This is My Message to You
He knew everything was going to be okay when he saw the folded note underneath his wiper, after work. It’d been over two years since they’d spoken, made contact, seen each other, except for the time they met eyes at the gas station. But he could tell by the imperfect fold of the note that it was from her, and he knew she wouldn’t leave another note unless it was to tell him everything was going to be okay.
He slipped it in his pocket and drove halfway home to his wife and the kid, but he didn’t want to. He knew his wife would be irritated if he chose to hike instead of come home for dinner, but he also knew he could do whatever he wanted. He often wished he didn’t know that.
He sent a message home, turned around and drove to the state park where they used to hike, the park he’d never taken his wife to. He pulled in at the usual trailhead—the trail of tears, they’d named it—and sat and watched three birds land on the trail marker, then got his boots out of his trunk. He reached inside his pocket, fingered all around the note until it felt as soft as a handkerchief, then took it out still folded, and slipped it securely back under his wiper. After his hike, it was gone.
Vallie Lynn Watson's debut novel, A River So Long, was published by Luminis Books in 2012. Her Pushcart-nominated work appears in PANK, decomP, Gargoyle, and dozens of other magazines. Receiving a PhD from the Center for Writers, she teaches at UNC Wilmington and is the editor of Cape Fear Review.