Skerrick

 

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 skerrick
  1. Australian. a small piece or quantity; a bit: Not even a skerrick of cake was left.

The sound of intermittent sniffling accompanied by quiet bouts of sobbing from the children’s bedroom reached Hannah, breaking her heart all over again.

Lately she had made more hard choices than she had ever cared to make. She could be decisive in most situations, but she had left that to her husband for so long that she forgot what it was like to be in this position as the hated one.

She stared at the skerrick of ground wheat in the bottom of the jar, silently praying for a miracle.

A glance in the cabinets and pantry, once again revealed their desperate need for food. Hannah returned the metal jar back to it’s shelf, trying not to give in to the panic she felt inside.

Things had drastically changed in the last year. Now, when she went places with her four children she was met with glances of disdain by people who would’ve looked up to her if she could still dress the same, drive her old car, or get her hair and nails done like she used to. She was now living dangerously close to the poverty line, taking public transportation to and from her two minimum wage jobs, and had just sold the children’s dog. Her 14 year old understood, but Tommy Jr.,–the miniature clone of his dad–was still crying, withholding forgiveness with every ounce of willpower in his 6-year-old body.

She felt worse than they did about deciding to sell Alexander, but she couldn’t hold onto him any longer. The purebred Dane was great to have around, he protected her children, but she couldn’t afford to feed him and her children. They didn’t understand now, but she was hoping that some day they would.

Hannah sat down at the small round table in the space she had claimed as their dining room and crunched more numbers. She desperately needed money. The though of calling her parents seemed like a logical move, but she doubted they had forgiven her yet.

Her parents had always had their qualms about her husband Tom. They’d even advised her not to marry him. When she made her decision to ignore their advice they threatened to disown her. Hannah had hugged her parents and siblings goodbye and never looked back. It had been 16 years since her last conversation with her family and Hannah had never once regretted her decision. But when Tom died last year on one of the construction sites, everything changed. His company had just started winning more contracts, their financial state was going to improve, but with a few votes from the company’s board and Hannah and the kids were left with almost nothing.

She had contacted her parents to invite them to the funeral, she was hoping they would have a mature discussion. But they never responded.

Hannah erased the numbers on the sheet of paper for what seemed like the millionth time. Things weren’t adding up and she didn’t know what to do. She rubbed her eyes, feeling as if she had aged about 20 years. She was always tired now. Apparently “not too tired to make good money on the side,” according to Rick, her greasy coworker. Every time she thought of his unwanted appraisal and offer, Hannah broke out in goosebumps, even in the midday summer heat.

They needed food and she was starting to believe she would have to do something drastic to make ends meet. But with their dog gone, Hannah was now reluctant to leave the kids home alone at night.

“God, I need a miracle,” she breathed quietly.

She closed her spiral notebook, feeling simultaneously desperate and frustrated. With a heavy sigh she sunk into the sagging couch that had become her new bed and pulled a blanket over her for warmth, wishing something could be different.

 

 

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