She sat on the stairs on the front stoop, her face in her hands, and stared down the road. The grey line that snaked to the far distant gate was empty. Not even a bit of wind to move the stubby brush that marked its rutted edges. Raising her hand to shield her eyes, she squinted and tried to see if a tell tale cloud of dust marked the hills to the main road.
Propping her chin back in her hands, her eyes glazed into the big, wide sky. She shouldn’t be waiting here. It wasn’t right. How many times had she waited? For hours, sometimes. Sometimes for nothing. The stone in her belly weighing heavier with each slowly waning afternoon. She knew this was wrong. Wrong in a way that would haunt her all her life. Wrong in a way that could unravel her. But still, once a fortnight, she washed her face, scrapped the farm from under her fingernails, brushed her hair and sat outside to wait.
Her mind wandered back to that early autumn afternoon. That first time was different. Cold and shivering in her summer dress and open shoes. She didn’t know then what she knew know. A wry smile crossed her face. “Ignorance is bliss, my lambchop”, her mother used to say. God! If her mother knew. She dropped her head and ran her hands through her hair; closed her eyes against the glare of the sand. Swallowed the tears caught tight in her throat.
And later, composed again, leaning back against the solid white walls of the house, she watched the rising wind make the grey earth dance. And thought again about the path of choices that led her here. And wondered at the capriciousness of a passing glance. How much could be misconstrued in the exchange of a few words and a bottle of farm honey.
And as the sun began to turn the land the colour of war, she stopped waiting, stood, and turned back into the empty house.