I knew was Olivia’s, hoping I would see the top of her fuzzy hair walk past or her eyes peer up to watch me leave. I saw neither.

Ten minutes later I sobbed and spun the car, squealing, through an illegal U-Turn. What I had been thinking leaving my four year old daughter at home alone in a new town, I did not understand. But I had to get back to her. I pulled into the driveway, jerking the parking brake on, and jumped down and ran to the door with keys jangling.

The house was not quiet when I got there. There were voices talking. I began arranging the keys between my fingers in makeshift brass knuckles. Each key was a different length with the longer car key leaning over, dominating the tinier keys. The mail key was dwarfed and unimpressive between my pinky and fourth finger on the right hand. Someone was here.

But it was Olivia’s gentle voice that I heard cooing excitedly as I walked down the hall. I let the keys slip out from between my fingers.

*This is part 11 of a longer story.  Continue here.

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