Ruby sat, staring at the lake as though soon all the answers would be there for her. The water glistened in the glow of another warm summer day about to begin. She was empty. Sad that her life had taken such a turn. But there was nowhere to go—nothing to do but sit there, mesmerized by God's good morning to her.
Earl had gone fishing. It's what he did to keep his mind occupied. Their fifteenth anniversary was next week, and he had nothing more to offer Ruby. In return, she had nothing to provide him with either. Maybe if they had had more children, there would be something left. Still, Earl had his two sons from a previous marriage, and Ruby had her son.
Losing Abby had been devastating. A tear fell, and then another, and Ruby straightened into her chair and wiped her face angrily. It wasn't fair.
She and Earl had spent countless hours at St. Judes, hoping for a miracle while barking orders to one another, tensions rising and nerves on edge. Neither understood the other. Earl had said some nasty things to her, his words breaking her heart. Each time, she became more distant. The couple clung to one another after saying goodbye to Abby. The one thing they had together was gone now, and nothing was left.
Earl was a wonderful father, and Abby the apple of his eye. It's what Ruby loved most about him.
Earl dropped the bucket of fish in front of Ruby. "It was a good day," he said.
"Great," Ruby carried the bucket to the lakehouse while Earl grabbed his gear from the car. "Fish for supper, then."
Summer became fall. Ruby peered out the glass door that led to their backyard and smiled as she imagined Abby piling the leaves high, then jumping into the mound of color and laughing. Earl caught her smile and reminded her they had little to smile about now. And he was partly right. The glue that had held them together was gone. The love the couple once shared had abandoned them.