Drop #17: Chores

‘Susan, a word.’

‘What’s that?’

‘May I please have a word with you?’

‘Sure.’ Susan smiled, then followed Mark out of the living room, where Alex was drawing at the desk.

‘Sorry,’ Mark said in the kitchen, ‘I thought this warranted a little privacy.’

‘That’s quite all right. What’s on your mind?’

‘Shall we sit?’ Mark asked, pulling out a chair for her.

‘If you want.’

‘Good.’ He sat down opposite, planting his elbows and bring his hands together with index fingers extended. She was taller and he had to look up at her. ‘You were very kind to take us in after our misfortune and I want to thank you on behalf of my whole family.’

‘You are most welcome, Mark. It’s been no bother at all. Mary is a dear friend and I’m glad to help.’

‘Yes, she is still beside herself and having a hard time of it.’

‘What about you, Mark? How are you coping?’

‘I miss him very much too, but someone has to keep the ship afloat.’

‘You know, it’s OK to be sad.’

‘Of course it is, but it’s my duty to be strong and set an example for the others.’

‘Yes, but it’s also important to let the grief out.’

‘You’re right, and I do, in my own way. Sometimes I get angry with the fire – with fire itself – but I know that’s simply illogical. Mary hasn’t quite gotten back to logic yet, and I can’t blame her. But that’s not why I wanted a word. I know you care for our family, and loved Charles too, but I don’t want us to be a burden to you.’

‘I told you; it’s no burden. You can stay as long as you want. There are still a lot of arrangements to be made with the insurance, the service, and finding a new place and all, and I’m happy to have you here. Really.’

‘That may be, and it truly is greatly appreciated, but it’s still no excuse for idleness on our part. Life goes on and we would like to do our bit by helping out around the house. I just want you to know I am available to do whatever chores you require: dishes, cooking, cleaning, fixing things – anything that doesn’t involve driving. This is more of a personal overture, really. Mary isn’t up for it and Alex is too young to understand responsibility, or even why his father is no longer around.’

‘That’s sweet. Thanks.’

‘I mean it.’ He took her hand. It’s a difficult time for us all, and will remain so till we find a new home and then, after that, while we get used to dad being gone, but I want to help.’

‘Thanks, Mark. That’s very kind and I’ll keep it in mind, but remember: you are only seven. I think you have enough to deal with at the moment.’

‘I appreciate your concern, and I’ll take it into consideration, but please feel free to lean on me. The distraction might even do me some good. I read something to that effect recently. A rather simplistic assessment, I think, but probably correct.’

‘OK, then. I’ll let you know if I need any help.’

‘Good. That’s all I ask.’

‘Want some ice cream while we’re here?’

‘Not for me, thanks, but I’ll take some out to Alex. I think he could use it.’

 By E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

4 Responses to Drop #17: Chores

  1. thomaswrites says:

    Nice, very human. I like the ice-cream bit at the end, a continuation from before. I could no way handle 100% dialogue – not enough experience of talking ha!

  2. Francesco says:

    ‘Good.’ He sat down opposite, planting his elbows and bring his hands together with index fingers extended.’

  3. Francesco says:

    Very cool. 🙂

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