All the late-night adventure stories, turning herself into the hero of each. Love stories she whispered of the sweetest: the first love, when each touch was an embrace, each slap a display of affection. Should she have explained the wisdom which comes only with age. The knowledge that love doesn’t hurt, that possession and desire needn’t go hand in hand, that those we love would not shut us out from those who love us. A child’s understanding of love, and she allowed it to thrive in her daughter’s heart.
These stories she had convinced herself were fairy tales, for her own sake, for her husband’s, her daughter’s. She had told them over and over, had laughed at parts she now realized were full of dread, of deadly terror, of DEATH. Now she saw her stripped innocence and her daughter’s same loss.
This return–unchanged, seemingly un-aged–to steal away her child. This guilt, heavy and pulling, because mingled with the fear and desperate longing for her daughter was a jealous rage, all that she had left behind and her own failure to be taken again. Should she have expected him to seek for her: strands of gray, a new sagginess to every part of her body. Knowing she could be so easily replaced by her own daughter. It was two kidnappings: the child, and the dream-child she once was.
Her husband’s hands, which had taught her, daily, the truth of love, the gentleness of desire, sought to give comfort that was unavailable. They spoke with the authorities who would no more find their child than she could. And she kept quiet, knowing that to tell the truth would make him fly just as far to escape her wickedness.