Fading Quickly

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She fingered the edge of her mattress with one hand. Grace was lying down, looking at the other side of the room where another bed used to be. Two years have passed since the spot was vacated. As much as she wanted to fill the void, Grace didn’t have the heart to put anything there.

There was still plenty of time before the sun would set, yet she felt fatigued already. The clock on the nightstand read half past three when Greg burst through the open doorway.

He glanced at his sister on the bed with her lips drawn in a tight line. The room looked the same to him even though he had moved out two years ago. Ever since he moved into a new house with his current girlfriend, Greg started sleeping in a king sized bed rather than a tiny twin. “What’s wrong?”

She sat up, one hand on her abdomen. “You’re assuming something is wrong.”

He had his hands on his knees, bent down to catch his breath. “You said you wanted to talk.” He paused before shooting her a half-hearted smile. “You rarely call anymore.”

Swinging her legs to the side of the bed, she stood. Grace walked over to the full-length mirror by her closet door. Back then a natural blush coloured her cheeks. Now no concealer in the world could hide the yellowish hues parading across her face. “I rarely call because you never pick up. I just wanted to talk to my little brother in person.”

In that moment, she noticed how Greg’s jeans hugged his wide hips. His grey T-shirt fit snug around his mid-section. But Grace thought her clothes enveloped her in an overwhelming web of fabric.

Greg folded his arms across his chest. “You’re talking to me now, aren’t ya?”

A long pause descended between them. With her next sentence, Grace couldn’t quite meet her brother’s eyes. “You’re always busy with her.” She spat out the last word as if it was poison.

“She’s my girlfriend, remember?”

“I’m your sister.”

He crossed the room in two quick strides to stand beside her. “What do you want from me? I can’t exactly spilt myself into two and spend time with both of you equally, can I?”

She frowned, touching the beanie on her head.

“Don’t you remember we’re having a baby?”

Her frown deepened. “You never told me that.”

“Oh, I didn’t?” Greg scratched his forehead with a fingernail.

Grace rubbed her own flat tummy with one hand. “I hope it’s yours.”

His eyebrows knitted together in disbelief. “You’re only jealous you don’t have a boyfriend,” he mumbled.

“You have got to be kidding me.”

“Then what’s your problem?”

He might as well have driven a stake through her heart.

A phone rang. Greg stepped back, reaching into the pocket of his jeans. He took the incoming call, listened closely, and hung up. “That was Linda. I have to go.” Greg hesitated at the doorway. “Goodbye Grace.”

She would not get a chance to say goodbye before passing away three months later.






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