By Jen Cole
Copyright 2012 Jen Cole
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By Jen Cole
Angela sank onto the lumpy couch, her eyes prickling. The box beside her tilted and righted itself with a tiny whimper.
“Quiet.” She’d meant the word to come out sternly, but it barely passed her lips. Just one more thing to take care of. She drew an unsteady breath, remembering Sam’s face as he’d headed off to school. Guilt was the final straw.
If she hadn’t been so angry about the damned ring, she wouldn’t have shouted at him this morning, on his birthday, of all days. Sam knew he’d done the wrong thing, though. He’d used his birthday to try to get around her. Now it was clear why he’d been washing the neighbors’ cars and running errands for so long.
Michael would have laughed. He’d have said, “You have to give the boy top marks for enterprise.” But that was in a different world.
She hurled a cushion across the room. As it bounced impotently off the wall her tears finally began flowing. They were the tears she’d held back for Sam’s sake when the police officer had stood on the porch holding Michael’s wallet, his face white with the news he was about to impart. They were the tears she’d stifled at the funeral when Sam had needed her and clung for comfort. They were the tears that had lurked behind her calm facade during the auction, when the house and all their best furniture had gone under the hammer. And they were the tears she’d pushed behind the smile she’d given Sam when they’d moved into this tiny unit in a block of thirty, without even a courtyard to stretch their legs.