She's quiet today. In an old green chair nestled in the corner, it used to belong to her grandmother. The window sheers flirt with the arm, drag their edges over the worn upholstery as the world hums outside. Chin on knees, running fingers around the rim of a tea cup long ago emptied. The words are far and deep and muddy in her head. Like a stubborn tree root having lodged itself in an inconvenient chuck of earth, in the center of a path she walks often. Over time it becomes easier to step out of the way - automatic really, feet leading around it before the mind detects a detour.
The baby sighs in his crib across the room; sleep pulls him back. She was young to have a baby and never disagreed when anyone pointed that out.
She has visions of cutting down that tree and its primitive grip on the earth below. Of hacking into the side, the wood splintering and howling with each blunt blow from her axe. Of tearing the ancient roots out from their knotty burrows deep below the ground's surface with her bare hands. But erasing that which has stood for hundreds of years longer than her short 20 is not without consequence. Even so, she can't stop imagining what it might be like to run free through that forest, unafraid of these wild roots that threaten her stride and make her feel small.
The baby wakes. Dreams reach for the window and scatter into a thousand indistinguishable pieces as they fly away into the blue of the sky.