Sally pulled open the veranda doors and stepped out onto the balcony. She was standing at the back of the house, looking up at the magnificent snow clad fir trees that made up the border to her garden. She stood with her hands clasping the rails, as pure frozen air emitted  from her breath. She rubbed her hands against the iciness of the day. A gentle wind made itself present as the chimes at the end of the balcony tinkled under its tutelage.

She looked down onto the garden, to see the deer tracks in the snow, which looked so fresh. There was a rustling further along the corner of the house, where the trees met the now snow covered lawn. The swings and slide that were normally the play areas of the garden, were now a ghostly white.  A movement beyond the small snow covered lump that was normally the barbeque area caught her eye; and then she saw it. A huge deer was standing a little way back. She tried to focus her eyes, squinting in the pale sunlight that had decided to peer through the trees. Yes, there was a small deer stood beside the adult; a mother and doe together at the end of her garden!

They had been living in Canada for nearly six months. Sally, Jake and the boys had flown over for a holiday initially, to take in some skiing and snowboarding that they all loved. They had fallen in love with the people and culture of Canada, and had applied for residency almost immediately. And now they were here, in the heart of the ski resorts and loving every minute of it.

Lately, there had been a subtle change in her relationship with her husband. Jake had embraced his new home and all that it had offered, but these past few weeks had seen a difference in her husband. He was not so light of step, or enthusiastic about his surroundings as he had been just a few months back. His relationship with the boys had changed too; where once he would take them snowboarding on the weekends, now he fobbed them off, claiming to be tired. There always seem to be some project at work to complete instead. This had led to a distance between Sally and him too, a barrier that no amount of subtle comments, pleading looks or downright discussion had assuaged.

So, the inevitable had happened, and they’d had a blazing row. They had sent the boys to bed on a pretext that  there was a TV show on that was not suitable for them to watch, and then id started. Looking back, Sally blamed the red wine that she was knocking back as if there were no tomorrow; and perhaps she felt that there was no future for them anymore. She had become more and more tense, the more that he’d pushed her away, and she’d exploded last night.

Now, with a red wine hangover, she was feeling remorseful. Jake had left early and taken the boys up to the resort for some skiing, leaving her alone to her thoughts. They had barely spoken to each other, and she knew that is was the start of something momentous in their lives.

Where would they go from here?

Today, more than any other day, she felt that Canada was not home. She missed the atmosphere of home; the bright lights and the shopping. She felt a pang for her favourite restaurants, and for her family. They had all melded into one in her mind, and now they rose like spectres, roaring into her mind and spoiling the quiet calm of this snow clad scene in front of her.

She turned her head and walked into the living area. There was a noise outside, and she could see their family car pulling up onto the drive, and Jake and the boys spilling out. She sighed with dread. What would Jake’s mood be like after last night?

Jake and the boys walked into the room. The boys, sensing that there was some tension in the air, made themselves scarce.

‘We have to talk.’ he said. He sighed, and led her into the bedroom. She sat on the bed, and suddenly felt an impending dread.  What was he going to say?

Jake held an envelope in his hands. It looked pretty official, and one that she’d not seen before. She’d not checked their PO box at Whistler this week, so she’d not picked up the mail.

‘I know that its been a little strained for a while, but I’ve had a lot on my mind.’ he started to say. That’s an understatement, she thought, somewhat peevishly.

Jake looked at her face, and continued on quickly, sensing another row.

‘Its just that…well…they are really pleased at my work here lately. They regard me as a valuable member of the team.’ Jake paused, and swallowed a few times, nervously.

What was he going to spring on her?

‘Righto, I’ll just come out with it. They have offered me a promotion. The thing is the firm is expanding and have opened up some new offices. They want me to run them. I know how fond you are of Canada, and the boys love the skiing, and all the snow, but ….’ he paused, looking at her.

‘How do you fancy living in California?’

Sally looked up at her husband. A few seconds ago, it seemed that her world had ended. This was so unexpected, that she threw her arms around him in excitement. Jake looked perplexed.

‘I thought you loved it here, Sal. Lately though, I thought you might have been hankering for home.Could we move again, in such a small period of time?

Sally looked at her husband of fourteen years. So many things had run through her mind this morning, none of them good thoughts. Life is so fragile, it can turn on the toss of a coin. Her doubts and insecurities vanished.

‘Lets go tell the boys’ she said.

 

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