This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?
The eldest dropped at school. The toddler safely at daycare. Beth headed for her rendezvous. She'd put it off as long as she could.
Her car nosed it's way down the narrow path. She'd left paved roads and street signs behind miles ago.
The car began to stutter. The track was almost non-existent now. The less defined it was, the less the vehicle cooperated.
"Well, I guess it's by foot already", she thought.
She entered a light woods and found what looked like a rabbit run. She followed it deeper, the trees around her not menacing, but welcoming.
As she continued, she could feel the opening of her heart. Hear the joy as she was recognized. Beth felt them as they felt her. Long before they were in view of each other.
Her steps began to quicken as she got closer to her goal. She hadn't realized how much she missed this place.
When she exited the woods, they were waiting. Asking where she had been. Why she had stayed away so long. Would she stay now. All in a jumble of words and pictures in her head. The only true sound was the singing of birds, the buzz of insects.
Beth sent reassurances of her love for them. They were family, yes. She had missed them, yes. She had taken a different path, she would not be staying.
She could feel the sadness and disappointment like clouds covering the sun. With sighs they began move away. Soon there was only one.
"Father," she reached for his hand, "it's good to see you."
"Lyabet, you look tired!" he took her hand and led her to sit on a fallen tree trunk. "You need to rest. This life? This path you've chosen? Doesn't treat you well."
"We've spoken of this before, Father. The outer world is different. Timewise and in other ways. I'm fine, and you know I won't be staying"
"I will never understand! You choose a man who can't hear or see you as you truly are. You choose to live in silence. In muted light."
"I choose a man who cherishes me." Beth had heard and said these words before. She had not come to argue the point again.
"I have children, Father. You have grandchildren." She hoped to see interest at least. Maybe happiness.
What she saw and felt was arrogance.
"Blind, deaf children! Little animals to wear you down. You don't need that. Them. Stay here! Where you belong." And then pleading, "Listen, feel. I know you can feel us. This place. It calls you. We call you. We hear you. They never will."
Beth stood, her anger and grief carefully controlled. She closed her mind. She allowed the feelings surrounding her to fade. She chose to be blind and deaf.
And walked away.
It was dark when she pulled into the driveway. Would they still be awake, it must be very late.
The door opened before she could reach it. Her oldest ran out and threw his arms around her. He was followed by his father, carrying the toddler. Relief showing in his eyes.
"I was afraid. Afraid you'd stay this time. You've given up so much, you've..."
"Shhhh. The little I left behind is nothing compared to what I have now," she soothed her husband, her oldest, still clinging, "Mommy, where were you?"
"I just had to make a little detour, it's alright now"
And the toddler in his fathers arms said, "Me toad dem you comin. I heerd you."