“Can we go see Mama.” It’s the first time Liam has spoken. I’ve been wondering when he would talk. He’s only a year younger than Junior but nothing like him. Actually nothing like the rest of his brothers. His dark cowlick hair contrasts with their towheads.
“No kids are allowed,” Junior says. “So you’re just going to have to cry yourself asleep another night.”
Liam sulks in silence.
I don’t want to think about visiting Mom. I should. I should be rushing over there, see how she is, if she needs anything. But instead I let these brats keep me busy, getting them to wash dishes, sweep the floors, get the sheets and blankets off the beds and into the washer. It’s not till later after they are all showered that I realize, the blankets aren’t going to dry on the line in one afternoon.
“You’re a damn fool for washing blankets on a cloudy cold day,” Stan said.
“They smelled,” I said. “Probably full of fleas.” I saw some red welts on their legs when they finally got the dirt washed off.
“The only thing with fleas around here is that scrappy mutt.”
Roady has curled up under the kitchen table watching our every move.
“Get him out of my house,” Stan says.
I give a quick whistle and Roady is at my side. “I’m going to the laundromat. Be back in a few.”
The boys look at me then at Stan. I know they’re hoping he’ll order me to take them again, but Stan is unscrewing the cap of a beer, pleased with himself because it appears that I’ve obeyed his command about getting Roady out of the house.
As I take a step toward the back door, I see Junior cross the floor, go up to his father and pull the beer from his hand. He takes a big gulp.
“You little shit,” Stan says with a proud laugh yanking it back. Junior flashes me a look.
I’m not getting involved in this drama. I’m not. Junior’s face falls as he sees I’m not reacting. What does he want from me? I don’t have anything to give him. What does he think?
“Junior, how about you come and give me a hand getting the blankets off the line.”
He scowls. “I got better things to do than girl’s work.”
“He’s got you there,” Stan says sneering and handing the beer back to Junior for another gulp.
“I’ll go,” Liam says.
I head out the door before Stan has a chance to make the remark I know is burning on his lips. I hear Stan and Junior laughing as the door closes.
Liam doesn’t talk when I pile up blankets in his arms.
As we drive into town, I feel his eyes on me. “Go ahead and speak if you’ve got something to say.” I glance over at him.
“I look like you,” he says.
“That means we’re real brothers.”
I want to tell him that it’s just the luck of the draw with DNA. That he is more their brother than mine. But when I glance over again, I see a little smile on his face. Imagine that someone thinks being like me is a good thing.
See previous posts, in the category- “Roady Series” – Find it in the drop down “menu” at the header of this blog. —————————————————————————————————This post is fiction based on the back story of a supporting character in a novel in process by Clare Graith. See ClareGraith.com for more info in the author.