“Nothing a coat of PAINT won’t fix.”  Mom’s cheery tone was too bright,too sharp in contrast to the confusion that had been the last month.   Dad and her had told the kids together about the  separation. It had already been in place almost a year  without the boys knowing it was going on. Mom’s face was thinner than before, etched with deep horizontal forehead lines and a pronounced 11 between her dark, neatly tweezed eyebrows.  After the announcement, she had cut her golden brown hair up to her chin.  17 years and 7 inches of hair gone, he had heard her muttering into the bathroom mirror.

‘Yeah,’ Kevin, Sam’s older brother agreed, a stilted politeness.  His almost-black eyes and blue-black hair made him look a lot like dad when dad had been younger.

“What do you think, Sam?”his mother asked in a soft, high tone.  Sam shrugged his bony shoulders, keeping his gold-brown eyes on the floor. It appeared the worn tiled floor had been a shade of white at one time.  The yellowed dust of pollen was scattered, brought in by the small, slightly opened window over the kitchen sink. The emptiness of the house struck him in the gut, just like the acres of empty land they had passed on the way here.  He had driven by these areas hundreds of time going to town with mom, but a strange sadness had tried to suck him in at seeing trees they were felling. The displaced trees, with their echoes of life and wind dances, were replaced with a silent rust dirt.

Everything moves on, everything changes.


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