Essie’s late husband Arthur built her a sturdy house, taking care to place it just right to catch the Spring sunshine. Arthur carefully placed the silver maples and the catalpas to provide many years of perfect summer shade. The trees are grown now. The kids and grandkids are gone, and so is Arthur.
In Robert Hays’ well written and poetic short story “Equinox,” Essie and Plato follow long-established rhythms throughout the changing seasons, and that’s a comfort, for after their long years together, a schedule of sleeping, waking, meals and the daily arrival of the mailman anchors her life.
She had expected Arthur to be her anchor until he was killed in a coal mining accident years ago. He approached his job in the dark mine with same care and deliberation as he approached the construction of their house in the sunny valley. Like the house and the marriage, it was supposed to last.
This year, Winter has seemed permanent, closing her up inside the house with snow and ice. Essie broods about all that’s been lost and finds brief solace in fantacies about what might have been.
With Plato, she waits for the Spring equinox. It’s one of the few events she can count on, and Essie hopes it will be enough.