Rise and shine, girls.” My mother shook the wooden bed knob and since all three of us were nestled in the same full bed, we awoke at once.
Efficient in all things, mother, she raised up both off-white blinds simultaneously and motioned for us to join her in front of the double window. “Come and see, girls. Come and see. Jack Frost has been with us.”
And since no man had been near our home for months, I admit, I was excited to hear that this Jack fella had bothered to come round, and I was anxious to see his handiwork.
Estrogen’s a bit like a slow gas leak, and our little white house with its picket fence, hair bows, humming, and heartache was on the verge of an explosion.
Being the middle child, I slept my station in the center of the bed, forced to wait for one of my sisters to rouse so I could check this Jack fella out.
Impatient, I pinched my big sister’s toe. She backfired like a camel giving me a good kick to the chin.
“Kelly kicked me in the face.”
“KK pinched me.”
“Girls, you’re gonna miss it. Come and see what Jack Frost has been up to.”
Frost tinted the windowpane making everything fuzzy. Clearing it away with my nightgown, I took in the dullness of the day. “The grass has gone gray.”
My mother laughed, but I realized then how most mothers, even Mother Nature herself, grew old before their time.
“Everything looks old.” I said to no one in particular as my little sister breathed on the glass, creating a small circle of clear sight.
“No, loves. It’s distinguished. See, Jack Frost tiptoes over everything and leaves us a warning. Winter is coming.”
“Just means we have to scrape the car,” My older sister, the pragmatist, done with looking and started pulling on her overalls. She’s already double digits, and later she will be the one to strain over the windshield glass, the only one of us tall enough to scrape the sticky white layer blocking my mother’s view.
Shivering, I cursed my father, wondering if at that moment he was flying over the Congo, spiraling down from the sky while bullets flooded past, the passengers all rats on a sinking ship. He’d left us alone so he could try to save the world. Or at least that’s what I chose to believe.
Mom had our hats, coats and scarves in neat piles by the door ready to go. I recognized my sister’s jacket from last season, but no matter, we were grateful for our mother’s militance. She was our captain, after all. If I thought it wouldn’t have offended her, I would have turned and saluted right then. Miraculously, we were up, fed, and out of the door in under an hour. Our first winter morning christened with the crunch of broken glass grass.
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