“This village doesn’t belong here,” she thought, drawing her garments closer to her in the cold.
Three floods. Three re-buildings. And now another. Four in four years.
Sometimes she didn’t understand the town fathers. Sometimes she didn’t understand her own father. Which made sense, since he was one of the village leaders.
He carried on his own shoulders the battle to keep the village intact. Why, she could not fathom. Bitterness grew inside her as she floundered through the knee-high mud and debris in her home, looking for anything that could be salvaged.
First she’d lost her mother, then her home. Over and over and over again.
It was though the river hated the village, hated her. Anger snapped at her soul, like a wolf nipping at her heels. “What is there left, Father?” she spat into the empty house.
“Nothing, Maura. Nothing.”
His voice startled her; she’d thought she’d been alone. She spun around. “I’m sorry, Father. I didn’t mean…”
He silenced her with a finger. As she gazed into his eyes, she saw something there she’d not seen before, not in the eyes of her oak-strong father. Pain.
“Your mother…” His voice cracked and his shoulders slumped.
“I know, Father.”
“I fought hard for our village after each flood. I needed to be near the woods, the river, the trees that brought her such joy. I thought you needed it, too.”
“I know, Papa.” Somehow in that moment, her childhood name for him felt right.
“But you need a home, not…” He gestured wearily over the wreckage of their house.
“Oh, Papa. I have Mama here…and here.” She touched her heart, then her head. Suddenly shy, she looked out the window. “And…I have you.”
“Yes.” He straightened himself and put a tender hand on her shoulder. “Maura, the town fathers have decided to disband the village. We will go to your mother’s hometown and move in with her parents until I can build a cabin for us.”
“Yes, Papa,” she said, then impulsively put her hand over his. “I love you, Papa.”