She’s the one to come looking for me, although today’s fight had nothing to do with her. She always comes, and she always finds me here. The cornfield is the only place I can hide and be sure he doesn’t find me, at least not quickly. I spent three days hidden among the rows once, waving leaves overhead, sleeping in the dirt. Even she couldn’t find me that time.

Maybe she didn’t try. Those three days are what it took for him to calm down, so I was safer where I was.

She’s three rows down before she sees me. The corn is up to her chest now, the leaves shivering in the slight breeze. I like hiding here, down on my hands and knees among the stiff stalks. I feel safe. Not even the sky can see me.

But she always finds me. She comes to sit next to me, not saying anything, not apologizing like she used to, not comforting. I think we both know it isn’t her fault by this time. And that it isn’t going to be all right, no matter how many times she says it.

I cling to her, bury my head in her chest so I don’t have to see the bruises on her face and arms, the ones hidden beneath her thin cotton dress. She brought a wet rag along with her, and she cleans some of the blood and dirt off my face, wiping away the tears too.

I hate crying. She knows it, and she knows not to say anything. So we just sit where we are, under the leaves, and wait for the storm gathering in our little house to blow over so we can go back.

It will take a while, I think.

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