Jessie and Sara Jayne sat without speaking, drinking their coffee. Sara Jayne’s two year old Miranda had fallen asleep with her head on her mama’s lap, while Laura and Charlie, her other two children busied themselves, building a city out of creamers, cutlery and sugar packets. They were uncommonly quiet for children only seven and four, as if they knew that they mustn’t attract too much attention. Instead of speaking, Charlie would tug at his mother’s sleeve and point at what he had constructed, looking for some sign of approval. Vacant eyes looked upon his work without comment. Instead, Laura, his older sister smiled at him and noiselessly clapped her hands. He smiled sadly, accepting the morsel of her encouragement.
Laura took some sugar packets and laid them out on the table in the shape of a heart, tapped Charlie on the shoulder, pointed to herself, then to the heart, then to him. The unspoken “I love you” made his smile a bit brighter. He tugged on Jessie’s sleeve again until she looked at him, then he repeated what his sister had just done for him, pointing at himself, at the heart and at Sara Jayne.
“Right” she said, brushing the sugar packets off the table, onto the floor and the children’s laps. “What’s that’s supposed to mean anyway.”
Charlie’s lips began to quiver as he turned his eyes away. “Don’t cry. Don’t cry” said a voice similar to the one that echoed in Sara Jayne’s head. “It will hurt even more if you cry.”
Laura collected whatever sugars she could, and stacked them neatly in the holder on the table, creating order out of disorder so quickly that Jessie thought she must be well practiced at such.
Stop by Emily's In the Hush of the Moon for more imperfected words