Estelle pulled her car to the shoulder and killed the engine.
Trees rustled along the river’s edge and the sound of angry water grew louder as she walked toward the bridge, age spots of rust peeling from the metal beams.
Peering over the edge the water gushed below, muddy and tumbling from a week’s worth of downpours. Estelle gripped the railing, wringing the steel with her hands. The cold penetrated her thin gloves as she contemplated the height of her perch. A three-story drop perhaps…nothing dramatic.
She traced the forested banks that scratched an ‘S’ across the exposed fields, newly harvested and bristled with trimmed cornstalks, and settled her gaze on a smudge of black on the horizon. Someone must be burning leaves. Estelle was swept away for a moment in the nostalgia of high school football games.
Reaching into her pocket, she felt for the letter. She dug her fingertips into the pointed corners and rotated the folded piece of paper. Her task had been accomplished, but it would be a lonely celebration.
He had gotten what he deserved, Estelle reminded herself.
Deep breaths. Don’t cry.
Tomorrow the slate would be clean and she would drive back to her quiet apartment where her milk had long expired and her plants drooped in defeat. Her ability to be so calm, so cold, despite the circumstances surprised Estelle. No emotions had ever surfaced, until now.
Pulling the letter from her coat pocket, her heart leapt in an irregular flutter. She had been flawless in her execution. No gun or knife in this revenge. That would have been too messy, too easily traced back to the source.
Instead, she had employed her stiff, neat handwriting. One sentence bleeding into soft paper. A much more effective tactic without the mess.
Unfolding the letter she had stolen back from his home in the early hours of the morning, she made herself look at the words one more time before letting it drop.
If floated unceremoniously into the river, pausing for a moment on the surface before being swallowed by the current.
Gravel crunched under feet as she walked back to the car. A small funeral march. She was losing control.
The car pulled onto the road and crawled across the bridge. Estelle didn’t look at the river stretching away from her. Flipping the radio on she tried to quiet her thoughts, but it only made her inner monologue amplify as it competed for attention.