Drooling Smiles make her Mad

The window pane is cold; she jerks her finger away as soon as she touches it. The sharp pain melts away slowly, leaving no trace of its existence behind, no war wounds for campfires, no scars to show-off.

“What are you doing? Leave it. I’ll take care of it.”

“No! Stop butting in.”

Most of their stuff left, in labelled brown boxes, in the truck yesterday. The truck was yellow with red lettering. The three men who came for the boxes seemed bored. All their important stuff will travel with them, in the three suitcases her parents are fighting over. They’ve been fighting for a while now. Usually she turns up the TV or muffles them out with her pillow, but now she returns to the cold window, her finger tense and her brows bunched in faux concentration.

Now that she’s expecting it the burning cold prick doesn’t hurt as much. In a slow, precise movement, she draws a circle with her numb fingertip. When she completes the circle, joining the two ends, it ends with a smudge, a mole, she decides. She completes the face by adding dots for eyes and a loopy smile, running from the base of one dot eye up to the other.

“Come on, we don’t have time for this.”

“Why … I’m so… ”

“Please, please don’t start that again.”

She recognizes the tone. It’s the same one they use when grandma calls. It’s the same they use when Mum is having a bad day. It’s the same one they use when dad works late and forgets to say he won’t have dinner at home. Sometimes the dinner goes bad in the plate. She can smell it the next morning when she has her morning milk. It always almost makes her vomit.

They told her two weeks ago. Mum did, while Dad kept scowling at the light coming out of his phone. “Pumpkin, listen, we are moving to a new place soon.”

“A new house?” Her voice grew shrill with anticipation, “does it have a pool?”

“No darling”, her mother hesitated, , “we … we are going away. Away, to a new town.”

“I don’t want to go away.”

“You’ll like it there.”

“I like it here.”

As her parents get into the car, their moods foul, one turns up the radio, the other peers into the phone. Sour, angry bubbles rise from her chest to the base of her throat. She turns to the window for comfort, but instead of a cheerful friend, she is met with an ungainly drool. Disgusted, she wipes the smile off his face.

The sun keeps climbing into the day with the promise of a beautiful Saturday.


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