She catches him looking up at the moon, tonight. He remains unaware of her presence. She stands silently, watches as he tilts his neck upward and looks. At her. And she thinks.
Sometimes, when he looks into her eyes, he appears to be searching for something. Perhaps ocean-blue eyes in her own dull brown ones. When he combs his fingers through her hair as they lay in bed together, she wonders if he imagines white tresses instead of her straight red mane. And when he kisses her lips tenderly, does he think of another?
She is reluctant to ask. After five years, it still remains a sore subject for him. He had only known her for a few days, but he had obviously fallen hard. Truthfully, she didn't want to know. She could be content pretending that his heart belonged to only her. She touches her betrothal necklace gingerly, and gazes at the moon with him.
When their daughter is born, three months early and tiny—far too tiny, their small village does everything possible to save her. Neighbors bring medicinal herbs, the healers stay at her side for hours, but nothing works. She won't live through the week, they are told.
In the dead of the night, when he thinks she is asleep, he picks up the newborn and carries her outside. She slips from beneath her blanket and follows. He walks to the shore, where the narrow strip of ice meets the ocean, and places the baby in the shallow waters. She doesn't stir. His lips move, and he gazes at the moon again. She sees a single silver tear slide down his face, and the baby cries for the first time.
When he returns, he gently slips his daughter back into her arms. She opens her eyes slightly. Her daughter breathes evenly, and sleeps peacefully. Her hair is white.
He still gazes at the moon, sometimes. But when he turns to her and to their daughter, the love on his face is true. She does not doubt anymore. And when she bears three more children, completely healthy, she knows that they are being looked after lovingly. He has been given permission to move on.