Fiction: Morning After the Snow Moon (580 words)

26 Feb

“It’s kind of like waking up after an awful bout of the flu.” Liam’s voice was soft and delicate.  Beatrice was momentarily concerned that talking was only going to make him weaker, but she was too curious to stop him. “Your head feels stuffy and dizzy.  All of your joints ache.  You feel like you are going to be sick, and more often than not, before the day is up, you are sick.  Depending on what you actually got into the night before, you’re usually cut or bruised, but those injuries always tend to heal much faster than expected.  For the next couple of days, you feel the moon rise and set.  Your bones pull towards it and everything is stiff and uncomfortable.”  Liam coughed and Beatrice reached up to sweep his hair out of his eyes, casually trying to feel his forehead for a fever at the same time.  “Don’t you know some of this?  From your sister and your step-dad?”

“We don’t talk about it,”  Beatrice answered shortly. “Mom won’t let us. It’s almost like, to her, if we don’t mention it, or think about it, then it doesn’t actually happen.”

“My mom is the same way.  She tells me, ‘Most of the month you are my normal little boy.’  I know she’s just trying to be comforting, but most of the time I want to grab her by the shoulders, shake her and say, ‘No, I’m not. I will never be normal again.’  I wish she would stop denying it.”  Liam coughed again and settled deeper into his pillows.  “Who’s taking care of your dad and Margie this morning?  I hate to think I’m keeping you away from them.”

“My mom is taking care of them.  They’ll be fine. Who normally takes care of you?”

Liam looked timidly up at Beatrice. “I don’t want you to think less of them.  They just don’t know how to handle it.”

‘I’m sorry?”

“Usually, I take care of myself.  I’ve gotten very good at doing my own bandages and suffering in silence.  My parents can’t handle me in the mornings after.  My father can’t handle me very well on the best of days, and it just breaks my mother’s heart to see me.  I’d prefer she stay away then have that pathetic look on her face every time she looks at me.”

Beatrice, almost subconsciously, tucked the blankets tighter around Liam’s legs. She smiled as best she could and said, “That settles it then.”

“Settles what then?”

“Margie’s old enough that Mom can take care of her and Stephen without breaking a sweat.  I’m redundant over there.  From now on, I will be coming over here to take care of you on the morning after.”

“That really isn’t necessary.”

“I know it isn’t necessary, but I’ll be here anyway.  No one should have to take care of themselves while recovering from a bad bout of the flu. Now, close your eyes, and try to get some rest.”

She could see that Liam was ready to argue again, but his fatigue seemed to win out. “Thank you.”  He said simply. He reached up, as if to touch Beatrice’s cheek, and then seemed to think better of it and let his hand drop back to his side, before shutting his eyes again.  Beatrice watched as he drifted to sleep, and once she was sure he was out for the count, she leaned in and very carefully kissed him on the forehead.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Stories


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