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A QUIET DAY
Brian C. Mahon
Jacob anxiously stirred at his soggy, sugary cereal. Looking up, he quietly slipped off his stool when he caught his Mommy’s look and froze. She looked nice with her dark brown hair curled. She spent all morning working on it. Jacob didn’t know or care why. His attention was past the window above the sink, to the beautiful world.
“I want to go outside, Mom,” he whined.
She dried her hands, briskly stacked the cleaned salad plates to put them in the cupboard. Finished, she replied, “Are you done with breakfast, hon? You might just need that energy today.”
“I’m not that hungry, but I promise to finish when I get back inside!”
She pursed her lips and walked over to him, putting an arm around his shoulder to kiss the top his head. Jacob could not see her close her eyes as she smelled his freshly washed hair. “Your cereal will taste awful by then. I’ll have some fruit ready for you. Go outside and say hello to the neighbors if you see them.”
“I will!” he said hurriedly before bouncing off his chair and running out their townhome’s back door into a small, fenced in yard. Jacob ran to the corner post where he left his adventurer’s pack with all his prized possessions: plastic binoculars, magnifying glass, Swiss army knife, compass, and a small notepad with pencil. He quickly thumbed through to make sure they were all there. Smiling with just a bit of satisfaction, he threw the canvas bag’s strap over his shoulder and put his hands on his hips as heroically as the action movie heroes he loved. He walked around the yard and paused to run his hands across the grass blades, to feel the tender way they bent and shifted under his fingertips. He plucked a dandelion and three purple flowers from the yard. Jacob put them into his bag. No one else in their complex was outside. It was quiet outside. Jacob shrugged and look at the sky. It was different than yesterday. The red ball was closer, a lot closer than last night. Mommy said it was though, and she never smiled when she talked about it. Jacob grabbed the toy triceratops he left under their little patio grill and ran inside, hollering, “Mommy!”
“Yes dear?” She was at the sink, leaning against the counter, looking through the window.
“I got these for you, Mommy.” He handed her the flowers, and she hugged him, kissed his little cheek, tussled his hair.
“Don’t forget to finish your breakfast, honey. Today could be a big day for us.”
“I’ll finish it, Mommy. Love you,” Jacob said happily, returning her hug.
“I love you too.” Jacob sat to finish his breakfast. Mommy watched the window. The big red ball continued to descend.
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