They woke up together, as they usually do, but this was no usual morning. Anne could tell as soon as her eyes were opened enough to focus on the strange light coming from the window that their time had come. It had been a while, but she recognized the otherworldly glow of fresh deep snow. This was the best kind of snow: the kind that is unpredicted and unrelenting; the kind that closes highways and schools; the kind that kids pray for.
There was no question that they would be staying home together all day, maybe more than one, as snow was still steadily falling. She knows the secret sound of snow, but inside the closed windowed house, the silence was unnerving. She had a flash of believing that this storm had been sent for them, sent as a forced showdown, as a last chance.
She had known it was coming. Lately she felt like Dorothy, watching the witch’s hourglass empty, waiting for the axe to fall. She was waiting for her fate to be revealed, hoping someone would break down the wooden door around his heart and save her.
Daniel was still sleeping. He didn’t know that when his eyes opened to the day, they would be trapped. Anne watched. She still loved to watch him, but now she only did it in the wee hours before he woke. Awake their eyes were opposing magnets. It hadn’t always been this way.
It started with the letter. Dan didn’t know she read it, but she had, and it confirmed everything she had feared for the past fourteen years. This woman, a woman that she had never even seen a picture of, had the original claim to her husband’s heart. He didn’t cheat on her, and she knew he never would, but ever since that letter came, it was clear to her that she was his consolation prize. She was the result of a mistake he had made in his youth. He had let Sarah leave. He didn’t fight for her. Sarah was his heart, and in a heartbeat she was gone. When he met Anne, he married her quickly, so he wouldn’t have to grieve. She was a placeholder. She was Sarah’s understudy, and Anne was pretty sure that Sarah wanted her part back.