She finally turned north, after a solid hour of creeping west, and breathed in the empty lanes, the dark skies, the familiar route, home only minutes away. But in relaxing the tiredness crept in, the fatigue numbed her eyes and weighted her lungs. On the last turns, while waiting at nearly empty intersections, she tipped her head back and thought, this. This is how it would feel to come home every night after a city commute, after a job.
This was how it used to feel, except there hadn't been children and dinner and wet laundry waiting then. There weren't things that happened, or that needed to happen, in her absence. Life had been a straight line between two points–home, work, home, work. Now being home was work, and work was anything and everything that could be fit in around home. To feel like this every night, every night, every night…
She had one eye-level, full-faced, birthday gift view of the moon as she rounded a corner–gibbous, yellow, huge against the horizon–and then it was gone, leaving only her awareness that it was still there, somewhere high above, waiting. She wanted a drink. She wanted to stand outside and get cold in the darkness. She wanted to breathe in secret, silent night air all alone and invisible by the mailbox. She wanted to stare at the sky above the roof lines and the empty trees–part black, part blue, part pink, with one visible planet, the exact sky she had stared at from her childhood window.
She wanted to be naked outside in all of it, nothing touching her, growing colder and lighter and emptier until she finally was bored, or was embarrassed, or was something. She wanted to wait at least that long before she went inside. But instead she picked up the mail, rolled the garbage can up the path, and wondered where the hawk had made his nest while she stared out the window of the house.
Christy Schragal occasionally edits for others, always writes for herself, and currently thinks about both while carpooling all over her adopted city of Richmond, VA.
Christy takes classes with Valley.