I stormed out of the house and tried to unlock my car, but I couldn’t get the key in the lock. Ted came out and asked me where I was going.
“Don’t talk to me, you asshole!” I shouted. Ted looked around nervously to see if there were plainclothes police listening in.
“Come into the house,” he said. “We’ll talk.”
He tried to take me back to the house, but I began hitting and pounding on him. I really wanted to break his goddamn jaw. “Leave me alone,” I screamed. “I hate you.” Finally I got the door open, jumped into the car, pulled out and left him standing in the dust. I thought he would probably follow me, and I wanted to get to the house and bolt the door before he got there.
To get from the Magnolia District to our house requires going through a tricky interchange of streets, and in my drunken state I took a wrong turn and found myself heading for downtown Seattle. I pulled over to figure out how I was going to go in the opposite direction and that’s the last thing I remembered until I found myself in my garage.
I ran into the house. I could tell Ted had been there. I pushed the bolt in place so that he couldn’t get back in, even though he had a key. I sat in the dining room with all the lights out. I knew he would be back, and I didn’t know what I would do. Soon I heard his key in the lock. He called my name softly and jiggled the key furiously in the lock. I didn’t answer and he kept it up. Finally I said through the door, “Go away. Leave me alone. I don’t want to see you anymore. ”
More loudly now, he started begging me to open the door, all the while jiggling the key. Then I heard the key break off in the lock, and at the same time, one of the guys who lived upstairs came to the head of the stairs.
“Leave her alone, man.” he said.
“Fuck off,” Ted told him.
“Hey, she told you to get out of here. If you don’t I’m calling the cops.”
“Liz?” Ted called through the door. “If I call you from a phone booth, will you talk to me?”
I wanted him gone before there was more trouble, so I said yes. Five minutes later the phone rang. I let it ring for a long time. I almost had the strength to not answer it. Ted was crying. “The last thing in the whole world I want to do is hurt you,” he was sobbing, “but over and over I wound you.”
“Call me in the morning. I don’t have anything to say to you now.”
“Please, Liz. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you so much. I can’t live without out you.” On and on he went. Eventually I decided that this man needed me so desperately that I told him to come back and I would let him in.
The next day, Ted sheepishly took the lock apart and removed the broken key. I kept it on my keyring for a long time as a reminder of what had happened that night.