She knew what he was planning to do but only after it was too late. By then they were several days from home and she could never reach them in time. All she could do now was wait, alone with her thoughts and her anger, for her husband to return.
She should have known. Her husband would do anything for what he believed in. And people admired him so much for it. But they never saw what it cost or considered what it cost her.
She sat outside the house while she waited. When he came back she would be ready.
She saw him first when he was just over the horizon, out on the flat, arid plain, still hours away, approaching on foot with his hired hands. By the time she could finally make out their faces she could tell that their son with them. He was still alive.
She should have been relieved but instead felt nothing. By then she could no longer feel anything. When she realized what he had planned to do she had changed permanently. Nothing would be the same again.
Her husband approached her hesitantly. He could see in her face that she knew.
“I didn’t do it,” he said.
“But you would have,” she responded flatly. “You were planning to.”
He was silent for a time but then stood to full height and spoke deliberately. “I do what I have to. Everything we have, everything you care about, we have because I am willing to do what needs to be done. He would not be here in the first place if it were not for that.”
“I know that,” she said. “I love him and I know what it cost.”
It was true and she could not rightly blame him. But she could not love him either. Everything has its cost.