A tear slid down her face. How could this be a happy moment?
One of those moments that will forever leave a mark or milestone per se. Her heart thumped to the beat of a drum buried deep in her chest. There was a strong panic as she was gripping a tiny hand in her clammy fist. She had to try to hide it. Except for the screams of the locusts, there was a deafening silence in the life around her. Fear was in the air that smelled of grapes and apples ripe for harvest.
"How was this life ever going to be the same?" she whispered to her husband.
"You have to and you can." He calmly slid his hand down to the small of her back as if trying to support her, both physically and emotionally.
"We don't have to do this," she pleaded.
"Yes we do, everything will be fine you'll see," he encouraged.
She felt the sharp gravel under her bare feet, like shards of glass. As much as it hurt she was glad it was there. She hated every bit of this. She felt as though she was abandoning him though she knew he had to go. What were her days going be filled with after this moment? Her mind raced through every second of their lives together. From his first steps to her countless nights of no sleep. All of their laughter and their tears. Memories that will forever fill her, but seem like they will never be enough. She prayed silently: Please give me the strength to do what must be done. Please tell me everything will be OK.
A rolling rumble echoed off the hills. Through her welled eyes she could see it coming. The sound of the oil and stoned road was popping and crackling as it approached. The lights flashed, stopping not only the traffic but her heart as well. She could barely breathe. The invisible string linking them will be broken and his independence will begin to grow.
As the door opened his little hand drifted from her grip. His feet reached and failed to conquer the mountainous step. As she went to assist, she felt her husband clutch her hand. Her precious son reached with the bravery of a grown man and grabbed for the railing, hoisting himself up. Somehow she found a smile. She laughed a guttural laugh that she almost choked on.
"I love you," she said. Her husband gleamed with pride.
"I love you too Mommy and Daddy." Proudly and with the excitement of Christmas morning he climbed the rest of the stairs. The accordion style door slowly shut, the brake released and taillights was all she could see.
She stood there motionless, full of the strangest feelings. Pride, love, fear and loneliness rushed to her heart all at once. It was so overwhelming that it pushed tears down her flushed cheeks. Every instinct in her was screaming to follow him.
"That was the hardest thing I have ever or will ever have to do," she confessed to her husband embracing him tightly. Pulling away from her he stood gazing at his broken wife. She looked down at her bare feet and the tiny shoe prints in the dusty drive way that led to the road. He wiped her tears with his strong calloused hands. Lifting her chin up and looking into her big blue eyes he smiled, "No it's not honey. It's when the school bus stops coming that will be the hardest, and he will still need you then. Our kids will always need you, forever."
He cupped his hand in hers and led her slowly up to their beautiful home that they built with love and raised with faith. Giving her a gentle kiss on her forehead he turned and left for work.
The silence was painful as she shut the door behind her. She stood in their kitchen anxiously awaiting their return later that day. "It will get better. It will get easier. It has too," she told herself as she rinsed cool water over her hands and smoothed it on her face.
With a sigh, she grinned at the beginning of the rest of her life.
Ivory Fishgold is a Sinclairville resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org