She is late,so late. Trying her best not to panic. He hates when she is late. It makes him uncomfortable, angry, distrusting. She does not understand why.
Pulling into the drive, the house is pitch black. A sigh of relief escapes her lips; he must not be here.
Puts the key into the lock, steps in.
He jumps from behind the door, halts any hope of escape, pushes her up against the wall with his arm around her neck. Shines a flashlight into her face, interrogating her- where have you been?
I had to work late, I’m sorry. I tried to call but you didn’t answer.
His grip eases a bit, just enough to allow a halting breath to fill her lungs. He is dressed in full army fatigues, boots and all. There is a gun at his hip.
Are you telling me the truth?
As the headlights from a passing car lights up his darkened pupils, she knows this will not be a good night.
The only chance she has is to distract him so she can run through the still open front door.
Please stop, I told you I had to work late. As he lowers his arm from her neck, she makes her move. Pushing him with all her strength, she turns and bolts out into the sheltering night. Running as fast as she can as if the devil himself were on her tail. There is no moon to light her way; she thanks God for this one small thing. The ebony night is her cloak in which she feels safe.
In the distance, she can hear him, calling her name. She begs God to help her. Please God, make him give up looking for me. Her prayer, answered with at last, silence.
With legs aching and lungs screaming, she slows her pace. Realizes she is near the tiny neighborhood park. Finding a quiet shelter on a bench under a tree, a broken sigh escapes her dry lips. The emotions as a result of the night hit her with the force of an avalanche. So many questions coursing through her mind. Why, why, why? No answers or understanding come to her. Wiping her wet face, she pauses, listens for any sign he has followed her. The croaking frogs in the nearby pond and the cicadas in the trees are the only sounds she hears. The night’s symphony surrounds her. It eases her soul, and her breathing slows.
With the fireflies as her only light for the night, she realizes there is no going back now.
Tonight, this is her home and the bench her bed. Sheltered in nature under the wispy willow tree, she settles in, praying for safety and a plea for peace.
Not only in her Iife, but his as well. She wishes him no harm, in spite of tonight.
Feeling God all around her, she drifts away into blessed sleep.
Linda Lee Lyberg