Father cleared his throat.
"Your mother came to see me."
I jerked my head up and looked at him. My dreams of the three of us supping, working, and living together rushed to mind, and I felt hope rise in my heart.
"Aye. She said we had a lot to talk about. That...she owed me an apology."
Father didn't seem very happy. I then realized that nothing in the house seemed different from when I'd left. No extra belongings, no sign of a third person in our home.
"And, uh, it was good." He fidgeted. "It was good. We said many things that should have been said a long time ago."
"...She's not coming back, is she?"
My father looked at me, and I had my answer.
I said nothing as every vision that I'd nursed from childhood of a family reunited vanished into darkness. I'd dared to hope it could happen after Mother and I had spoken. But it wasn't enough. The tears, the apologies, all the words I'd kept buried for ten years...none of it was enough.
"She promised to visit often, though. A