Every step that she took rang out hollowly against the steel floor underneath and echoed against the walls beside her, making even her light-footed steps sound deep and with purpose. The wind that pushed past her face struck against the fortified roof above her; she could hear the metallic music it played as it shuddered and conformed to the wind’s direction. She had forgotten her gloves, and so her fingers felt as though they had frozen into shape as she clutched the single handbag that she had brought with her. Her face had long since grown numb; the cold had begun to invade her body as she breathed it in.
She enjoyed it. She loved it. She wanted the cold to push deeper inside of her, to freeze off the last remnants of her laughter and her tears, to push aside her passion and fill her with clarity and purpose. She wanted the memories to shatter away into a thousand pieces, to fall away from her. Bertha’s eyes, Daniel’s pleas to be picked up, the overturned milk carton, the burning spaghetti sauce, she didn’t wand them anymore. The wind needed to carry them away from her, along with every last bit of warmth her body kept inside of her. She welcomed the chance to be rid of all of it.
Assigning fault was an irrelevant motion. She was not a good mother. Her husband was not a good father, either, but he was better than she was. He kept them together for the past ten years, and he would continue to hold them steady. She believed in him. Loved him, too, but that was just as irrelevant as assigning fault. If she reached the train ahead, if she boarded it and left this place, everyone would be better. She would be better if she was away from them. They would better if they were away from her.
Burning spaghetti sauce. The sounds of a crying child. The screaming. The screaming. The wind came and took all memory away, even as it filled her with nothing but cold absence. In her purse, her phone began to vibrate yet again; she could feel the straps her shiver in response. It had been going non-stop for the past fifteen minutes; she could only wonder what he was thinking on the other side of the line. She wondered if he hated her. Or, even if he was angry at her. There was no doubt that he was angry; he was angry at the mess, at the state of the children, at the disorder that afflicted his tidy home. But was he angry at her? Could he be a little worried as well? A little concerned?
It was irrelevant though. The wind and the cold assured her of that. It was all irrelevant. She let the bag slip through her fingers and fall to the ground as she came to the end of the steel walkway. There was the train, but past that was the river. And the river…the river could take her to a cold oblivion that the wind could never accomplish. It would take her away from these memories and let her rest. It would take her to a place the train never could, a destination where she could find refuge from her life. To the river.