The footsteps paused briefly at her doorway. She felt her jaw tighten like a rubber band ready to snap. She turned her head ever so slightly to acknowledge his presence, but not enough to give him permission. His pain was apparent as he took in a limp breath. She’d fought back. This time. Just like the ducks at the pond, she would stay a while for the benefits, but knew there was a better life for her beyond. She’d build up strength. Then, just at the right moment and without warning, she’d spread her wings and take flight, leaving only dust.