* * *
I thus summoned courage. I dragged my unwilling feet to the living room window, held a curtain aside, and looked out. It was not quiet, not at all. It was him, alright—I could swear it. It numbed me.
A while later, I doubled-paced backward, triple-paced, hopped, turned, and disappeared among the corridors and into my room. I slid between my beddings and could only wish for sleep—I was never so lucky. The chant, the mumble rap of prayer, would only give my ears a break towards dawn.
I speak for none else, indeed, yet, everyone else spoke, even if not in words. The following morning, our breakfast table was plentiful, but our faces mirrored the disconcertment in our hearts.
Mother stood at the kitchen sink, the curtains drawn back, looking out at Uncle Henry’s grave. She remained that way until Sophie, Josh, and I made signs and approached her—forth and behind, making her turn and turn and shake to wake.
But I would notice that Sophie had bitten off all her left hand’s fingernails, and half of the right; Josh packed tons of sacks under his dark-circled eyes.
Eventually, we all looked out at him and said nothing. We all heard it. We all felt it, felt him. And it was only the first day.