Destination Nowhere

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EPISODE 1 – Doldrum

Faithful to a fault, a wife’s patient endurance of a loveless marriage wears out as Diana takes steps to address her depressing existence.

Monotony

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Childless Diana Thompson looks out of the window each day, contemplating where she might go and how she might begin a new life. She feels confined within the doldrums of an intractable loveless relationship in a rural Kentucky neighborhood. Her workaholic husband is rarely home.

Reading geography books and romance novels to pass the time, Diana imagines a wonderful new life awaits her somewhere. When her husband returns home, her fantasies disappear into the fog of her drab real life.

While sitting on the bed, Diana hears the front door open and keys drop on the coffee table. Footsteps walk to the refrigerator. Her husband, Sam, removes one of several containers she earlier prepared and places it in the microwave. When the timer bell rings, Sam grabs a fork and eats his dinner at the kitchen table.

After finishing his meal, he puts the bowl into the sink and reclines on the sofa with his laptop computer. Hours go by until he falls asleep.

In the morning, Sam awakens to take a shower. Fresh clothes are hanging on a hook inside the bathroom door. After getting dressed, he eats a bowl of cold cereal, grabs his keys and laptop. Then he heads out the front door. Like resetting a carnival ride, Diana gets out of bed to reset the house for the events that repeat themselves each day.

Dash

On a warm summer day, Diana goes grocery shopping and decides not to return home. She withdraws all her money from a bank account and takes the auto­mobile pink slip from her safety deposit box.

Without a suitcase, she gets on the highway and drives until the gas tank nears empty. While filling up at a gas station, she researches a local motel on her phone. Then she checks in for the night. The austere room is not unlike the bedroom in which she has lived alone for about fifteen of the twenty years she has been married.

The manager suggests a nearby restaurant for dinner. This is the first time she has not cooked dinner in fifteen years. It takes Diana awhile to get acclimated to the menu and environment. Used to being frugal, she keeps the bill under $25, including tip.

After dinner, Diana heads over to the bar within the restaurant to watch television. When some unsavory characters make advances, she tells them that she is waiting for her boyfriend to finish his football game. At 7 o’clock, she checks her phone but there are no messages.

On the way back to the motel, she stops at a thrift store to purchase some inexpensive outfits, underwear, a sewing kit, an overnight bag, hair dye, and disposable phone. She momentarily regrets not packing a bag. But she reasons that if she had returned to do so, she may not have had the courage to leave.

“It doesn’t make sense to run away to a place that resembles home,” she rationalizes. So she begins searching exotic destinations. “What would it be like to fly to Italy or Paris? Can I become a Canadian citizen?” With some rusty high school Spanish lessons, Diana could relocate to Mexico. The cost of living is much cheaper there.

Kidnapping

Diana imagines that she is kidnapping herself. New to the world of crime, she binge watches movies with that theme through the next day. She gets up, showers, and puts on a change of clothing. Then she jots down notes while eating some of the non-perishable groceries from her last trip to the market.

Most of the house bills are setup for autopay from her husband’s bank account. But she put aside $50 from each of her husband’s paychecks into her rainy day account. With interest over fifteen years, she has accumulated more than $30,000. She begins sewing hidden pouches in her garments to stash the cash. Then she hides the remainder within compartments and obscure places in the vehicle.

Fleeing in her own car while carrying her registered smartphone is a good way to get tracked. After checking for unreceived messages once more, Diana removes and breaks the SIM card and turns off the phone. In its place, she activates the burner phone.

Diana feels that she needs to keep moving and changing traceable information. So she checks out, drives to a secluded area and exchanges license plates with a parked car. Then she gets on the highway to a new city.

At the next motel she dyes her hair before leaving the keys on the nightstand. She drives to another secluded area to pull someone else’s license plates but discards the first ones she took inside of a dumpster in the next town.

After checking into a motel, she drives to a local auto body paint shop and pays to have her car painted another color. They say it will take a couple of days so she remains in town. Afterwards, Diana drives to Arkansas. Here, she decides to settle down for awhile. So she rents a room by the week. After looking for work, she finds a job as a waitress at a local diner.

Missing

On the second day, Sam notices that Diana has not put out fresh clothes for him to wear to work. He figures that she is angry with him. Not wanting to hear any nagging, he keeps wearing the same outfit or changing up the pants.

By the fourth day of Diana’s absence, Sam sends a text to her asking if she is all right. Without a reply, on the fifth day, he enters the bedroom to discover she is missing. He then looks in the garage and sees her car is gone. Sam leaves voice and text messages all day. On the sixth day, he reports his missing wife to the police.

Questioning husband

Sam estimates that Diana may have been gone for at least a couple of days. The police are immediately suspicious of his vague recollection of when he last saw her. Sam shows them the unanswered text messages.

“Do you have a picture of her?” asks Detective Nicholson.

“Sure, there’s one right here on the mantle. It’s our wedding photo.”

“How long ago was this taken, Mr. Thompson?”

“It’s been about… twent…. Yes, twenty years ago… or thereabouts.”

“Is there a more recent photo, perhaps on your phone?”

“Uh, no. I’m sorry. But she looks just like this.”

“Mr. Thompson, what was your wife last wearing?” officers ask.

“I don’t know.”

“Did she pack a suitcase?”

“Uh…. It doesn’t look like anything is missing,” replies the husband.

“Were the two of you in an argument recently? Perhaps she went to a friend’s home.”

“No, we don’t fight.”

“Can you provide the names and addresses of any friends she may have?”

“She prefers to keep to herself. Shy, you know.”

“What is the year and model of her car?”

“She has a white Toyota Camery. I’m not sure of the year or license plate number.”

“That is a popular vehicle. Can you search through your papers to get specific information, please?” officers ask.

“My wife files the papers. I’m not sure where to look.”

“You seem to be in shock, which is understandable. Just sit down for a moment while we step outside.”

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