She stood on a chilly street underneath a streetlamp – the only source of heat. All she had was a small suitcase, an address and a postcode. Beyond that she had no idea what the future held.
Her aggressor – the reason for her late night flight into the unknown – sat watching her from the window of his apartment; she could feel his eyes burning into her.
The taxi arrived and she hurriedly climbed in, wishing to be anywhere but where she was, as long as there was a warm bed to sleep in for just a night or two.
She gazed out of the window, tears filling her eyes; as she watched the city disappearing into the rear view mirror she sagged with relief.
Eventually the taxi driver broke the silence, which was heavy with sadness and insecurity.
“Are you all right? You seem… frightened.”
And so she told her story. A story of broken promises, lost dreams, fear, displacement and faded hopes. Broken relationships, stalkers, emotional abuse and feeling trapped.
The driver patted her hand, as if to offer some comfort, and nodded.
“Then I’m honoured to be the one taking you somewhere safe.”
They stopped at a drive-through, just over halfway to their destination. He didn’t know when she had last eaten, but she looked tired and thin. He bought her a burger and told her a little more about his circumstances as they ate. They discovered that they had recently experienced very similar heartaches, and so they could identify with each other.
On into the night they drove, the scenery becoming more and more rural as they drew further away from the city she had fled from. Eventually they found themselves on the outskirts of a pretty town.
“This is where you’ll be living?”
“For a while, yes. My friend is going to help me get my life back together before I move on.”
Her mobile phone rang. She looked at the number display, pressed cancel and switched her phone off.
“Your friend?” asked the driver. She shook her head no. It had been the person she was running from. The person who would hound her via email for some weeks to come until she made a stand and threatened legal action for harrassment. Until she changed her email address and her mobile number to escape him.
Eventually they came to a house, where a smiling man with bleached hair stood outside to guide them to where he was.
“I can leave you here? You trust this man?”
“Yes. Yes, I do. Don’t worry about me, really.”
“You know I will.”
As she lifted her suitcase out of the boot of the car she heard the driver tell the man at the door “Look after her. She’s had a tough time and she’s frightened.”
The man smiled. “Don’t worry; she’s perfectly safe with me. Thank you for bringing her all this way.”
She never left that house. She fell in love with the friend who had taken her in. Less than five years later they stood in front of a registrar and declared their committment to each other.
I am The Rose Wine Lover, and this is my story. I never saw the kindly taxi driver again, but I hope that his story had a happy ending, just as mine has. He truly deserved it.