“Now what?” he is thinking. Bureaucratic complications take over. A debate over hours. He fears resentment from colleagues who would have chosen to remain but were forced to leave. And then the question of health insurance, the great American ball-and-chain. “Do you want to take a walk?” she asks him, when the call is done. But he flips on the TV, hunkering down. He had imagined his release, his freedom; instead he sees a maze with no exit.
Outside there are so many birds singing, more birds than she can remember. And the air is soft and humid from an afternoon of rare, drenching, spring rain. She notices that the downpour, and the melting snow, have formed a temporary pond. Swimming busily across the water are two ducks.
Tomorrow, the little pond will be gone. Or, it may not be. The ducks will live their duck lives either way. This afternoon, they dive for bugs and weeds, and ruffle their tail feathers contentedly. A foolproof strategy whether staying put or exiting.