Owen squeezed through the open window, feet first, and carefully lowered himself onto the awaiting limb. He’d watched his daughter do this years ago when she was young and wild and obviously going someplace she wasn’t supposed to be going. He’d envied her: the thrill, the adrenaline rush, the adventure! Maybe he was a bad father for having let her get away with it, but Joannie, his wife, had always been strict, unreasonably so. He’d come to Greta’s aid often, though, probably not often enough. Peace was a delicate balance, one he’d never mastered.

Greta was gone now. Off leading her own life. Free. But what was he? Maybe he was a bad husband too? All those secrets he’d kept. What kind of couple kept secrets? He’d always known where Greta was going and who she was going with, but he’d never…

His foot slipped. Owen caught himself, barely. He wriggled and stretched, hooked one foot over the limb and somehow managed to right himself. His shirt had a hole in it now, and he suddenly felt every minute of his age.

Owen hadn’t been in a tree in years. Not since he and Arnie Webber climbed up the old oak in Lamden Field with binoculars they hoped would be strong enough to give them a peek into Carla Wilson’s bedroom. Sadly, their efforts had been wasted. The dime store binoculars struggled to magnify the edges of the field, beyond it remained a blur.

He’d never snuck out before though. Not once. Not as kid or even as a teenager for a party. None of it. In a week he’d be fifty. Fifty! If ever there was a time.

Owen eyed the awaiting car with an excitement he hadn’t felt in years. It was so close now, parked along the side of the house, just beyond the outstretched limbs of the ancient tree. The getaway driver, no, not another woman, none other than Arnie Wilson. Lifelong friends came through for you like that. They’d talked for years about adventure and the open road, but life and family had a way of keeping your feet firmly planted and your speedometer under seventy-five. This was his chance for a little freedom and some time away from the rigor with which Joannie felt every day should be lived.

Six feet from the end of the limb, Owen stopped. He was out as far as he dared go, any further and it might break. This was the moment, his moment to either leap or turn around. Adrenaline coursed through him. Some might laugh and chalk this up to spring fever, but not Owen. No, for Owen the wanderlust and restlessness had been a growing ache, one that was now all-consuming. Fresh air, adventure, long days without a tie or an agenda.

Owen sucked in a deep breath. The air was cool and the sweet aroma of distant horizons danced through his imagination. Gooseflesh prickled down his arms and he let out a sigh as he glanced over his shoulder. His eyes scrutinized the house he’d called home for almost three decades. He hadn’t meant to, but he’d left the window open. He turned back and eyed the awaiting car, it was ripe with promise, but…

He waved Arnie on.

Owen watched his best friend drive away alone. He stared off into the distance long after Arnie had disappeared, his mind flooded with the possibilities that stretched out along the open road. The thing was, Owen loved his wife. Slowly, he turned around and started back the way he came. Maybe, just maybe she’d be up for an adventure now too.