Shirley

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The kitchen counter was bare, almost. The grey marble was dusty and Grace swept her hands along it, creating two dimensional circles and arcs. Her pale hand was almost translucent in the shadows that flickered as cars went by through the thin curtains. They were grey as well, and as the time between cars lengthened and the silence grew and expanded and slithered towards the garden the distinction between the walls and counter faded. Grace leaned back and opened the cutlery drawer softly, taking out a dessert fork that hadn’t been used in weeks. She scraped the counter and winced as the fork screeched slowly. Rubbing the spot where she’d dragged it Grace realized too late that a scratch had formed in the marble. A thin sliver of gray poked through. Grace smiled smugly, wondering if this was even actual marble as the agent had said. A sound came from the hallway, soft padding of feet against push carpet. Sophie appeared, alert and anxious as her shape formed in the dark. Her pajamas were too large, the sleeves hung over her hands and she gripped them like mittens as she approached her mother. They were some child star’s brand, with her face brightly plastered on the front and back. Sophie brushed against the girl’s pearly whites and blond hair as she crossed her arms and frowned.










“I won’t sleep.”










“You mean can’t dear?”









“Ok. Can I a Shirley Temple?”








“Well…,”Grace swiveled around in her chair and opened the wooden fridge behind her, a sense of relief merging when she located a drink covered with saran wrap by the housekeeper.









“Here, not too fast.”









Sophie grabbed the drink and sat on the counter, gulping it down greedily. Her pajamas dragged in the dust. Grace raised her arm to point it out, but instead sat silently. Silence coming back as Sophie hopped back down and placed the glass on the counter, going back to where she’d come from. Grace sighed and listened as the sound of silence enveloped her and her daughter again.





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