Her big sister runs a brush through her hair and combs out all the knots. They’re sitting on the floor in the bedroom listening to the sounds of bumps and clings in the kitchen. When a voice follows suit, she starts to hum while she brushes.
The little one knows that something’s wrong with mom, and she knows how much her big sister loves her. She knows that sometimes she’ll hide her tears and smile as big as she can, and she knows it’s just for her.
The silence sits in the house for a while and the humming gets more and more quiet. When it stops, that’s when it’s time to sleep. So she crawls into bed and her sister tucks her in, a warm smile and an “I love you” before leaving for the night. Eventually she falls asleep to light shuffles outside of her bedroom door and she knows it will seem normal in the morning.
Glasses are picked up, bottles thrown away. Spills mopped and a bucket placed on the floor, in close range. Sometimes she gets sick and sometimes she doesn’t.
At least the yelling stopped.