The Long Haul

After work, it’s too dark to go running, and I’m home in a foul mood while my daughters cook dinner. While cleaning out a closet that afternoon, they discovered a box of photographs and claimed the photos were evidence there was little adult supervision in their early childhood.

I insist there was plenty, but I had always seen wildness as more of a virtue than a vice.

The three of us are wise enough to let that lie, and dinner conversation winds into the details of the day. After, the girls wash the dishes and I carry in firewood. Then my oldest and I walk through town. There’s no one out these days. It’s dark; the cold is beginning to staple down around us.

Coming home, we stand on the knoll outside our house, watching the creamy, waning moon rise. As we stand there talking about hard deep things — how we carry the past around with us — I remember myself as a brand-new mother, believing that the wildness of imagination shapes our lives. I no longer believe that; I know that, but I also know what a long hard haul this life can be.

I call into the house for my youngest to come out and see the moon. She walks barefoot through the snow. We stand there, the moonlight on our faces, soaking up that ethereal light, before we head back in.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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