The leaves stripped away their green to reveal colors underneath. Red and yellow decorated the trees, but few leaves had made it to the ground. I kept the baby with me, wrapped against my chest, as I worked on the garden. She was quieter like this, where she could see the world pressed against her mother’s breasts. Where I could run my fingers through the thick black hair you gave her.

“Where are you going?” I saw you carry two suitcases to the car—a newer one I hadn’t seen before and the old green one that had collected dust.  I ran to the car. You looked at her and then at me. Your eyes seemed sorry. I didn’t like sorry. “Give me a few minutes, I’ll come too.” 

 You grabbed my shoulder before I could leave. “You stay here.” I didn’t understand; we had a beautiful home and a beautiful daughter.

“Don’t go,” I cried as you got in the car. The baby sensed my distress – she started crying too. You looked at us, your crying wife and daughter, and sped off.

The world forced us to move on. The leaves fell and barren branches soon were decorated with snow. It was a long winter, without much food. Whatever I could afford, went to our sweet girl’s care. Then spring came, and the trees boasted patterns of pink and white, a short-lived prelude to the eternal green of summer. The garden did well, and we could eat again. I no longer had to carry our girl, she’d sit beside me on the grass, occasionally waddling around picking fights with the vegetables.

I thought of you as the green once again became yellows and reds. I thought of you so much that I believed my mind was what brought you back. It must have conjured up another version of you to come into our home and erase the pain of your absence. You exited the car, looking thinner and older. When you looked at me, my fantasies shattered, I knew it wasn’t us you were here for.

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    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    1 year ago

    Oh my goodness, what a powerful story, Vaishnavi. Just like your protagonist, you left me wondering why he deserted her and their child. I admired her tenacity and strength, taking care of her daughter through those hard times and coming through the other side. From the description of her husband, I can only guess the reason for his return is because he has a terminal illness and has come to the only… Read more »

    Preston Randall
    Preston Randall(@preston-randall)
    1 year ago

    I really enjoyed this story. One naturally feels great sympathy for the main character, and I found myself cheering her on towards the final, somewhat shocking (and dark) conclusion. Very well written!

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    Welcome to Voice.Club Vaishnavi. Obviously, I wished for the husband’s return, but why did he come back if not for his family? Interesting intriguing story, well done.

    Sandra James
    Sandra James(@sandra-james)
    1 year ago

    Beautifully written, Vaishnavi. I love the way she grows stronger as the seasons progress, even though she might not know it just yet. I felt angry at him for leaving her and their daughter but I hope she comes to realise how much better off they will be without him. I really enjoyed your story  ? 

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    11 months ago

    What a powerful first story, Vaishnavi. I also feel sad, angry, depressed for your protagonist. And I admire her strength as the seasons pass by. 

    It is well-paced. I am excited for your next story. Keep on writing.

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