Golly, I'm tired today. Are you tired? Yes? Let's slide into a story together, then.
Here's the first part.
And here's some more:
I've never been inside her house. Is that weird? I've lived across the street all my life. Shoveled her driveway on occasion. Mowed her grass when Dad paid me to. Threw her bread packets away when Mom wasn't looking. But I've never been in here.
It's not what I would have expected if I had thought about it. The walls are bare but riddled with holes picture-frame-width apart. A recliner faces the front window and that's it for living room furniture. But the kitchen looks fully stocked. The dining table is circular, surrounded by a full set of chairs, tableclothed, and set with two blue pottery tea cups. A loaf of bread rests between them.
Your name is not on that one.
I don't have to ask what she's talking about. She shuffles toward the kitchen. I know I'm supposed to follow but I just watch her move through the room at first. She's small, somewhat stooped, and moves slowly. Old, of course. But there's something about the way she holds her chin that speaks of strength. Like she's not quite ready to bow to whatever force bent her spine and shrunk her bones and makes her skin hang loose on her frame.
She's already filling the cups with steaming water before I think of offering to do it for her. So instead of speaking, I unzip my coat and pile my winter gear in a heap on the linoleum that lines the entryway. The snowflakes that rode in on my shoulders have mostly melted. I leave my boots side by side on the welcome mat and wonder if I should have come inside after all. Maybe Mom will wonder where I am.
I used to make bread for her, you know.
I still don't respond. I'm not sure what to say. So I cross the room and sit across from her at the table. Her hair rests on the top of her head in a small bun that's so thin and wispy I'm not sure how it could stay in place. When I finally meet her eyes I'm startled by the brightness of her blue. Such a contrast to her see-through hair, off-white sweater, and faded pink blouse. I find my voice.
She never told me that.
No, she wouldn't. Her voice is soft, directed at the bare walls and not at me.
Aaaaand, that's all for now. I'm going to bed. Sleep tight!