She laid back on the winter grass, surprised at its sun-warmed softness. Closing her eyes she laced her fingers behind her head and stretched her legs out toward the treeline that marked the border of the nature preserve. Nature, she had always found, had a sedative effect on her often unquiet mind.
He’d left, of course, twenty minutes earlier with a roaring engine. She’d watched his car quickly blur into the country scenery and then disappear altogether. It was confusing to be happy for the solitude but want him to be laying beside her. He would have pointed out the different birds and explained to her why trees lose their leaves in the fall. Curling up closer to him, she would think that his voice was the perfect voice. But, she reminded herself, he’d left.
“Do you love me?”
The question had dropped off of her lips and hung in the air between them like a puff of smoke, temporarily disorienting both of them. The silence lasted for what felt like minutes and her heart started to race. Silence was never good. She couldn’t read his expression and wondered if she wanted to know what he was thinking. Then he spoke, his voice confident and strong.
“Yes. Very, very much.”
So he loved her and for one brief moment she felt her heart skip. But then all at once everything that had happened before that came crashing back down on her head. Despair settled into her stomach like lead and they lapsed again into silence. As the minutes ticked by she noticed him fiddle with his phone, his watch, his keys – signs of impatience. Before she realized what was happening she felt tears dampen her face and turned away quickly, pretending to watch something on the road. She sniffled.
She heard him sigh and stand up. Then it was shoes crunching gravel and doors unlocking. An engine starting. His car had been at the end of the driveway before she could turn around.
Now alone and snuggled into the grass she felt her breathing start to slow down. When she opened her eyes the grass looked like it was made of tiny green crystals; she could see the wind swirling around in the blue of the sky. She wondered if anyone would think to look for her here. What if no one noticed she was gone? What if a stranger found her laying cold on the ground? What if at the very last second, she changed her mind? It had all just been too much; the last hour and the last night and the last week and the last several months and years. She was tired.
Drowsiness descended on her quieting mind and she closed her eyes. She smelled the grass. She heard the trees rustling. She felt the warmth of the sun on her skin. And then she stopped breathing.