In the living room, a grandfather clock bongs three times. It's now three am. And for those used to these sounds, it is a normal intruder in their sleep patterns. For others, it's more of a wake-up call
"Are you awake George? Answer me, are you?"
"I am now. What's your problem, Ryan?"
"I am awake. You can be a real pest for a little brother. Besides, how come you stole all our blankets last night, Ryan?"
"I did not. How come you blame me all the time?"
"Did too, Ryan. There's no one else sleeping in our bed. Just the two of us."
"Watch your mouth. You'll wake up Mr. and Mrs. Archibald."
"Maybe they already woke up, George."
"Nah. Look, it's still dark out."
"Grown-ups like to sleep in. How come you woke me up so early?"
"Something kept making noises. I'm real hungry, George."
"You're still hungry?"
"After pigging out on Kentucky Fried Chicken last night?"
"Yup, still hungry."
"Well...what do you want me to do about it?"
"A cookie. I'd love to have a great big peanut butter cookie."
"Yah. I remember all them cookies Mrs. Archibald baked yesterday. Want more?"
"Let's go, if you're not a scared-cat."
Now bare feet slapped against the floor. They added to the usual creaks in an older home with creaking floors.
"Quietly...I said quietly."
"Your feet ever cold last night, George."
"Wadya expect? You tried to steal all the blankets."
"Did too, Ryan."
"Did not, George."
"SSSH! Not so loud. It's not my fault these folks are poor. Can't even afford a bed for each of us. Maybe we should try and find a job and help them, or something."
"Can we get our cookies now George?"
"Yah. But we have to be real quiet."
"George, you already said that."
"SSHHH. Be quiet as mice, OK? Don't want to get booted out for taking cookies. I'm tired of moving to different foster homes."
"What did you say, Ryan?"
"Only a couple each, alright Ryan?"
"Yup. You like peanut butter cookies too. Eh George?"
"SSSH! Don't step on the cat, OK? Hey, only two each. And please don't knock the cookie can on the floor."
"Now let's sneak back into bed."
"Quick. It's Mrs. Archibald. I think I hear her coming."
Two pair of feet tiptoe down the hallway, then into bed.
"Now give me some covers too. Ryan, move over."
How come these cookies are so good, George?"
"I dunno. Hurry up and eat them. I have to get some sleep."
"Do you think the Archibald's might adopt us, George?"
"Nah. This is just a foster home. We have to go somewhere else to get adopted. Besides, who wants big kids like us?"
"But, I really like Mrs. Archibald, George."
"Remember last time we were bad? We got moved. Hope they don't get too mad about these cookies."
"We only took two peanut butter cookies each, George."
"Whatever. Get some sleep now. OK, Ryan?"
"Ryan, Is that all you can say, yup?"
"What can you expect from a seven year old kid, anyways?"
"Kid brother, George. Besides, you're only two years older than me. George?"
"Go to sleep. Can't you see I'm tired?"
"George, I love you."
"Don't give me any of that mush, Ryan."
"You're all I got left, George."
"Get some sleep, OK? Please? Besides we still got mom."
"How come momma gave us to the Children's Aid, George?"
"Maybe she didn't want us. You think so, George?"
"Don't say that. It's not true. Mom just can't look after us right now."
"I got no friends. No family. Just you, George."
"Yah...yah. Ryan? I know Mom still loves us."
"George? You crying or something?"
"Quiet. I'm just thinking. If we be good, Mrs. Archibald might let us stay, no more moving around. Maybe even get bunk beds. Sound Okay?"
"George? Let's pray about it, okay?"
"Yah. It might work out. Then when mom feels better, maybe we can go home again."
What now, Ryan?"
"Let's get some more cookies."
* * *
2011 Richard & Esther Provencher
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.