Or The Way In

I waited in the snow, in the middle of the clearing. Amusing myself by stamping in a small circle, packing the snow down. Ice sparkled in my breath.

“If you’re coming,” I shouted to the trees, “you’d better come, or I go back home.”

I couldn’t go home. Not anymore. I left mother with a carving knife in her back-it wasn’t the best kind of parting.

She’d started it. Slashing at me with the paring knife, tossing the potatoes to one side to reach me. “I’ll never let you see your father,” she’d screamed.

“Joanie! Wonderful to see you.”

I turned to the voice, of course he’d sneaked up behind me.

Immediately I felt welcome. Something in his voice and smile let me know I had a home. “Father?” I had so many questions, why did he leave? Why didn’t he call?

“How’s your mother?”

“Dead,” I said without thinking. “I killed her.”

He nodded, without condemnation. “She was expendable. Here,” he handed me a package. “Meet me there.”

I blinked and he was gone. Without even a footprint in the snow.

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