She Leaves in the Morning
by Nancy Ames
She was awake beside him all night, her heart thudding with terror, but she waited for dawn to leave.
Each step she took in her muddy snow-boots was heavy with all the wasted years. Her happy plans for the house and garden were getting smaller and further away, like the perspective diagrams in art class in high school, before she met him.
It happened because of the extreme isolation of the farm. Outside of the judgmental social context of the town, he had lost his humanity. He was only an animal now. Her ears felt deaf with his shouting. Even in his sleep he muttered angrily and threw punches at the pillows.
And now he had chased her out of his cave, out of her well-tended home. He wouldn’t survive without her either. She pictured him sitting in his chair at the head of the dining table, his fork in his fist, waiting for breakfast while the fire went out.
The soggy mud of the field clung to her boots as she walked. It was difficult to go on but she was aiming for the tree on the hill because once she got up to the tree the warm, reaching fingers of dawn would bring hope and comfort to her tired body.
Spring would arrive for her and for the tree. She lifted her eyes. Already she could see that its buds were ready to burst into new little green leaves.