Kay recalls life before and at present when dad left and the toll it took on her family.
Kay was listening to the rain fall on the roof of their Chicago home. Dad has been officially out of their lives for some double digit amount of years now. Mom is drowning in gelato and soap opera dramas. It may never be the same in the Russel family ever again. Mom’s been doing poorly of late and just seems to get worse as time goes on. The loss of Gus, [older bro} had hit the family harder than they could’ve ever imagined. Who can imagine the unthinkable?
It was hard on the lot of them. But it was hardest on Kay who had grown close to older bro since dad had deserted them Being 11 at dad’s desertion he’d immediately taken the role of man of the house. He took it quite seriously. Making sure they all made it through those difficult times. When he decided to head off to war, it broke mom’s heart. Knowing she’d most likely never see him again.
She was partially right.
When he signed up was a troubling time since mom’s health was becoming ever more fragile. They were finally made aware of his state of being when they got the condolence letter. He was dying, left lung exploded. It was horrible to have such an injury and watch the pain he was in slowly do aware with the remnants of his health. If only she could relieve him of his suffering. She’s do it in a heartbeat. He left this world not two weeks after returning home.
It was around this time that Kay determined her mother’s health took a turn for the worse. She never quite recovered after her brother died and they had his funeral. It was like she suddenly decided to give up and meet her son in the next life. It was terrible to witness her mother’s resignation. Her wiliness to leave behind her only two surviving children, Kay and her baby sister Sally, who was but four by then.
It was starting to lighten up by the sound of things. Upon checking on their mother’s state of being, found her to be very much asleep. She took her sister to the coat rack to grab her rain jacket just in case. They made sure the door didn’t slam as they made their hasty retreat. It was cool and a bit foggy out after the storm. Sally happily splashed in all available puddles. She even tried making some of her own. Kay just made sure they didn’t get themselves killed. As it would’ve further put her mother’s health beyond repair. If it was not already so. Kay watched Sally frolic and was reminded of another time.
When she was a tot, her dad would take her puddle splashing right after a storm such as they just had. Mother would greatly disprove but seeing how happy it made her, didn’t raise a bigger fuss. Fonder times before their lives would turn to pot. She doesn’t recall if her brother shared such moments with their father. She does remember seeing him peer at them through the curtains. She never knew what ran through his minds at such times. Her brother would forever remain a mystery to her.
She was brought back to reality at Sally’s loud shrieking. An older matron was chastising her for being careless with her younger sibling. She gave Kay the evil eye before mumbling something and going on her way. Sally didn’t comprehend much of what had happened. She’d been puddle splashing when her tummy made thunder sounds. She’d glimpsed a kiosk of apples across the street and bounded over towards it. She was going to take an apple when they started to tumble down towards her. Then the old woman had come from nowhere to chase her off. Kay had come over and the lady went after her next. Seeing her not overly fazed by it, Sally felt a teeny bit better. Kay glanced over at her and shrugged before steering her towards home. Their mom would be worried to awaken and find them gone.
They were mostly silent on their way back home. The day starting to clear up after the storm. Mom still slumbered when they creeped back in. They took themselves upstairs to avoid disturbing her. Sally suggested tea party and Kay complied. It was going well to Sally made to reach over and grab something. She brushed up against Kay and a giggle escaped, much to Kay’s chagrin. Sally picked up on it and a tickle fight was set in motion. Unbeknownst to the girls, mom had awakened to their sounds of mirth not too long ago. She smiled to herself before turning over. It was best they have some happy memories to look back upon, she decided. And returned back to dream land.