For as long as she lived, or maybe even longer, she would never forget his face as she climbed into her car and drove off. He looked at that moment like a lost little boy. She thought to herself for a moment "tell me to stay...." and then it was gone. For she knew he would never expose his emotions to her like that.
20 years married and it's come to this. She thought, "I'm expected to read his emotions and placate them before he knows he has them. She smiled thinly - almost a grimace - and realized that she had trained him to be that way. That expecting a change when you do something the same way for 20 years is a kind of self induced insanity.
The country side whizzed by and she settled in for the drive. Seven hours of road noise, setting sun, small towns and cornfields blown raw by the bitter March wind. Her special brand of intoxication rising through the cars floorboards.
No housework, no cooking, no cat boxes to clean. The project at work was over and she was, for the moment, unemployed. Her husband was behind her-left alone in the driveway and the open road poured in front of her.
His face, though, stuck with her. Years later it would be his face that she would see whenever she thought about the beginning of the end of their marriage. The sadness and sorrow at her excitement of leaving him behind.
Later she would be able to look at the memory of his face - frozen in that moment - and acknowledge that she, too, had had her share of sadness and sorrow about the end. Of course she would also realize that for her the end had actually begun 18 years before.....