Marie showed up at Sutton Towers to return the keys she found. She worried about losing her keys so she could imagine how panicked the owner of these must have been.
When she picked them up off the ground, she recognized the Sutton Towers’ logo on the key chain. The luxury apartment building was located on one of the most exclusive streets in New York- Sutton Place. She could see it from where she stood; dwarfing all the buildings around it.
Marie fantasized about the keys belonging to some wealthy, eccentric gazillionaire who would offer her an insane amount of money for their return.
I would take the money and run… to a tropical island where I could soak up some sun and gallons of colorful and intoxicating beverages.
Marie also knew the keys could unlock a door in Queens, Brooklyn, or Tupelo, Mississippi; but she couldn’t resist that nagging urge to venture on to Sutton Place. If nothing else, it would delay the inevitable – having to go home to an unfaithful husband, an out of control teen-aged daughter and the stash of pills she kept on hand to give her the courage to deal with it all.
Marie entered the lobby to two shouting women, each holding yapping little dogs in their arms. She felt like an extra in a movie.
She approached the desk where a red-faced concierge unsuccessfully tried to mediate between the women. Marie was a little disappointed that the Sutton Towers’ residents were just like regular people.
She laid the keys on the desk and patiently waited. The concierge turned toward her and recognizing the keys, his pleasant demeanor changed to one of contempt; he excused himself from the ruckus.
“You were supposed to be here yesterday”, he spoke in a loud whisper. “You must have a guardian angel or something because Mr. Dunbar called and said he wouldn’t return until the end of the month. Here’s the envelope he left for you. It’s the penthouse apartment and the security system is off.” He shoved the envelope at Marie and pointed her toward the elevator.
“Are you sure?” She asked.
He looked at her wild-eyed and in a grand gesture, pointed toward the elevator again.
Confusion, curiosity, and fear raced around within Marie as she inched toward the elevator expecting exposure at any moment.
She found herself in the apartment of a man named Richard Dunbar sipping on a glass of his wine. It seemed so right to be holding the glass of wine while taking in a spectacular view of the Queensboro Bridge from 80 floors up.
Marie explored the Dunbar home like a tourist in a museum. It rivaled a museum with its beautiful, and what she assumed were priceless antiques and paintings.
The guilt and fear dissolved by the second glass of wine and by her third, she felt so much at home she helped herself to a snack of grapes and cheese. She made herself comfortable on the chaise near the window.
“God, You truly do work in mysterious ways. I ask You for a tropical island and colorful drinks and you give me the island of Manhattan and a bottle of red wine. She looked up and realized she was sitting underneath a gigantic palm plant. I’ll take it!”
Marie woke up a few hours later. She felt invigorated and clear thoughts flowed through her head. She hadn’t felt this good in months. She took a long exaggerated stretch and began the return to reality, but this time, she was a woman with a mission.
As she walked briskly to the train station trying to recall every detail of the penthouse experience, her mind searched for someone to share it with. Her mother? Her sister? She decided she would take it with her to her grave. By the time she tried to convince someone she was telling the truth, she might begin to wonder if it had really happened.
The keys jingled in her pocket. She held them tight because she didn’t want to lose them. They were a symbol of courage to her. Something she had locked up a while ago; something her husband told her she didn’t have an ounce of and that’s why he cheated!
In truth, she had played the victim, but no more. She was going home to make everything wrong, right again; beginning with flushing the stash of pills. She didn’t need them anymore