“You’re going back.” It wasn’t a question.
I didn’t know how to respond to him, so I stayed quiet, hunched over with my forearms on my thighs. The ground between my feet became a kaleidoscope, refracting through my tears.
“You’re leaving me, Jen,” he hissed. “You’re leaving our kids!”
He had every right to be pissed.
I hadn’t wanted him to find out when I was from or how I’d gotten here, but when he had, the night before our wedding, I’d made him every promise in the book that I’d be by his side ‘til death did us part.
We’d had one child. Then another. And as I’d watched them grow from infants into teenagers and seen my marriage survive uncertainty to blossom into a true partnership, I’d begun to believe I could actually keep my promises.
“Kelly! Ryan! Shoe time!” We tumbled out the door, backpacks and lunches bouncing and thumping as we raced to school. You’d think after doing this a couple thousand times I wouldn’t still be trying to beat the bell. Thankfully, the rain held off, and they disappeared into the building with just enough time to avoid tardies.
I turned to look over my left shoulder and pulled into traffic, my mind already lost in thoughts about my first meeting.
“It’s time, Jen.”
My implant spoke for the first time in 17 years.
“You can’t go, Jen. You can’t.”
I looked up at him. I had no choice.
My implant activated, and I vanished.