Heading through the bathroom that was just under the stairs she entered a small bar area. A poster of a topless Samantha Fox hung on the wall. Lustfully she gazed down on the clients eagerly waiting for whoever will come pamper them. But Fred is anything but eager. His eyes are red, he is pale and his hands are shaking. An untouched cup of coffee sits in front of him. “Hi Fred”, says Tamara walking towards him. Fred stands, falls into her arms and begins to cry. Tamara brings him to the sofa to sit pressing herself up close to him. She caresses his bald head and brings him closer to her while at the same time she examines his clothes, hands and shoes for evidence of blood, but sees nothing. “Fred, what can I do for you?” she asks gently. “I just want to be near you,” he says, asking “can I lay next to you?” She leads him to the bed leans over to remove his shoes and, after taking off her own shoes, she slides into bed next to him. Like a small child he creeps up into the hollow created by her body as if he wants to hide there. A full-grown man, father to two children and a hard worker running his own business building furniture. Except for his infidelity to his wife he has probably never hurt a fly and even then he is certainly not the only one and definitely not the worst. Tamara can see his back in the wall mirror next to the bed. There is a large, dark stain on the seat of his pants. She is afraid of what it means, hoping that it is an old stain and already dried up. With her free hand she caresses his back and talks affectionately to him. As soon as she feels his breathing begin to calm down she slowly lets him go.
She asks him what he will do next. “Go to the police station I think”, says Fred. Tamara nods, saying that is probably a good plan. “Where are the children?” she asks. “They were already at school,” he answered. “Maybe it’s a good idea to have someone pick them up from school so they don’t go home and discover the drama,” she suggested carefully. “Do you want me to go with you to the police station?” Tamara asked, hoping he would say no. Fred sighed and said it was better that she didn’t and then told her: “For a while I sat on the floor next to her. She died quickly. Calling an ambulance wouldn’t have helped her. I washed my hands and put on a clean shirt and actually I just wanted to jump in front of a train.” “That would have been just too tragic for the children so I didn’t do it. I couldn’t get myself under control. The only thing that I could think of was wanting to be near you. Even if it was just for a little while.” “And”, asked Tamara, “does it help?” Fred looked at her and sighed again. “Yes, I feel calmer now. I’ll call my sister when I am back in the car and ask her to pick up the children from school and then I will go to the police to turn myself in.”
Tamara had many more questions but felt it wise to stay out of things as much as possible so she kept quiet. “Do you need anything else?” she asked. Fred shook his head and uncurling from the foetus position he was in he indicated that they could get up. “Thank you for coming so quickly”, he said, “I know what I have to do now.” They put on their shoes and went back upstairs. Jan was standing in the hallway when they came up. Tamara suspected that he had stood the entire time by the basement door so that he could respond fast in case something happened. Fred went for his wallet but Jan shook his head and said “it’s okay Fred.” Nodding encouragingly, Tamara gave Fred a kiss and said “stay strong,” as she let him out the front door.
As promised Jan made Tamara some breakfast and paid her for her time with Fred out of his own pocket, even giving her an extra 50 euro. As if reading each other’s minds they looked at each other and smiled. “There’s never a dull moment in this work.” As they walked to the front door Jan says: “Good work. But remember, what happens within these walls, stays within these walls. Tamara nodded, saying: “I know that.”
Later that day she visits her parents. Her brother also comes. “I just read some disturbing news,” he said as he came in. “The police just reported that a woman was killed in a domestic dispute. She tried to attack her husband with a bread knife but instead the knife ended up in her and she bled to death in his arms. The man gave himself up at the police station. He was the picture of calm which the police just couldn’t understand.”
“Jesus,” said Tamara, “what a story! Sometimes life can be so crazy.”
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