Monetary

Money felt lonely to me.

 

“Why did you adopt her?”

Alex turned and looked at the boy that was his nephew if only on paper.

“You could have had anything, anyone that you wanted. You didn’t have to make her your sister in order to have her in your family. No one would have questioned you for any of it.”

The old man smiled at the much younger man in front of him, “I wanted to make sure that, in the very likely case of my death, the money would go to someone who wouldn’t appreciate it.”

Matt blinked, “What?”

“Your mother wasn’t ever very big on monetary things. She absolutely hated the fact that we lived in a mansion whenever we went to visit anywhere outside of the city. She wouldn’t appreciate anything that cost money from me, but she wouldn’t waste it either, so it had to go to her. The best way to do that without having someone take her to mediation was to adopt her as my sister.” The bald man smirked mischievously, “I toyed with the idea of making her my daughter, but Mary threatened to disappear whenever I entered a room if I did that.”

“So you made her your heir in the event that you had no children.”

Alex’s smirk dropped, “I had a son once. He died. I could have no others after him.”

Matt was silent for a moment, remembering the young man whose paternity had always been in question for some reason even though he had the same looks as his father. It had only been covered in history class because of the status of the father in the making of their country.

“Mary didn’t want money, what she wanted was family and I could understand that. Money never brought me any family, but your mother. For that alone, I would have her be my heir and through her, you and your brother.”

Childhood Favorites

You can’t beat childhood favorites. –anonymous

Matt loved everything about his family.

You’d never get him to admit to it, after all, what self-respecting twelve-year-old would admit that they loved spending a nice evening at home with your mother who was practically ancient (all parents are after all) or his lame older brother who was probably the lamest lamer to ever lame.

(Matt thought he was the wittiest kid in the apartment complex.)

But he loved being at home with his dorky family, whether they were watching a movie or a special on t.v. or playing some stupid board game like Monopoly (his mother always had this ridiculous look on her face whenever one of them took over Boardwalk and Park Place and still lost the whole game because they blew all their money on hotels that no one ever landed on.)

It was just having a quiet evening at home reminded him of playing Sorry with his parents going all out against each other and ignoring their young sons winning the game within half an hour or his father trying to make spaghetti and failing epically while his mother burned the garlic bread to charcoal.

(“That only happened once and I was delirious with a fever! Why can’t you let that go?” his mother would say whenever his father pointed out the spaghetti and bread had been going great until Mary had tried to ‘help’ by pouring four tablespoons of salt into the sauce pan and doing…something…to the oven.)

It was the love and the feeling of home and safety and the ‘nothing can get you while you’re under our roof’ that his parents had always managed to pull off even after they had separated and divorced.

The quiet evenings with everyone in didn’t happen an awful lot anymore. Terry was too busy with work and school and his stupid girlfriend (who Matt actually liked pretty well, but she was taking up more of his lame brother’s time than she needed and she must have something wrong with her in the first place to agree to even be friends with Terry let alone date him.) His mom was always working, even when she was at home, practically glued to her laptop while finishing whatever project was assigned for that week. When she wasn’t working she was exhausted even as she went through the motions to put together something for them to eat.

That didn’t mean that they didn’t have quiet evenings now and then and for that Matt would always be grateful. He didn’t think he much cared for growing up when he realized that it meant things like this could slowly vanish from your life with just enough of it left for you to remember better times and strive to bring those moments back. Life was a lot harder than he had ever thought it would be when he was sandwiched with his brother between their parents watching some meaningless movie while consuming an unhealthy amount of salt and butter on their popcorn.

Matt shook his head at his maudlin thoughts and moved into the kitchen before his mother could come out of the bathroom she’d disappeared into after returning home from work. He might as well get dinner started as Mary had looked a little more drawn around the edges than usual and he didn’t want his mother to be even more tired than she already was.

She never removed it

It was when the leaves on the bushes outside began to change color that she knew.

“Mother, where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise, my darling.”

The smile felt more real than fake and it took everything Mary had not to let the tears in the back of her throat reach her eyes. She’d always been very good at lying and anyone who was as good at it as she was knew that the art in lying is in having just enough of the truth in it to make it real.

“Are we going to have to finish our homework?” her youngest asks, eager for a reason to not finish the packet sent home for the fall break.

“We’ll see, Matt.” She shares a grin with her eldest at the boy’s groan. What she doesn’t say and what her eldest likely already knows is that they will likely never return to this house that had almost become their home.

Matt didn’t remember living anywhere but here, he’d been so young when her husband had left and only a little older when his father had died. She still wore her wedding ring even though it was on the wrong hand. It was a plain enough band that many wouldn’t know that it had ever been a wedding ring in the first place. Her husband’s name was only clear on the ring once the band had been removed.

Mary never removed it.

Better Times

Matt wasn’t as clueless as everyone seemed to think. He knew that Mom was working herself to a very thin thread and that she didn’t sleep at night even if there were never any bags under her eyes. That Terry was running all kinds of errands that would send Mom into cardiac arrest if she found out.

He knew that their family hadn’t really fallen apart until Dad had died even though their parents had been divorced. Because the divorce had felt temporary, like it was only there because it had to be, but wouldn’t last forever.

It had because Dad had died.

Nothing felt temporary anymore. He couldn’t let it, just in case something that was supposed to be temporary (like the divorce) became something permanent (like Dad’s death). So he had to make sure that he was okay with the consequences of his actions because it was possible that they would be permanent consequences.

Wish You Could See

image: courtesy of Janssenfrank and taken from Wiki Commons

Mary sighed as she knelt down in front of the gravestone. Her hands did not tremble as they cleared away the grass and weeds that tried to cover the slab of cement, though her fingers lovingly traced the outline of the letters.

“It’s lonely without you, Warren. The boys aren’t home as often as they used to be, busy with work and school and friends. They don’t have as much time for their mother anymore.”

Terry had graduated high school with honors and was now attending university, his long-time girlfriend off and studying her way through dancing, his job not ending just because he had less time on his hands. If anything, he spent more time with his boss than with his mother.

“I don’t mind so much, Terrance is really coming into what he wants to be and I think he would make you proud with his dreams of going into law. He’s not just going to leave it to someone else to fix the mess that has often happened in our legal systems.”

Matt wasn’t in high school, not yet, but that was more because he hadn’t wanted to skip grades than anything else. Her little boy was smart and often spent time over with his brother at his workplace. Terry’s boss didn’t seem to mind and even let the pre-teen help out as well.

Mary smiled once more at her husband’s gravestone, “It seems that I am nothing more than a thought they have now and then, but I know that they still love me even if I don’t quite fit with them anymore.”

With a sigh, she stood.

“I wish you were here to grow old with me.”


This is a dual inspired post, part of it came from reading a post by Oliana this morning (nothingness) and also from the Light and Shade Challenge.

Once Even I Was A Little Child, And I Was Afraid

Matt hummed softly as he walked down the long hallway, carrying his precious bundle so carefully. Halfway down the hall a door stood open and inside was a bedroom done up in soft warm colors, reds and browns and golds with an occasional touch of blue to offset it. He moved towards the bed which was already turn down, the quilt showing a starburst pattern on it.

Once his little bundle was placed in the bed and tucked in he sat on the edge of the bed and ran a hand through the child’s hair and his humming continued and moved into words.

Little child, be not afraid
The rain pounds harsh against the glass
Like an unwanted stranger
There is no danger
I am here tonight
 

The little girl in front of him smiled and rolled over so that she could peek up at him through her eye lashes, humming along with his little lullaby.

Little child, be not afraid
The thunder explodes
And lightning flash
Illuminates your tear-stained face
I am here tonight
 
And someday you’ll know
That nature is so
This same rain that draws you near me
Falls in rivers and land
On forest and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you see
In the morning
 
Little child, be not afraid
The storm clouds mask your beloved moon
And it’s candle like beams
So keep pleasant dreams
I am here tonight
 
Little child, be not afraid
The wind makes creatures of our trees
And the branches to hands
They’re not real understand
And I am here tonight
 

She frowned slightly, sleepily at the words about the moon. Matt smiled, but kept singing softly. He knew that she’d always preferred the sun or the stars to the moon, but this was the way the song went.

And someday you’ll know
That nature is so
This same rain that draws you near me
Falls in rivers and land
On forests and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you see
In the morning
 
For you know once even I was a little child
And I was afraid
But a gentle someone always came
To dry all my tears
To switch sleep for fears
And to give a kiss goodnight
 

Matt’s voice shook slightly over the previous verse, remembering when his mother would sing him to sleep. The little girl’s eyes had slipped closed by now, but she was still just slightly awake, so Matt carried on.

Well, now I am grown
And these years have shown
The rains a part of how life goes
But it’s dark and it’s late
So I’ll hold you and wait
Until your frightened eyes do close
 
And I hope that you’ll know
That nature is so
This same rain that draws you near me
Falls in rivers and land
On forest and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you see
In the morning
Everything’s fine in the morning
The rain’ll be gone in the morning
But I’ll still be here in the morning
 

After the lyrics had all been sung, Matt continued humming slightly though the little girl was deeply asleep. His hand had long since stopped carding through her dark red hair an sat limply in his lap. His eyes hadn’t stopped watering throughout the ending of the song and tears were still trickling quietly down his cheeks.

Little Mary snuffled softly in her bed, unaware of her silently crying son next to her.


This little snippet is far into the future for this little universe, but it’s been on my mind for a while and I had to write it down.

My mom often sang us to sleep at night, so much so that the first thing I have ever tried to get my nieces and nephews to sleep is some of her songs being sung softly.

Missing Person

Mary was really starting to worry about her eldest son. She knew that he was an honorable teen (well, as honorable as a teen could be in this day and age where such things weren’t really thought of on a conscious level, unless you lived in Asia somewhere) but the fact that most of his time was spent in nocturnal activities for his new boss made her uneasy. She didn’t see him as much anymore, only caught him as he was on his way out the door, whether to work or school only depended on the time of day and whether or not it was a school day.

Mary missed her son and she knew that, though he would never admit it, Matt missed his older brother as well.

Of course, getting Matt to admit to such a thing was a course fraught with peril.

“Why would I want to hang out with that dweeb anyway, Mom?”

Mary smiled, “Because he’s your older brother. I remember when you used to toddle after him begging for his attention.”

Matt turned red, “That never happened!”

“And you dragged your little ducky blanket along with y-”

“NEVER! HAPPENED!”

Mary’s smile didn’t fade, though she did wish that Terrence was here as well to help her poke a little fun at her youngest.


Inspired by this week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt.

Also, I’m really tired today.