Curtains shifted in the light breeze. Air flowed throughout the house as doors were opened and closed every few minutes. Outside the sun was shining, but inside a shroud of heaviness hovered like cumulonimbus clouds on an April afternoon.
People walked to and fro, stopping to talk in hushed whispers, as if they were concerned about disturbing him. They didn’t know. He couldn’t be disturbed at this point. No one could break the thin glass that contained his heart; it was already cracked.
“I’m so sorry Benny…your mum’s in a better place…”
He knew there was so much he would miss about her.
Her laughter…her quick jokes about Old Man Smith and his perpetual sour moods…how she used to call out to him over the meadow when it was time to come in for dinner.
“My mavourneen, it’s time to come inside… I made your favorite.”
Even when Mama talked it sounded as if she were singing, comforting him. She had such an angelic voice.
He needed that voice now. She could make everything make sense again, that’s what Mama always did.
“It’ll be okay Benny,” a gentler Old Man Smith said, peeking through his normal surly demeanor. “You just be strong; be a man.”
Benny sunk lower into his sadness. At the age of 8 he didn’t quite know how to be a man. And if he had the words, he’d tell Old Man Smith he didn’t want to be a man. Really he just wanted to be a little boy, to continue being his Mama’s mavourneen.