The coffee shop is small and busy, it's the middle of the day and people have come in on their lunch breaks. The shop is filled with all different people, you have the chatty ones; two university students coming to coffee for a quick break from studying. One of them is more chatty than the other. There always is among tow friends. The chatty one goes about her job and she's married. She speaks of her husband fondly saying how they joke with eachother and he was jealous of how much time she spends with his friend. They talk about their graduation and finding a dress to wear under the gown. Behind them on the leather sofa is a father and his small daughter. He's cutting the crusts off her sandwich that she eyes up patiently waiting. She has a chair, which seats her doll. When she receives her sandwich she offers it to the doll before taking her own bite.
A man with walking boots on has come in from the cold. Perhaps he's been walking miles and finally found a place to have a break. He's indulged in his book, reading about the crimes of a married man who doesn't know how to get away from his sordid past. The man in the coffee shop wears reading glasses and he's old, he's retired form a lifetime of teaching at an established university. He wanted to carry on teaching but after hi second heart attack his wife insisted that he finally retired. He would do anything for his greatest love even give up his second greatest love. He felt that knowledge gave you power and he would still read everything he could to know more. He's happy spending his days reading, walking and with his wife but occasionally it can get boring doing the same things everyday.
There is two boys sitting by the window, they are debating about physics. They're both opinionated and love coming here and debating about what they love. They are the loudest in the shop but they don't seem to notice. There is a young girl near them studying quietly alone. She doesn't seem to notice other people she isn't distracted by the noise. She's intelligent and spends most of her time studying because going to med school is everything she wants. If she could become a doctor she would have everything she wants. She doesn't yearn for a family of her own even though her mother says that having children gives your life meaning. This young student just wants to be doctor and give something back to the world. Really she just loves science and always has.
A woman came up the stairs with the coffee shops uniform on and beings clearing the empty cups from peoples tables and cleaning the ones with no on sitting at them. Clara has worked here for a few years. It wasn't supposed to be permanent but she's had a hard time focusing on her painting the last 4 years and she needed money. Her husband doesn't care that she's miserable because he's the cause of it and he does it on purpose.
5 years ago Clara became pregnant and her and her husband couldn't have been happier. They started decorating the spare room with Winnie the pooh and they baby proofed the house. When Clara's water broke it was a month early but they were both ready to welcome there new edition to their small family. When Clara gave that final push and the tiny baby was here her husband kissed her and went to see their daughter, he was smiling like a Cheshire cat. Clara knew something was wrong though, the doctor hadn't shown them the baby he had taken her straight to the nurses. Clara couldn't see or hear her baby. She should be giving her baby a cuddle right now she should be looming into the eyes of a beautiful angel but instead she worrying and watching this doctor holding a baby she hasn't yet seen. Clara could hear them whispering to eachother and as her husband got closer they suddenly stopped and turned around.
"Guys I'm so sorry" The doctor said to them
He wasn't smiling he was frowning and his eyes, they were just sad.
"What is it?" Rick asked
"Your daughter isn't breathing, I'm so sorry"
"No she has to be" Rick protested
Clara began crying immediately she felt the salty tears roll down her cheeks. She knew the minute she heard they whispering that her baby was gone. She wasn't a mum. Clara felt as if she was going to throw up any minute but Rick turned round to her and Clara thought he would hug her but instead he looked at her disgusted and stormed out the room. There was a crash from outside the room later Clara found out Rick had Pushed over a vending machine so glass had shattered all over the hospital floor. She didn't see Rick again for hours after that, he just disappeared and Clara is still too afraid to find out where he went. Clara was sobbing I her hospital bed all alone while her dead baby was in the hands of the doctor. The nurse shuffled over to her bedside and put her arm around Clara.
"How?" Clara mumbled
"The umbilical cord was around her neck in the womb she has stopped breathing even before she was out, there's nothing we could have don, sorry"
Her baby had died inside of her. She had her dead child in her and she didn't even know it. How would she get past this? Clara hurt all over not from giving birth but because she was in so much pain, her body was numb and achy. Her heart was hurting so much she thought she might want the doctor to check it wasn't about to break. No one can imagine how this would feel, how your whole life is crumbling before your eyes and nothing would ever make this okay.
The rest of that day was a blur she doesn't remember anything. It's like she wasn't even there and the nurse had to tell her what happened the next morning. When she was told the second time she sobbed again so loudly probably everyone in the hospital cold hear her.
Later that day whilst she lay there lifeless, her body just an empty vessel she heard the nurses talking.
"I just can't believe the husband left"
"You know he still hasn't been back"
"Really? That's just disgusting"
"That poor woman"
Clara didn't want to be 'that poor woman' but they were right. She hadn't seen Rick since it happened and now she didn't know if she wanted to at all. He left her all alone to drown in misery with strangers. She was in shock at his behavior and she doubted she could ever forgive him for it but right now she just wanted her husband because after all they had both lost their daughter.
After this everything changed in their marriage, if you could still call it a marriage.
Clara had finished her shift at the coffee shop and on her way home. She dreaded what she would find. Would Rick be drunk like always and shouting abuse or would he be out with another girl. Clara was unsure which she would rather. She hated when he was drunk just as much as when she knew he was cheating on her.
In the beginning when she heard him come home late she would go down and help him. She would greet him stumbling through the door and get him to the sofa. However every night she did this he would yell at her and tried to push her away. One night she had had enough.
"Let me help you Rick, you can barely stand"
"I don't need you-"
Rick pushed her away so she fell on the floor and held him self up by grabbing the stair bannister.
"I don't need you you're a murderer. I don't have a daughter because of you so just leave me the hell alone"
Clara couldn't believe it, she had always suspected this is how he felt but to hear it broke her more than she already was. He avoided looking at her and when he did all she could see was hatred. He blamed her for it all and now she was married to a man that despised her.
Clara walked in and couldn't hear anything but then she looked down at the floor and saw a drop of bright red blood.
"Rick, are you hear? Are you hurt?"
Rick poked his head out of the kitchen, he was sweating and his eyes were darting and panicked.
"What's wrong?" Clara asked
"Look, something has happened and I have no idea what to do and I need you to help and not get all hysterical because I need at least on of us to in control." Rick was speaking rapidly and not slurring for the first time in years
"What happened?" Clara was getting worried.
Rick hadn't spoken to her properly for years and now all of sudden he's talking and he needs her help.
Rick came out from the kitchen properly now so Clara could see him. He has red blood all over his hands and his knees like he kneeled down in blood. His shirt was soaked though. He trod bloody footprints as he walked. Rick looked in Clara's eyes trying to figure put what she was thinking.
"What did you do rick!" She asked wearily.
"It wasn't my fault, she just fell"
Clara stormed past him knocking his shoulder. In the kitchen was a blonde woman in a short skirt and a blue top. She was lying on her back in a pool of blood, her own blood. Her eyes were open and her hand were spread either side of her body.
Clara screamed when she saw the dead girl in her kitchen.
"Calm down, I can explain."
"Clam down? That's really what you say to me after showing me this? How could you do this?" Clara was now crying.
"It wasn't my fault she was drunk, we both were she fell and hit her head. She was dead before I could do anything. I'm sorry I didn't know what to do and you're smart I thought you could help"
"We haven't spoken in years and you decide to get me involved in this?"
"I didn't know what else to do, I'm so so sorry Clara I really am"
Clara didn't say anything she just paced back and forth.
"Clara say something"
"I don't know what to say, I-I"
"Let's just load her in the car-"
"I'm sorry is your plan to cover this up?"
"Well what else can we do? It's been hours we can't call the police now they'll wonder why we waited"
"Well why didn't you call the police?"
"I was frozen okay. I was scared and I didn't know what to do"
Clara Put her hand on her head and pulled at the roots of her hair. Her husband that hadn't even looked at her kindly for 4 years is now relying on her to be practical about this. She walked around the woman on the floor and went to the fridge. She pulled out a bottle of opened wine and poured some in a glass. Clara took a large swig and then closed her eyes. She needed time to think about what to do. Perhaps they could call the police, they would say Rick was just scared and couldn't think clearly. Then what if they suspect him, Clara knows he couldn't have done this no matter how drunk he was. He had never hurt anyone before Clara had to kill the flies, she had to tell the man who hit their car that he had to pay for the damage, Rick wanted to just pay for it himself. He was sweet and caring, in the time Clara has known him he has never even gotten into a physical fight.
"Okay. Get the clean sheets from the cupboard upstairs. I'll get bin bags. We'll get some soap and sponges. Were going to wrap her up clean this room and anywhere she might have been."
Rick didn't say anything.
"Get the sheets" Clara ordered.
Rick hurried off obeying Clara as she now became the designated leader. Meanwhile Clara got the cloths and cleaning products. She had no idea what her plan was, she supposed now it didn't matter. Everything she ever learnt is of no use at this moment. She now wished she payed more attention when her dad talked about his work as policeman. He would often come home with thrilling tales of his day chasing criminals and looking at pictures of similar scenes Clara's kitchen depicted.
Three hours later, Clara and Rick were still cleaning their floor. They had successfully transferred the blonde woman to layers of sheets and opened up bin bags. Clara noticed it took every last bag and sheet in the house and she would have to get some more tomorrow.
The woman was wrapped up and sitting in the hall ready to be moved once again to Ricks van. They had closed all the blinds and turned off the lights in the front rooms. The kitchen floor was almost cleaned and no blood was left. Clara knew she had to get rid of any fingerprints or hair the woman may have left behind.
"Rick clean all the surfaces and the staircase banner." Clara said
Rick left the room with no word. For the past three hours he had trembled and Clara thought she saw a tear drop onto the floor. She knew he needed comforting but she was mad he got her involved in this and they needed to complete this tonights as to not prolong this nightmare. Clara was finally done with cleaning the kitchen floor and she could hear Rick scrubbing the stairs. Clara looked outside and saw that it was dark. It was now 11 O'clock which Clara thought was a good time to move the woman into the van.
Clara grabbed the woman's feet. She noticed how heavy it was but when she saw the skinny, well in-shape woman this isn't what she expected. Rick held the bag at the other end. They struggled slowly to get the women outside of their house all the while conscious that someone might be looking out of their window.
"Okay we made it to the van, open the doors" Clara told Rick
Rick let go of his end so the blonde woman hit to concrete ground with a smack,
"You fool, what are you doing?" Clara yelled
"I'm sorry i'm sorry"
Rick had opened the van doors and they laid the woman inside. Clara looked up at the house around her making sure no curtains were open and no eyes were on them. They both climbed into their land and Rick started driving away. Clara sat there looking at the lit up road ahead of her and thinking about the dead body that was behind her. They both sat in silence listening to the engine and the occasional bump when the blonde woman hit the side of the van. Clara couldn't help think about the way her life had turned out. She never thought this it what she would be doing at the age of 30. She used to have dreams of a happy marriage of kids running around and career she was proud of. This is the most common dream and yet it's surprisingly hard to accomplish. Clara just wanted a husband that loved her but even that seemed impossible now. The husband she had had led her here, sitting in a van with a dead body in the back with which her husband had been about to sleep with whilst she was at work where she was surrounded by happy people, and the people she worked with were mostly students because this was just their part-time job. She had felt trapped for years now, if she left Rick it would mean they failed. A divorce had never been an option to Clara, her parents had always been so happy and that's all she wanted for herself.
It was 3 hours until they arrived at the river. It was dirty and filled with empty cans and cigarettes. It was not a river where the body might be found by a child that kicked it whilst swimming or caught at the end of a fishing line. Clara had no clue if this is how bodies were usually found but she was going off of what she saw on TV.
"Clara i don't know about this"
"Well do you have another suggestion because so far you've been useless"
"No but are we sure we didn't leave any evidence?"
"I have absolutely no idea Rick. Do you think this is what i wanted to be doing? If we did leave some evidence maybe we deserve to be caught."
Rick looked at Clara, trembling. He owed her everything but right now he could think straight.
They both got the woman out of the van, hitting her head several times before rolling her down the grass verge. The woman had become just an item in a bag being tossed around. Clara and Rick managed to get her into the lake and pushed her in. They stood back watching the bag sink to the bottom, lost but deeply engraved in both their memories. Perhaps in a few months or years she'll be found and her family will finally know what happened to their loved one.
Clara looked at the river and then at Rick with his eyes almost pooping out of his head and his bottom lip trembling.
He looked over at the woman who had helped him at his worst moment, who had put up with him the past few years when he had been drunk and a cheat, who he loved and now realised how stupid he was for letting her go but who he knew would never again be his, he had lost her.
"We're getting a divorce"