She sat outside the house, gazing up at the stars. Overhead, a distant plane's blinking lights momentarily tricked her into thinking she saw a shooting star. Raising a hand, she tucked a strand of dark hair back where it belonged. Mixed scents of growing plants, decomposing organic matter, and tepid water blew towards her on the warm and gentle breeze. Insects chirped and buzzed quietly in the distance. Many years had passed since she bothered to appreciate the beauty of a swamp-side winter's night, now she felt it all as if for the last time.
Behind her, muffled footsteps approached, and then a warm body sat down beside her own, shoulder to shoulder. "Is everything arranged?" the man asked as he placed an arm around her.
She nodded. "Toronto. He'll be leaving after Natalie."
"She won't know he's not with us?" the low voice asked quietly.
"No, I thought it would be safer this way, for both of them." For a moment, all was still, even the insects seemed to quiet down. "Are we right? Is this what we should do? People have told us over and over again we're too protective of our own, that we need to let go. But I've always believed we were right to watch over them, so how can we be sending them away? So far away..." Leaning into the protective form beside her, she rested her head on his shoulder.
"It's what parents do," whispered the man, "what they've always done. We sacrifice everything so our children may live in safety, even the pleasure of their company."
"I know," she breathed, "I know."