I lowered my sunglasses and double-checked the street outside the bank before going in. â€œPas des mechants, mes poulettes,â€ I whispered to the girls as I held the door open with the heel of my boot, wedged my orange BOB Revolution through the door, and made my way to the teller. She was trÃ¨s jolie, I had to admit, with her long brown hair and perfect lipstick, but I didnâ€™t return her smile.
â€œMay I help you, miss?â€ she asked, still smiling, giving me the benefit of the doubt, making nice.
â€œBonjour,â€ I called over the counter, flaunting my accent. I still didnâ€™t smile. â€œI need to close my account.â€ I showed her my license.
The teller furrowed her perfect brow. â€œIs there a problem?â€ she murmured confidentially.
â€œA problem? No.â€ Mais oui. Agathe and Ã‰dith were waking up now; their little chirps emerged from the stroller, which I jostled a bit while I debated how to tell the teller what she wanted to hear. I stooped down and pulled the leather satchel from underneath the Revolution and calmly passed it over the counter. â€œHere, take this. Give me all cash. Nothing smaller than hundreds, please.â€
She nodded. I watched the second hand make a slow round of the clock above her pretty face. Mais oui, une problÃ¨me, I thought as I recalled the past six months in the apartment with only the staff and the bÃ©bÃ©s. It wasnâ€™t natural. â€œYou canâ€™t go outside alone,â€ David insisted. â€œIt isnâ€™t safe out there,â€ heâ€™d coo to the girls as heâ€™d part the blinds to peek at the street below.
Not long ago, I thought as I watched the tellerâ€™s manicured fingernails match the rhythm of the second hand, I used to enjoy Davidâ€™s protectiveness. He loved me and didnâ€™t want to share, I used to think. Merveilleux, I used to think when he had a museum shut down for the afternoon so we could wander through uninterrupted, or when he emptied out the restaurants first so we could dine privately. Oui, I used to love it.
â€œJust a moment while I go downstairs, miss,â€ the teller smiled.
The girlsâ€™ chirps turned to screeches. I clucked and jostled, jostled and clucked, but they wouldnâ€™t settle. This was new to them, I realized, reaching into my handbag for their bottles. I shoved the plastic nipples into the girlsâ€™ open mouths and thank God, they shut up. I pulled out their twin bowls of organic crackers and plunked them on their matching trays. We were getting looks by then. I could feel the prying eyes on the back of my head and the skin on my bare hands began to crawl. I wished Iâ€™d worn gloves.
The teller returned, my bag hanging empty in her hand. â€œPlease come with me, miss.â€
â€œJust call me maâ€™am, why donâ€™t you?â€ I screamed, slipping into my native drawl. My heart was pounding. The teller blinked but didnâ€™t lose her composure. She pressed the bag into my hand and ushered me and the baby stroller through a door into a small room.
It turned out that my asshole husband had rolled my whole $50 million savings into one of his private accounts. It turned out to be a teensy clause in our fucking pre-nup. The teller smiled and handed me a tissue.
It wasnâ€™t the bitchâ€™s fault, so I backed the BOB out of the bank, turned on my heel, and headed for the park. At least that was free. â€œLadies, donâ€™t ever go and get married,â€ I called to the girls, who cooed back.