Nadia knows, when the mother leaves them, that they will die. They lurch from side to side, low on the ground, ears folded over into crinkled triangles. Claws soft, mouths brown with dirt, meowing in the damp soil of the flower bed.
You schedule the U-Haul for a weekend when your husband plans to be in the woods. You do not repeat your argument that camping isn’t medication or therapy. That it cannot, in other words, fix him. You make him a sandwich for the drive to Mendocino. As his car pulls away, you know it’s the last time you’ll see him.
Ruth knew she was pregnant, but they’d driven the hundred miles from Gabbs to Tonopah anyway, for confirmation, she guessed, or for the change of scenery—though everywhere she looked there was desert and mountains, more desert, more mountains.