(not a full 1000 words, but Nola needed to be here)
When Nola stepped out of the bathroom and walked thru the hallway towards her room she noticed Ethan’s bedroom door was open. Kate was sitting on the floor against his little bed, her shoulders bouncing up and down with silent heaving sobs. She was holding something in her hands…what was it? Was it Ethan’s stuffed dog, that little one he loved so much? Nola had often seen her mother asleep in Ethan’s bed clutching the tattered dog like a child, her tearstained face evidence of another long night of endless mourning.
But this time Kate wasn’t holding one of Ethan’s toys. Instead she was staring at Nola’s blood stained underpants. Nola approached slowly, not wanting to startle her…half not wanting to disturb her mother but needing to understand.
“Mom?” Nola said, barely audibly.
Kate didn’t turn her head towards Nola in the doorway but her shoulders stopped rising and falling momentarily. “Yes honey,” she said in a voice that sounded softer than usual.
“Mom, are you…what are you doing?”
“I’m just, thinking.”
“About growing up.”
“Oh,” and then she couldn’t resist, “Me or you?”
Kate laughed a little and said, “Both of us I guess.”
Nola laughed back. Then they were silent again and she wasn’t sure what to do next. Her mother seemed different to her and she didn’t know how to deal with it. She didn’t know if she liked it or if she didn’t. It just seemed strange. A part of her wanted things to go back to how they were, her mom in the distance and not so…so…present. But another part of her sensed, or at least hoped, that maybe somehow this would be better. Maybe things would actually get better.
Nola walked into the room and sat down next to Kate, leaning her back against the bed the same way. The two of them just sat there for a while, quiet and comfortable.
six words: see ya soon - minor eye injury still needs healing