There was extra sugar frosting on the cupcake and a dash of vanilla extract. Just as he liked it.
She poured out another glass of wine and helped herself to it, choosing to ignore the bitter aftertaste.
Maggie likes to ask me about how everything broke down.
She does that a lot. The last time she asked me I took away her ice cream privileges. So she’s been moping about and goose stepping around the kitchen. She hasn’t figured out how to open the freezer without making a sound though and that gets her busted. I don’t think she ever will, but I finished all the mint chocolate chip anyway.
And now she’s calling her brother and demanding he take her out (to buy ice cream).
He isn’t telling her anything either. He’s dropped by three times in the twelve weeks since. I paid him for the damages the second time around. Maggie’s eyes bugged out when she saw me empty my wallet. I didn’t mention to her what it was for or that it covered less than a tenth of it.
I haven’t told her anything at all.
And so Maggie’s brother, because that’s who he is now – Maggie’s brother, quietly pocketed it and we’ve gone back to pretending the other doesn’t exist.
She’s disgruntled with him. She slammed the phone down and is now taking the wine glass off the rack. She doesn’t know I finished all her cheap wine three nights ago. How could she. The crystal never left the rack and the bottles have rolled into a corner under my bed. They’ve probably been sucked into the black hole by now. Maggie says there’s one under her bed too. And the fridge. I can vouch for that one as well. Lost half the swear jar savings(read: rent) to it.
Maggie’s looking at me reproachfully now. She’s figured out where her stash went. I know what comes next. She’s going to ask me what happened again. And this time I can’t revoke her liquor privileges. So I’ve turned my back to her, pretending like I can’t hear her with my headphones on. But she isn’t asking. Instead she’s sitting down next to me and turning the telly on.
Whenever your’re ready you can talk to me about it, she’s saying silently. Maggie’s nice like that. She’s always patient with me. Always thinks the best of me. And that’s why Maggie won’t understand.
And that’s why Maggie can’t ever know.
Maggie can’t know her brother left it in my care. She can’t know I pushed the button and watched it swirl away.
She can’t know I said I lost it. She can’t know he didn’t believe me.
She can’t know the swear jar broke ’cause he threw it in a fit. She can’t know the wall’s chipped ’cause I threw a book and missed.
She can’t, because she doesn’t know what happened the one weekend she was away.
She can’t, because she doesn’t know it had happened every time she was away.
Summon (verb) to call upon for specified action
When Mr Coleridge built his little shack by the cave, he didn’t pause to think of the little demon lurking down below.
Four weeks of hacking, hammering, wood rot and nails later, he moved in next door with the missus and his lad Jim. Kind neighbour that the demon was, he left the missus a shiny present on the river bed as she smacked the dirty laundry against a rock. Kind of greedy that the missus was, she sent Mr Coleridge looking for more into the cave by his shack, as she fixed it up with a sign that said ‘Mine’.
It was Jim Coleridge’s big mouth that brought the taxmen up from town.
“Summon your family to leave, Sir,” they said, “you’re on government property.” They took the shiny presents as rent and watched Mr Coleridge leave with the sobbing missus and boxed-eared Jim just as the men with the pickaxes came. Into the cave they went as Mr Coleridge went to build a shack away from caves.
“Fools,” the demon cried with glee, “More fools to play with it!” He welcomed his guests with the bright light of his shiny rocks, as he slowly shut his door. Daylight wasn’t needed anymore. The fools had enough to last them a lifetime.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fearful Symmetry.”
“Sing for me.”
She looked up from her book into his clear blue eyes.
“Sing for me, Mama.”
She laughed and ruffled his hair.
“Six is a little too old for lullabies,” she said, picking him up and carrying him to bed.
“Seventy isn’t too old for lullabies,” he said confidently. She laughed and kissed his forehead as she started humming her favourite tune.
Simon hummed her favourite tune as he tucked his mother into bed. She smiled as she drifted asleep, just as content as she was forty years ago. Seventy was not too old for lullabies.