The Wintering

by Caitlin M

The world was cold and impersonal, like an empty room. She always hated moving ? she never adjusted well to change.

?Sylvia,? her husband called from the car.

She turned around and looked at him.

They were surrounded by wheat fields, an endless stretch of nothing. The sun had grown cold, despite the warmth of the blue sky that stretched before her. She pulled her jean jacket close.

?C?mon, Sylvia. We?re leaving, hon.?

We?re leaving. She looked at the fields, but her head was filled with the crunching sound of his approaching footsteps. She didn?t want to hear him; she didn?t want to listen to his rationalizing. This was her home, and she didn?t want to leave it.

His hand was on her shoulder. ?Sylvia?? he asked.

She looked at him, and he pulled back. She had the brightest, most accusing eyes he had ever seen, and there was not a trace of humor anywhere on her face. Her wind-tangled hair fell in curls on her shoulders. She was frowning.

?It?s time to go,? he said.

She turned back to the fields and imagined that she saw an icy blue lake, man-made, one where they might have gone swimming in the summer and ice skating in the winter, if only someone had thought to put one there. The world was full of possibilities.

She couldn?t believe he was taking them away from all of this.

His arms came around her shoulders and he squeezed her tight. ?I know you?ll miss it, but we have to get to Michigan. I promised my boss that we?d be all moved in by tomorrow.?

The corner of her mouth lifted with a smile, but her eyes were still cold and far away. ?That isn?t an awful lot of time,? she said.

Her husband nodded. ?No, it isn?t.?

We have to go. We have to go.

He got her back into the car, where the kids were playing in the back seat. They looked at her with wide, strange eyes that sent her accusations when she got in. They seemed to know that they were leaving forever.

We have to go. We couldn?t make our lives here, she thought as they drove.

Sylvia started to cry, and his hand was on her shoulder, but he kept driving.