scene of confession later that night, when I would tell him how all day
I’d thought he was dead.
When my phone finally rang, it was my husband’s mother. She never
“Where are you right now?” she asked without saying hello.
“Just pulling into home after preschool,” I said. And waited through
an awkward silence. “What’s going on?” I finally asked.
“We’ll be right over,” she said.
Ice and adrenaline flooded my bloodstream. The hand that held the
phone began to tremble uncontrollably.
“What’s going on?” I said again, this time louder. “What is it?” I said
“We’ll be right over,” she repeated. And hung up.
I snapped at my son’s slowness in getting out of the truck, three times
in a row, until I heard myself yelling at him. My hands wouldn’t stop
shaking. “I’m sorry,” I said to him. “I’m so sorry.”
I settled him in front of the television with his lunch and went straight
to my laptop on the table in the corner of the kitchen. News websites had
already posted pictures of the bridge accident. They showed the front
end of a Toyota pickup resting precariously on top of a highway guard-
rail and a dented maroon BMW behind it, sideways across two lanes.
My husband’s dark-green Saturn wasn’t there.
I chain-smoked outside on the front porch, waiting for my husband’s
mother. I thought about calling someone. I called my husband. It rang
until it went to voicemail, and I hung up without leaving a message.
I hated waiting, I realized. I had always hated waiting.
I leaned into the frame of the open front door and stared at our silent,
empty pasture. All of its gates stood open. Big black water tanks sat overturned beneath the shaded overhang of the barn.
“Show me everything,” I said to him every time he left. Because he
was always leaving for places where I could not follow and because I was
afraid that I would lose him to all those things I would never see. All
of those things he experienced without me. “But I bring you with me,”
he said in return. He didn’t understand what it meant to be the one left
At that moment, I felt him pace the porch boards in front of me. He
walked its length and abruptly turned and put his hands on his hips.
“This is not ideal,” he said.