October 2014. My therapist and I were brainstorming places I could go. We need to get you and Desiree out safely and healthily…her words kept ruminating through my mind.
Sarah, do you still have that condo at the MGM?”
No, I sold it last year…”
As my voice trailed off, something inside stirred. The internal light bulb switched on. Valet parking, security gate, staff that knows me, kitchen, room service, the ambiguity of the Strip, spacious enough…
The MGM Signature would be the perfect place for us to hide, and…for my future husband to find me. My future husband who worked less than a block away. I would be able to see his building from my balcony window. Except I had no idea…
The Universe did, though. The Universe is the mastermind of orchestration.
As I sat there in my therapist’s office, she assured me I could leave. She then insisted I must leave, if not for myself, then for my baby. I knew she was right. I could feel myself dying inside. Slowly disconnecting, going numb, escaping to the patio in the evening, diving into my work and out of my world. With the vision of my former condo at the MGM Signature beckoning, I felt comforted with the strong sense that I could pull this off…
Over the next few weeks, the MGM Signature became the cornerstone of my vision. It carried me through the what-if’s and the how-in-the-hell’s. Familiarity is reassuring in a vision. By seeing us there, I could get us there. The true power of a vision is in its ability to mobilize us out of fear…and into our future freedom.
The telephone rang.
Ms. Ingmanson, there’s a gentleman here to see you. Were you…umm…expecting someone?”
I could detect the hesitation in the valet’s voice. He knew my situation and my strict requests for privacy.
Yes, he’s safe. Please send him up.”
A few minutes later, the doorbell chimes and I open the door.
I smile and beckon my friend in. I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks, but I knew about the little fly bandage under his left eye. He had confided in me one morning that summer while I was doing cardio. I stopped dead in my tracks. Cancer? I remember searching his eyes for the punchline. Except this time, there was none.
A lot had happened to both of us on that day after Thanksgiving… Tonight, I was working on my computer in the MGM Signature with the lights dimmed while my six-month old slept. Another key feature of the MGM Signature: light dimmers on practically every switch. Convenient for mothers in hiding attempting to work while their frequent sleepers snoozed.
Here she is…”
I whisper and point. Nestled in the luxurious king size bed with pillows surrounding her and stuffed animals at the headboard, Desiree slept peacefully. I prioritized her stuffed animals over my wardrobe, I realized as I looked down at my ragged tank top and sweats. Oh well, it’s just Mike, he’s only ever seen me in ragged workout clothes doing cardio.
He nodded and presented me with a stuffed animal…
This is Rico. My son loved this monkey so much we had several of them. I found one for Desiree…I hope she likes it, too.”
His voice trailed off as he looked at Desiree. When he returned his gaze, I nodded, thanking him with my eyes.
Oh, and I brought you this. I figured you might not be getting enough protein…”
I rolled my eyes and laugh. His legendary meatloaf. He had told me he would bring me one.
He kept chatting. Nervously chatting it seemed. Why was he so nervous? This was a side to him I had never seen at the gym. He eventually segues the conversation to leave. Suddenly aware of the vulnerability of this situation, I start to worry. Will he try to make a move on me? He looks at me and says,
I’m surprised at how strong you seem.”
He opens his arms to give me a hug. Our first hug…a horrible hug. I stand there frozen by what may come. He sensed it and pulled back. I smile in gratitude. This was a good man.
From an upcoming book, Unlocking Stella. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.