The Way Comes But Once

My backpack hung heavy in my hands as if it could anchor me to the ground. I moved like a ghost down the hall, stopping at each of our children’s rooms to peer in. Imagining their faces in the morning when they realized that they were alone broke my heart. I was abandoning them.

“I don’t want to do this.” I murmured.

My husband’s harsh whisper erupted from beside me, his voice bitter. “Shut up- you don’t have a choice any more. None of us do.” He had never forgiven me for not telling him about this day before I got pregnant.

Together we joined Jim, Rachel and a shell-shocked Ronnie in our living room.

Rachel smiled serenely. “This is what we’ve been waiting for. You know they can’t come. They’d be trapped there forever.”

“Who has the directions?” Jim asked.

Ronnie shook her head and clutched two bottles of cheap wine to her chest as if they could take the place of the twins she was leaving behind.

“Just follow the second star to the right and head straight on ’til morning, right?” My husband sighed.

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