Pacing back and forth
Footsteps on floorboards
At the ferry terminal
Listening to the waves
The muted conversations
Our direction at this interval
On which boat is she?
Maybe the separation has changed her
When did the baby learn to walk?
Where would she stay tomorrow?
Has the baby learned to talk?
Blinking back tears
One whole year
When he left her and the baby, they both hadn’t known that parting could be such a bitter experience. Only when she arrived back home alone and went into her room that she began to feel the loneliness. Somehow the baby gave her some comfort.
She called them train caterpillars. She could not stand those creepy, crawly things that kept coming into the house or the room at night. They're red in color and they made her skin crawl as they traverse along on the cement floor like trains moving without tracks. There were also those dark colored slugs which left behind long slimy trails over the walls. It was tough work trying to clean those marks off. Cleaning the house and mopping the floors at least kept her busy and her mind off her worries and fears. But the nights always seem to be too long to get through. There was only the pillow she could weep on. And it became thoroughly stained with dried tears before long. It was to remain like that in years to come, whenever she stripped off the cover for washing he would see it and be reminded of how she suffered.
Sometimes she'd be left alone in the house after dinner is done and she only had the baby and no one else to talk to. The noises of the night from outside often scared her. The cackling of lizards would startle her. She was also not comfortable with the dog. Trying to feed him was scary. As soon as he saw her bringing his bowl of food, he'd stand up on his hind legs. She'd try to avoid him but he'd follow her until she put down the bowl. But, at least there's the dog. Otherwise, it would have been worse. Their nearest neighbor lived a quarter mile away on the next farm.
It was the constant moving from the country-side house to her sister's house and then to her mother's, that at least gave her some relief. But she often wondered when this traveling back and forth would end. The only consolation she got was that the father-in-law would willingly drive her to and from the ferry terminal and sometimes enquire when she'd be coming home again. Home? Where's home where there's no one to hold me at night? When will this waiting end? When will I see you again? When will you be home again?
There were letters from him every few weeks or so. She wasn't very comfortable with writing letters and the replies she wrote were mostly about their baby. She couldn't tell him about her fears, not wishing to make him worried. In the beginning, his job wasn't so bad as the factory was not completely set up yet. They had some time to visit a few interesting places. But later, the image of horrible working conditions began to appear in his descriptions of his work. That began to add to her troubles. She now began to worry about him. Is he eating well? Is he healthy? Does he get enough rest?
Once, while riding on the ferry crossing the channel with the baby in her arms, she thought about ending the misery. There were some tiffs with the in-laws, but she could not complain as her mother had told her before she left her home to be married that she would not want to hear of any complains. She would not let her mother be hurt by any of that.
Then, one day, the waiting ended and he came home. And he vowed that he’d never leave her again. Not for all the wealth in the world.