All by herself

 

The baby coughed.

 

A little boy heard the noise and turned his head in surprise. It was early Wednesday morning – a Poya day – and the streets had seemed deserted when he’d slipped out of the house to have a secret run around before his mother called him in to help her around the house.

 

It was his fifth birthday today but it was noting to celebrate. The opposite in fact – his mother constantly bemoaned the fact that he was growing and needing more and more to eat. He tried to reassure her by refusing the extras she nevertheless tried to transfer from her own plate onto his. His stomach rumbled at sight of the morsels of food in her fingers but he still said no and was gratified by the tight smile of thanks on her face.

 

Still, it was his birthday. He thought he deserved a little extra play time. So he woke up early and crept past his parents’ sleeping figures on the floor near him, standing stock still when his mother shifted restlessly in her sleep, pulling his baby brother protectively closer to her. Relieved that she didn’t wake, he put on his shorts and ran out onto the open streets. Continue reading All by herself