Before the cab had reached the end of the block, her jaw quit working.

Except for the tremble.

She was supposedly an expert in marital discourse. How did it happen that in ten words or less, with absolutely no forewarning, her own husband had exploded their world with “I want a divorce” and then sent her off to the airport?

The scene was so totally out of character for him it made her head swim. The Galloways were the poster couple for a healthy marriage. They had worked hard for over twenty years at keeping it healthy. She had taught on the subject for a dozen years. She had a solid grasp of the ins and outs—

A sharp jab against her arm startled her.

Her seatmate moved her elbow from the armrest. “Sorry.”

Jill nodded and then shook her head and hoped it was a universal sign for no problem.

“Excuse me.” The woman pushed the headset from her mane of dark hair. “No one is sitting in the aisle seat. You could use it.”

Jill gazed at the empty seat.

“Uh, are you all right?”

She nodded, shook her head, and nodded again. You don’t want to know.

“Do you need the attendant?”

Jill’s lungs craved air. Her chest felt like it was on fire. Maybe words were piled up inside. Instead of their usual flight off her tongue, they had lumped themselves together and now spontaneous combustion was occurring.

Maybe she was having a heart attack!

Miss Sullen reached up and snapped on the call light.

Jill blurted, “It’s my husband’s seat.”

“Okaaay.” Her voice rose on the last syllable.

“He’s in Chicago.”

The woman’s eyebrows twitched.

“And I think he just left me.” Jill unbuckled her belt, snapped off the call light, and moved into Jack’s seat, affirming that he really and truly was not coming.

The burning sensation lessened. Maybe speaking aloud had released some of the pressure. Maybe what helped was giving voice to truth, the hard truth that she was on a plane somewhere over the Rockies and her husband for no conceivable reason was not.

She shut her eyes. She couldn’t even articulate a prayer. Where was God in all this anyway? A simple answer was that He allowed this situation for a reason. A reason she could use someday. Something like a new insight to share with other women or like material for a lesson plan.

Her chest went all hot again. The simple answer did not resonate. No way, nohow.

She pressed her fingers against her breastbone. Was it heartburn? Not the kind that plagued when she was pregnant, but the kind inflicted by such emotional pain it felt like her heart was being seared.

“Maybe he didn’t leave you,” her seatmate said.

Jill opened her eyes.

Miss Sullen shrugged. “You said you ‘think’ he left you. If you don’t know for sure, maybe he didn’t.”

“Maybe he didn’t.” Jill sighed. “Out of the blue he said he wanted a divorce.”

“Out of the blue?”

“Yes. The thing is, I can’t figure out why he would. I mean, of course I’ve gone over my obvious, most glaring faults. I talk too much. I drag him to events he doesn’t give a hoot about. He wanted four kids but I said no after one. I ignore his parents a lot. I don’t cook. I really don’t like his office manager. I threw his baseball cards into the trash. It was a mistake—I didn’t mean to, but I did it. And I spend an arm and a leg every three weeks for this.” She grabbed a fistful of frosted blonde hair. Its carefree style cut exactly one inch below her earlobes remained undisturbed.

Miss Sullen’s brows inched upward.