It was evenings like this that made Emma wish Liam had a different career of choice. Yes, he was safe at home and they were safe up here at the river, but she longed for her husband to be here enjoying the weekend at the river. Playing cards, sitting around the campfire, going for a family pontoon ride at sunset.
But then her thoughts would rationalize because she knew how much he loved his police work. And even with lonely hours, she would never truly wish for him to work elsewhere.
Emma quietly eased out of the bed she was sharing with Ava, grabbed her phone and a blanket, and slipped out of the trailer into the cool evening air. The breeze had died down to nothing and locusts and crickets created an ambience of night sounds as Emma tiptoed down to the pontoon, the flood light illuminating her way.
She settled into the driver’s seat, the lapping of the water on the bank adding rhythm to the bug chorus. The boat rocked gently back and forth, lulling her.
This took her back to the many evenings she and Liam had spent on the pontoon together. During the time they dated, they’d had long conversations down here about what they wanted in their future together. Snuck in a few kisses. Watched late night party boats come down the river, bringing loud voices and music with them.
After they were married, they’d spent a short weekend up here together as their honeymoon. That had been all the time Liam could get off from the station, and they’d snatched up the opportunity. Even nearing the end of September, that weekend had been perfect.
And now, two nearly three children later, so much had changed yet it hadn’t. They still had this place. Emma had grown to love the river like a second home. It was most certainly not perfect. It ebbed and flowed and changed every year, but it was solitude. A place where one could clear her head and remember how her ancestors once lived. With what was seemingly so little, but really, it was probably fuller than the hustle and bustle of modern day living.
Emma looked at the time on her phone. A hair past eleven. Liam had texted her at quarter to ten that he was back home, and she and the kids had talked to him. Said prayers and I love you and goodnights before Emma had put them to bed.
Maybe he would still be awake? For whatever reason, Emma felt restless tonight, and hearing her husband’s voice might help.
“Em? Everything okay?”
She grimaced at his groggy voice. “Did I wake you up? I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. Is everything okay?” he repeated.
“Oh, yes. I’m just having trouble sleeping.”
“Is it the baby? Are you feeling okay?”
Emma set a protective hand on her abdomen. “I’m feeling fine. I just wanted to hear your voice.”
“Sweetheart, I’m sorry I had to leave.”
“It’s part of your job. Don’t apologize. You mentioned he lost some of his cattle?”
As he gave her a more in depth explanation of today’s situation, Emma pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders, allowing her husband’s soothing voice to wash over her much like the water brushed the rock bank ever so softly.