Excerpt from The Melting Season

The Melting Season

I did not mean to take the money. Well, not all of it.

At first it was only a tiny amount, a little cream off the top. I was just trying to store away for the winter. Winters were long in Nebraska. We lived on chicken broth and whiskey and tired-looking vegetables from the grocery store. The wind leveled the cornfields, and the snow skimmed the land like a current across a giant lake. Roads were blocked for weeks. Icicles like enormous daggers gathered on rooftops. We wrapped ourselves in scarves and hats so thick all you could see when you passed your neighbor on the street was another set of eyes peeping back at you. If we left the house at all. Some people slept all day long.

There was a comfort to it, but it made me nervous, too. I needed something to warm myself with. A little bit of money would help.
Every week I took a little bit more and I stacked up the bills in the oven of the apartment I was renting. It was not enough that my husband would be missing it, just enough to keep me happy. Or at least not so miserable.

But then my husband kept on betraying me, and suddenly the little stacks of money were not enough anymore. This feeling rolled all over me on the outside and then it dug itself deep inside me. It was a desperate thing, and I hacked on it, coughing like it was a bitter virus attacking my air. It went on like that for months, my lungs full of a crazy kind of dusty illness. I was on the edge of something dire. All it took was a little push. That was when I realized what needed to happen.

I can take it all and no one can stop me.

And there was nothing left to do afterward but get the hell out of town.