Nathaniel slipped quietly out of the bed and dressed, careful not to wake his wife. He wanted to leave a note, explaining what was going on but feared that the men would somehow see it and trace him.

Instead the only note he left said, “I won’t be far away. I love you all.” He left the note on the kitchen counter where Margery would find it. He sighed as he thought of how she would feel when she woke and found him gone.

He hoped that they wouldn’t hate him. He hoped the boys would enjoy school. He closed his eyes, fighting the urge to peek in on his sons. Finally he gave in and peeked into the room where they slept.

Miles was snuggled beneath his quilts, sleeping soundly. Emery, however, looked up drowsily as he opened the door. “It’s alright,” he whispered. “Just go back to sleep.”

Emery nodded and snuggled down into his own quilts. Nathaniel backed out of the room and silently walked out of the house. He hoped the boys would be able to keep Margery happy, even though he knew he was causing all of them pain.

“Good bye,” he whispered as he set off down the road.