The softness of the snow drew her out the window. Flakes floating like feathers from a down pillow.
It murmured: Come, Patricia. Come out where it’s safe.
Mountain wind swept against her. She shivered. Wavered.
At her back, the house ached.
Rebecca and Dad had screamed all their secrets to the walls tonight, loud enough for Patricia and Jacob to hear. Again. All the
why don’t you ever
couldn’t be said
not my fault
at school or church or at the dinner table.
She held Jacob until he stopped crying. Rocked him to sleep, like she believed their mother would do if Colorado was closer to Baltimore.
“We could meet somewhere in between,” she said, when she was still young enough to believe it. When Rebecca and Dad still held hands. Still whispered kindnesses.
“Your mom is doing her own thing,” Rebecca answered with a tender hand on Patricia’s hair. The years had proved her right.
So she’d loved Rebecca better, so that she’d stay. Still, the signs had returned. Familiar cracks in smiles.
Jacob was three, almost four. To young to understand or remember when the world was crumbling. But, Patricia was still broken in bloody fragments from the first time. Collateral damage of an invisible war.
And the snow looked soft. Gentle.
Would it feel like flying? Her heels sat against the sideboards of the house, toes free over the second story ledge. Fingertips behind her back, gripping the windowsill lightly.
Very, very lightly.