His fingernail carefully scrapped and forced itself beneath the peeling paint of the wooden table. He watched the debris roll upward in raggedy threads of Robin’s egg blue. He slowed his work and made his movements more carefully as the tiny threads of layered paint threatened to fall apart. He heard her voice in his ears but somehow he couldn’t bring himself to fully listen to her. She, however carried on, her voice reminding him of the teachers in a Charlie Brown film.
He finally drew in a breath, hard square nail stopping still underneath the warmth of her hand. “Are you listening to me?” She asked.
Gage let his eyes follow the beam of sunlight that shone into the window, first looking outward before bringing his full focus to her. Goodness, the sky was beautiful. The heat of the sun on his dry cheeks reminded him of the gentleness of his mother’s hands.
He finally rolled his shoulder’s and met her gaze, Ms. Tullah. Her eyes reminded him of his own, pale like water, wide like the great out doors. He parted his lips to respond and watched hers make the same movement. Even her lips, kissed with age, mirrored his. Youth still kept his full although he was almost 40. Sitting across from Ms. Tullah he felt no older than four.
“She loved you, Gage.” Her words finally registered in his ears. He felt his chest tighten with the words. How could he find comfort and yet anger within the very same statement? It was like Judas’ kiss to Jesus. A kiss was supposed to be soothing, intimate and, healing, a gesture of love. But his was hateful and wicked. It was the ultimate betrayal.
Swallowing down the acid of bitterness upon his tongue, he clamped his mouth shut, his thumb beginning again to work at the threads. This time Ms. Tullah’s hands reached across the old table and cupped beneath the auburn hairs of his chin. She repeated her words to him again. “She loved you, Gage,” She smiled, a tear in her pitying eye. The creeping curves of a growing smile pulled it out. “But sometimes the threads of a mother’s love are not enough to keep her child to her. But its the frays that help that child find his path way home.”