Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

Author:Heidi Perks
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Gallery Books


NOW

Do I have to go over the facts?” Detective Rawlings says. “We have a missing person and someone died tonight.”

“I know.” I press my fingers to my eyes, squeezing them shut. “I know.”

“And we still aren’t getting to the truth,” she goes on.

“I’m telling you what I know,” I snap.

“Are you?” She sits back in her chair and stares at me.

“Yes,” I plead, though even I know I don’t sound sincere.

Harriet had never told me what was going on in her marriage. Yet as much as I can tell myself it was because she didn’t want me to know, I can’t ignore the feeling I didn’t look hard enough.

Maybe that’s what the detective saw the moment I walked into the room. That right from the start of our friendship I was wrapped up in my own life. Isn’t that what the mums like us are like? The gaggle of women who take over the playground with our raucous laughter, acting like the school owes us something for being there?

I saw that in some of them over the days after the school fair, the way they ushered their kids away from me, afraid if I came too near that one of their children would disappear too. Not all of them. Not Aud, of course. But it made me realize how fragile the strings were that tied the rest of us together. How some friendships are built on so little they can fall apart at the slightest strain.

But I wasn’t like them, I wanted to plead with Rawlings. I still feel the urge to persuade her that I wasn’t, and that is why I was drawn to Harriet.

Harriet reminded me of the person I wanted to be, the one I still was in the heart of my soul. Harriet didn’t kiss the air or gush over handbags like they alone would solve third-world problems. I could tell Harriet anything and I knew she cared.

She could have told me anything too. Only she hadn’t.

“But you didn’t see any clues?” the detective persists.

Looking back, there were possibly many clues, but I tell the detective I didn’t. Yet as I sit here in the whitewashed room, with the microphone still recording and my mind dissolving, I remember a particular time when Harriet and I sat on our usual bench in the park.

Evie had been a baby and was finally asleep in the stroller and, while I hadn’t been able to rest completely with the threat of her waking any moment, I’d closed my eyes and reveled in the moment’s peace, when Harriet’s voice rang out from behind me. For a moment, I’d felt my stomach sink. I hadn’t thought we’d arranged to meet.

When I’d opened my eyes, I’d seen Alice toddling off to the sandpit where Molly was filling a bucket. Harriet had stripped off her cardigan and pulled a lunch box out, and I remember thinking it looked like she was there to stay. “What are your plans today?” I’d asked. “Are you and Alice off anywhere nice?”

“No, nothing special.



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