She peeled him off her leg and moved towards the door, knowing in her mind that he would be fine moments after she left his sight. He begged her to stay, the first who had.
This day was one with months, if not years, of anticipation. He'd been looking forward to it with such excitement. Her, with trepidation.
As she walked out the door, she fought back the tears that would come regardless of her efforts.
What do I do now, who am I without him? If this part of my life is coming to a close, who can I be? Who should I be?
She held back the tears until she was far away and had found a park bench. The steel was cold and uncomfortable.
The park was vast and empty, except for the man with the giant black dog on the other side. The breeze slight. She looked up at the maple tree to see the very tops of the leaves showing the slightest hint of change already. How was that even possible? It seemed like just yesterday the trees were barren in the dead of winter. They'd just gotten their leaves, hadn't they?
Then she remembered that it was almost fall and she'd just dropped off her baby at school and even though the thermometer still indicated summer, cooler days were coming. Summer had come and gone and she'd barely even noticed.
Too many other things, far more significant than the name of the month on the calendar, had happened. Too many things that she wished had never occurred. Too many things that she tried desperately to wipe from her memories.
She picked up the book resting in her lap and tried to read it. Tried to transport herself to another place. Tried to care about the characters and the story. She read and re-read pages, absorbing nothing. Put the book aside.
She couldn't do it.
She shut her eyes to will away the tears again. Opened them to a sky full of birds, soaring high above her. They were engaged in a beautiful mid air dance, free and alive. She wanted to feel that again.
She didn't even know who she was anymore.
All she knew is that she wasn't who she thought she was. Nothing was what she thought. And nothing ever would be again.
On top of that uncertainty, there was today. Today, and forever after, one person would need her less. A chapter of her life as a woman and mother closed.
She peeked down at her phone, no new messages. No new calls. She'd hoped there would be.
It was time. Time to return to the life she thought she knew, to retrieve the boy and take him home and pretend for another day.
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