Leaves and branches snap under my boots as we wander,
our hands are covered with old work gloves and the hats on our
heads had seen far more better days. Noses pink and smiles
crossing our lips as a couple of our cats joined us, bounding
left and right through the brush.
The sound of a small stream trickles into my ears quietly and
I hide my excitement, knowing we’ll be able to walk through the
Liz asks where the tree was that we had climbed up
the other day, Katie and I shrug as we try and remember.
"Did you really think we could find it again?"
I quip, Liz gives me an annoyed look and we’re quiet
Once our boots had trekked through the little creek,
we finally made it back through the field where our
house waited, smoke billowing from the chimney as we
all sighed in relief. Mom had a fire going. We parted
ways at the barn, I stopped to pet the other cats, one
by one, Liz headed directly to the house and Katie paused
along side me, paying close attention to Snuggles, her cat.
Finally we crunched through the gravel and peeled
our dirty clothes off outside, shivering, before jumping
through the door and up the stairs. Liz had already
started showering so now it was a battle between
Katie and I.
I pulled on the fleece pajamas pants followed
by a soccer jersey. I raced after my sisters
only to smell...
Chicken again. Chicken, rice and some kind of
vegetable, probably burnt broccoli because mom
always forgot about it on the stove.
She looked better today, still tired and thin but that’s
all I remembered her ever looking like at that age.
I started to go for my food,
"Bless us o’ lord,"
I immediately stopped and held my hands in my lap.
And then I waited.
We helped with dishes and gathered around the
old TV to see what station would come in. Dad
moved around the antenna as we directed and once
we found the sweet spot, we watched Cops.
Eventually my sisters and I crawled upstairs,
Katie went to her room on the right and Liz and I
went to our shared room on the left.
It was quiet, all I could hear was the sound of Liz's
breathing slow into a steady rhythm.
My eyes drifted shut as my muscles finally relaxed,
it felt like I was sinking into the mattress...
Tomorrow? We'd do it all over again.