It has been two weeks since I escaped.
I haven’t seen or heard anything about it. I suppose the asylum does not want the news to spread. I feel they must keep the most unbecoming news and everyday treatment of their patients secret in order to continue to exist. I would hope that if the public knew the truth about our treatment inside, there would be some changes made. I like to think if I had known before, I may have tried to help, but in truth the public may willingly choose to remain ignorant. Unwilling to acknowledge this stain on our society similar to the way William choose to ignore me after I was admitted. All of this has played in my favor.
I have waited, impatiently so, before trying to see my daughter. I know I can’t let William see me. He would not be happy, and I would only be sent back away from her. I won’t go back now. I can’t. I am not sure if the asylum reached out to them about my escape. I needed to wait and see before seeking out Ruth. Seeing her now, maybe William does not know either. I have been tracking Ruth, and there seems to be nothing amiss to her security.
I have altered my appearance some. I cut my hair short. I collected some clothes here or there to help me blend in more. I am not dressed as a lady. Those ideals are gone. I could never be that person again. I want to live simply. I want to work to keep my happiness. I cannot go back to doing what others ask. I find that there are many things I cannot go back to now.
From my vantage point on the bench, I look up and finally see my first real glimpse of her. She was barely smiling when I left. She is walking now, and her whole face is bright and happy. She is with another woman, her nurse I remind myself. They are walking through the park. I look at Ruth. Really look at her. She is beautiful. That same feeling I once had in my heart comes rushing back. I know I cannot spend another moment away from her. A stage of her life was taken from me, and I refuse to let that continue. I want to be a part of her life like I was never allowed before. She is my only priority.
I watch and wait as she plays with the other woman. I am waiting until the right moment presents itself. Then it happens. The woman turns to set out a blanket and what looks like lunch for both of them. I run for Ruth expecting her to scream at my presence near her, but as I get to her, she looks up at me with her blue eyes and smiles. I reach for her and she is quickly in my arms. I take a very quick second realizing I have my arms around Ruth again. It is the only place I want to be. Then, never for a moment stopping to look back, we escape from the lives we once lived. Leaving behind the criticism for the love I have for Ruth. Together being all the happiness we need.
For days we didn’t stop. I knew from birth how great Ruth was, but she has grown so much. Still she is a wonderful, kind child. Almost as if she sensed the importance of her demeanor on this journey. She was quiet and never left my arms. I soaked every moment in, letting the importance of what I had done overtake every decision I made. I knew we needed to run far and stay hidden. What I had done would never be acceptable. My death would surely be imminent if we were caught.
As we travelled, I began to think on what I could say and do to provide for Ruth without William or my father’s monetary help. My upbringing did not provide me many skills that may help to provide for us. After several nights on our own, I discovered that I was decent at preparing food. Maybe I could find a family to cook for after apprenticing. If I claimed to be a widow, no one would question Ruth’s presence or why I may be seeking employment. Now that I had a plan, I needed to find where we could go where no one could possibly know us. We found our hope in Ireland.
For a few years, I trained under the kitchen servants and was able to make a nice home for us. Later after we escaped, I learned that William had fallen ill with tuberculosis shortly after I took Ruth. This explained why the search for her was not extensive. He moved to Italy to warmer climate, but inevitably was unable to recover and died the following year. Now I truly was a widow and did not fear capture quite like I did at first. I was able to live my life with Ruth the way I wanted.
I had learned so much about myself during my stay in the asylum. Despite how terrible the institution, I discovered myself and the strength I had to defeat any obstacle that came before me. Nothing would ever seem as difficult as that time in my life. Now every day, although I must work hard, I am able to be a part of my darling Ruth’s life. Ruth knows no difference, and lives a happy and content life. We both do.