“When Daddy cleared the house of paper, crayons, paints, the twins scratched the tables with knives, breathed fog on the windows and drew their parents into beasts with their stubby fingers.”
DADDY SHIFTED IN THE PASSENGER seat, an ache creaking in his unfamiliar joints. He groaned and the tang of urine filled the car again. Mommy wrinkled her nose—unlike her eyes, it was still her own, upturned with a dusting of freckles—but left the window up. She knew the twins wouldn’t like the wind ruffling their paper.
She was nothing if not a mother.
Beside her, Daddy leaned on the window, the side of his face clacking against the glass when the car hit an occasional dip. Neither had slept since sneaking out of Florida two nights ago. Mommy kept driving until at last the twins put their sketchpads away, closed their watchful eyes and nodded off.
North of Omaha they rented a room from a bored older man who didn’t comment on their gloves and heavy coats in August. The clerk kept his glance away from the two pairs of wide mirrored sunglasses staring at him. The credit card was swiped and the clerk typed in Mommy’s real name. She wanted badly to ask what that name was, even though she knew she wouldn’t hear it if it were spoken, just as she couldn’t string together the letters no matter how long she stared at the Amex or her driver’s license.
They were Mommy and Daddy. Any other names they chose for masks would dissolve into gibberish. Read more »