Quin stood at the window, alone, watching his father pack the last of his bags into the Ford truck. Tears wet his cheeks, even though boys weren’t supposed to cry. He fought back the urge to run outside, wrap himself around his father’s leg, and beg him not to leave. But none of his pleadings worked before; they certainly wouldn’t work now.
His father got into the truck, started the engine, and eased out of the driveway. He didn’t look back. Not once.
Quin felt his mother’s hand on his shoulder.
“Looks like you’re the man around the house, now.”
He looked up at her; she had the baby on her hip, as usual. She kissed the top of his head.
“Why don’t you come and get some breakfast,” she said.
In the kitchen, Molly sat at the table, coloring in her coloring book, crayons strewn about. Too small to reach the ground, she swung her feet back and forth as she tried to engage their mom in conversation. Their dad had just left them, for good this time, and all she could talk about was how she knew unicorns were real, and she wanted one for her birthday. Mom just murmured “Mm hm” while Molly prattled on.
“Quin, can you set the table?”
He helped Molly clean up her mess, then set plates, forks, and cups. Mom set a platter of bacon on the table while he retrieved the orange juice from the fridge. She scooped scrambled eggs from the skillet onto his plate, and he poured juice for himself and Molly.
Quin took a bite of eggs and felt them stick in his throat. He had to swallow hard to get it down.
“It’ll be all right,” his mother said. Her voice sounded so very far away, like she was talking to him from another planet. He felt a weight settle on his shoulders, and he shifted in his seat.
“Sure, Mom. I know.”
* * *
Today’s story comes from exploring the back story of Quin Marrero from my Freeborn series. If you enjoyed this story, please feel free to share it using the social media buttons below.