She is friendly and as welcoming as anyone in the neighborhood in the spring, outside, in her garden.
She collects neighbors the way anteaters collect ants, without hardly trying.
They see her out there, and they put on their spring jackets and join her.
She listens and she laughs, and she enjoys them like no other person ever has, appreciating them.
They invite her to their houses, but she dare not go, so she makes an excuse.
They only see her in the spring, which seems curious, but they are too busy showing themselves to ask about her life.
She seems private, somehow, and they respect that.
None of them know that she lives a secret life, a terrifying life, inside the house, with her abductor.
No one knows that she was kidnapped when she was nine, and she is fearful of everyone, even them.
No one realizes that he is watching, and seething with anger that he let her out, worried about what she might say.
As they flock to her, to have her listen to them, he is plotting how he will make her pay.
And she does.
It is her last outing.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2018
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