And then they all stopped hearing from her. Some believed this was because she was happy, and with this came less need for words. Others said she would be back; she was settling in and surely wouldn’t leave for good. There were a few who truly understood–she was probably content now, to sit alone at the edge of the woods at dusk, then walk slowly home crunching dried leaves underfoot.
She herself still wondered from time to time, as she sorted out what would have been from what was, who she might have become had she said this and not that, had she chosen to accommodate a life of restless striving and illusion. But this pondering came only in slight glimmers outshone by the rising half moon.
She looked at her hands and imagined what they had held once–newborn babies, men in tears, passionate lovers. She drew in her breath and felt it threading though her body, picturing the worlds within worlds she’d once named like distant inner planets.
Not tired so much as still, and not exactly lonely, all she knew know was that life was not a matter of trust or distrust; the days would unfold one after another whether she believed in them or not. She had returned home, and as the last of the daylight faded around her, she thought of bowing her forehead to the earth as a kind of oath that she would stay.