They are dancing bumblebees scattered around the living room, buzzing in the ears of their parents as they exclaim their excitement about the upcoming holiday. The children are rowdy, they each need far too much attention and Andy, their dad, has had a long day. He is a Laborer. He works in a soap factory two blocks away from their house, up the winding dead man’s hill.
“WHAT WILL I GET, DADDY?!?!”
The youngest is shouting at the top of her lungs. She is so used to yelling so as to be heard in the presence of her loud brothers. The pitch of her voice is canary-like; too soft to hear, yet too annoying to avoid. She has on a set of broken wings, they are tied around her waist, flailing on her back. They were forgotten gifts from last year, now the set, much like the Prodigal Son, has returned home. She is bouncing up and down on the ottoman, delighted to see her father’s face.
“Get down from there, sweet girl. You’re going to hurt yourself.”
Andy had a soft spot for his youngest and only girl of the bunch. He watched her calculate the jump in her head, then saunter off of the ottoman like a champion gymnast. The air is thick in their home. There is the smell of oyster stew simmering on the stove. His wife is a good cook. She has two years of culinary school under her belt, however, she did not graduate from the program, lacking the last $2,250.00 needed for the final semester. What a round number, he thought in that moment. Why so much? She should finish school. She should be a chef in someone’s well-known, expensive restaurant.
“Daddy! Daddy! Look at me! Look at what I can do with my hands!”
His youngest is spinning a ball on the tips of her fingers. His oldest son taught her this trick earlier in the day.
“Look at you, smurf! That’s an awesome trick! Jake teach you that?”
“Yep! And, he let me ride his big wheel up the street today. He even gave me a quarter for some candy.”
“I see you’ve gotten into his good graces. I wonder what he’s got brewing in that mind of his that he’ll want you to do for him later. You know it’s coming.”
“Uh Uh. He’s just being nice, Daddy.”
But, Andy knows his boys, just as he knows his little girl. Something is up, but he will ignore that for the night. His mind went back to how he could gather the funds for his wife’s schooling. That was his main concern. She walked into the room just as he dreamed her up. Her hair pinned up into a bun, little curls hanging about her neck. Years of worry lay at her eyelids, yet she is still beautiful. And, he still yearns to solve all of her problems. This time, will be no different.