I’ve walked myself deep into the woods. I want very much to turn on my heel, to walk back out of these woods into the town, down the lane into my life as it used to be. But, I don’t know how.
Hot tears splashed on Claire’s face as she put down the writing instrument and turned away from the unfinished letter on the desk.
Charles had moved a small writing table under the attic window just before he had left; the writing table that had been previously in the nursery. She paused, doubtful. Her probing mind momentarily took its focus off her maudlin mood. She had watched him meticulously measuring furniture throughout the house to ensure it would fit up the stairwell to the attic. He had struggled with the piece. He had waited until the servants had gone and before Espy was expected.
He had done it for her, she decided then and stood with some purpose. She leaned over the desk to peer at her children playing in the garden beneath her. Tessa was trying to pull up a small bush. Robbie was digging a hole in the corner by the wrought iron gate. Her skirts rustled against the table. The sun was halfway up and she was overcome by a sense of lightening. There was the day ahead, after all. She wiped her face and smiled involuntarily.
This was a new existence, she thought. Everyone was gone now. Her children were safe. No more questions she found so difficult to answer. She turned on her heel, away from the window towards the door that led to the stairwell down to the house.
As she walked the loss of what had come before settled on her chest. She had been so busy trying to protect her children, she hadn’t the room before. Her chest felt heavy, like a smooth stone had been dropped into the middle of it and moved inexorably and according to its own weight and nothing more all the way to a bottomless bottom. She had reached the landing and touched the banister lightly, so as not to betray her desire to clutch it. She began to walk down the stairs to join her children.
As she did the thought crossed her mind that, maybe, she could walk all the way through the forest to the other side.