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“Yes, Emma.”  Natalia turned from the sink, drying her hands. “What is it honey?”
“Well, I was thinking.”  Emma looked up at the woman adoringly. “What’s going to happen after you marry Frank?”
Natalia widened her eyes and sighed. “Well, there are going to be a lot of changes I guess.”  She tried to smile at the child. “The biggest change I guess will be that you and your Mom will move to a different place.”
“I don’t want to move!”  Emma cried. “I love it here!”
Natalia’s heart broke just a little. “I know Sweetie, but after I marry…Frank, he’ll move in here.  I don’t think you or your mom would want to stay here then.”
Olivia, entered the farmhouse through the front door and as she walked back to the kitchen she heard her daughter and Natalia talking.  She felt terrible for listening in, but she was curious and held herself in the shadows of the hallway.
“What’s so great about being married?”  Emma truly wanted to know what was so wonderful that Natalia was giving up on their family to have.
“Well,”  Natalia started slowly, thinking about the question. “When you are married, the person you are married to is always there for you, you can count on them no matter what, you can see them smile at breakfast, you can joke around with them, they make you happy every day.” 
Olivia’s heart did a double thump.  I wish I could do all that for you Natalia.
“But,” Emma was confused. “You already have all that with Mommy.”  The girl didn’t understand. “Why don’t you just marry Mommy?”  She smiled at that solution. “Then we can all stay together.”
Natalia smiled a bit sadly at Emma and shook her head.
Olivia’s heart nearly stopped even as tears began to flow down her cheeks.  She retreated from her hiding place and made her way quietly upstairs to her room.  It’s all my fault!  That thought made the tears flow faster.  The memory of Natalia’s resigned voice answering their daughter’s question was like a knife stabbing her heart.
“Oh, Em, she never asked.”


Posted online 4/10/2009