Privilege Chapter Five: Freedom in Solitude

Emmet was at work when Addy took her winter things from the closet to put in her luggage. The tight sweaters Emmet required of her to be worn were placed visibly in the top of her suitcase, plus some secret comfortable clothing she had purchased for when he was absent, which she anticipated would be often, that she hid in a side compartment. When she was done she reached for a phone to call a friend to say her goodbyes. Then she stopped herself in the middle of that thought, realizing Emmet had essentially isolated her out of her own existence. Addy's eyes teared up as she now truly understood that for the first time in her life she had no one to call. Only her parents knew she was leaving, and they were off on a fishing tour in Mexico where there was no phone service. Out of sheer will to feel like she was still a member of society she walked to the kitchen where the cook was flirting with the maid. They looked at her as she awkwardly stood in the doorway, tugging on her top that was meant to show her midsection, something she found tacky. "I will be out of town for some time, please be sure my mail is forwarded to the address Dr. Taylor left." It was a redundant statement, as the staff had been informed weeks ago about her planned departure. Out of professionalism, they both nodded in acknowledgment. Addy turned to exit, hearing them both let out muffled sighs of relief as that had been strange even for them. With her title of Mrs. Taylor the ghost-like mistress of the house, Addy sulked about most of her time there. She had become a miserable mood that others were afraid to come into contact with. As if her depression were its own contagion that others were to fend off being near or risk it consuming them as well. In a once truly tasteless gesture, Addy overheard the staff assuming she was out of the house taking bets on when she would kill herself. No one even brought up the possibility that she might not.


Addy could not get out of the place fast enough. Between being glad to put some distance between herself and Emmet's social circle who were his defecto enforcers of his social protocols for Addy, and no longer having to be judged by the household staff Addy felt excited as she greeted the cockpit crew. The private jet had been reserved to take Addy to the small airport nearest to the cabin before she would have to drive herself in an SUV Emmet paid for in the nearby town the rest of the way. She was granted a solid week before Emmet was to send Frances her way. As desperate for any human contact as Addy was, Frances was her own sort of problem to deal with. Each time Addy saw Frances, Emmet had performed another surgery on her to alter her facial shape or change her figure in some way. Addy hadn't noticed their new resemblance before Alice commented on a picture of the two that she mailed to her in which Frances was starting to look like, well her. Addy pitied the slow-witted Frances, who probably thought that she would solve all of her unlikeable traits if she took on Addy's good looks, not that any amount of Emmet's skills could correct the congenital regret that made up the totality of Frances as a person. Frances still waddled without grace while she painfully had nothing to say when asked about much of anything. She forever picked her nose at the dinner table thinking the grotesque faux pas was concealed by her dinner napkin. Just as Frances could neither hide that she had the vocal range of a drunken baseball fan. Addy laughed a little to herself as she thought of how Emmet could reshape Frances's square, yet drooping breasts but not her tendency to appear as if she were about to drag her knuckles with her thick wrists. Maybe Emmet did love me, Addy wondered of her marriage. After all, if he thought so highly of her beauty that he curved Frances into a likeness of herself, then he must think well of Addy as his wife.


The plane landed and as expected the black SUV with four-wheel drive was waiting on the tarmac. At first, Addy was nervous to drive by herself on the icy road in the dark. The car even skidded on the pavement when she stopped suddenly for a deer. Her whole body tensed up at that moment. Then as if a magic wand had shifted her bleak world into a brighter one Addy looked around seeing there was no one to judge her. No traffic cops ready to give her a ticket, none of Emmet's friends, no townspeople at all nearby even. She was alone, not due to restriction or degradation. She was alone by proximity, there was no other human in sight for miles. Addy feeling like she were about to burst, cheered in her car to herself. She was never going back to the city again. At the cabin, Addy quickly found it was fully stocked with food. The delivery service had been diligent despite the lack of supervision. No live-in staff though, something that only furthered Addy's glee in her new surroundings. There was a satellite phone, cable, with spotty internet and no one else at all. The only drawback Addy found was that she was still geographically isolated. She could not drive very far until the weather was better, which would be some time. The nearby town was hardly that. It acted as a modern trading post for truckers and seasonal lumberjacks. There was a post office, motel/bar, and a small grocery store attached to the gas station. The population was under one hundred people, in the off-season it halved even that.


Her first week on her own, Addy was initially skeptical that Emmet would catch her eating the chocolate cake that she made while she was lounging around in her cozy pajamas. She even checked the house for cameras not sure if she was being paranoid or cautious. Being away from Emmet and the crafted prison he had put her in was so freeing that she would joyfully yell out in joy when she made a "mistake" that would have gotten her in trouble. Addy tried to contact her family in Baja, but Emmet said that he didn't want them to "squat the whole season," as if he expected her family to be able to visit without his assistance. Addy's father Tom never forgave Emmet for what he considered was Emmet's hand moving in the background to push him out of the business world. Addy felt that Tom may have been right about Emmet, but with his lackluster years as an entrepreneur, Addy had mixed feelings about such an accusation. Not that she put anything past Emmet, who she would never say aloud was a controlling petty man.


It wasn't long before Addy put on some weight in her freedom. Something she smiled to herself about when she would catch a glimpse of her reflection in the master bathroom mirror. She would admire her own hips and breasts with approval at their regained fullness. A concept totally lost on her 90s model idealizing husband. All good things were not meant to last in her world though and Emmet flew in to wreck her happiness after Thanksgiving. Further adding insult to vexation he brought with him the loathsome Frances, who was recovering from her lastest procedure. Addy greeted them both at the airport. Emmet walking past his own wife as if she were nothing more than the hired help and Frances with her chin bandaged stumbled to the car behind him. Emmet was only there for three days, yet he tried to browbeat Addy back into her place of mental imprisonment as if he would never let up. The spell of his superiority was wearing off though. When Emmet would passive aggressively mock Addy, she could now notice how short he was, how bald he was and how spittle would escape his sour breath as he took issue with the simplest of situations. Addy was glad that he had never been one to expect much in the way of the bedroom, as that part of their marriage fell by the wayside before their cotton anniversary. She made excuses to stay out of their room at night to avoid seeing his elderly hunched-over body as he undressed. She cringed at the thought of him asking her to give him a "lower back massage." An act that involved her rubbing his buttocks that were covered in moles and patchy hair. As he never thanked her but instead told her how bad she was at it for not using enough "pressure."


The night Addy took him back to the airport he was in such a hurry to leave that when Addy yelled goodbye to him as he walked toward the plane he called back to her "See ya, Franny." Embarrassed by her husband calling out the pet name of her adopted sister Addy tried to save face by not acknowledging this in front of the cockpit crew who waved back at her as she drove off. Maybe the reason that Addy didn't bother to correct him was that she was so glad to see him leave. It was a pity that he left Frances behind with Addy. When Addy returned Frances was in the master bathroom vanity, looking at Emmet's work. "How are you, Frances? Do you need anything?" Addy inquired to the dead-eyed Frances who shrugged her shoulders and stated "I wanna go out." This was the beginning of Frances making a habit out of using Addy as a chauffeur after she went to the local bar all night. Not that Frances gave her much of any thanks for her kindness. Most of the time when Addy picked Frances up she found her sister who would be at the bar talking to a group of retired lumberjacks about her "self-righteous, stuck up sister that thinks she's better than everyone." Addy couldn't wait for Frances to leave and go back to her life in the city, but Frances never left.


By Christmas Emmet had returned. Addy had never seen Emmet and Frances together before as she did in the cabin. Frances and Emmet would laugh together as if they had inside jokes for everything. Addy sulked to herself that even in a place as intimate as their little cabin, Emmet had still managed to make Addy feel unwanted and alone. Emmet had never been so open with her or so welcoming, their relationship was almost completely business-oriented. That business being public appearances. Addy at one point seeing a potential moment to join in to feel the warmth of human companionship that she now only kept in her distant memory sat at the table as Emmet and Frances watched her together having entirely stopped speaking when they realized that she had entered the room. Addy tried to brush off the obvious closed-off tone they both shared in unison, but Addy wanted so much to laugh with someone, anyone, she sat there hoping they would go back to laughing as if she were among friends, but it was not to be. Instead, Emmet stood up, saying "goodnight ladies" as he went to his bedroom down the hall from Addy's guest quarters. Frances got up too, mumbling something to the effect of "way to kill the mood." Addy being stubborn with herself didn't budge in that room that had suddenly emptied itself for no reason that she understood. "Why?" It was the only thought she had as she trembled with sadness. "Why couldn't Emmet love her? Why couldn't Frances be the sister she had hoped she could be?" All of which had no answers, only heartache for Addy. She was dying to be loved, and it was a losing battle. Addy thought she was done trying to win Emmet's approval, but all of those hurt feelings came back when she saw how relaxed he was with Frances, something she never received from him at all.


Emmet flew out after Christmas once again calling her "Franny" at the airport. Addy wondered if he was now doing that on purpose, as he seemed to get a sick thrill out of dehumanizing her for some unexplained reason. Frances stayed on a few days more but ultimately left to go to a New Years' Eve event with some of her friends from school. This made Addy all the more jealous of Frances, something that she never anticipated for herself as for the most part she found Frances to be disgustingly low. Addy had hunkered in for the remainder of the winter. She knew she was going to be alone for the most part. She could go back to her home in the city near Emmet, but he was no reason for her to want to travel, he was the reason to stay away.