Peas in a Pod: part eight
Peas in a Pod
Richard’s visit had lasted then, only the one full day.
“I am beholden to Mr. Horace, and I must do as he sees fit. I have never been to Indianapolis. Mr. Horace says a good early train can make it there from Louisville by the afternoon.”
His father gestured with his hand; careless in this, he held a twenty-dollar banknote. Richard saw the denomination plainly. Three times he forced his eyes upwards to meet his father’s.
“This is your fare to Paducah―and something more…which you are meant to give your mother. A gift, Richard, from Miss Haws. She tells me she will be happy to have you write to her, when you have arrived home safely.”
His father could say more than one thing using words that conveyed nothing particular in themselves. He’d told Richard that Miss Haws did not want him to speak his thanks to her in person; but that he might carry back with him to Paducah all the news he’d gleaned. Miss Haws would have, indeed―Richard had come to know her well enough―insisted her name be mentioned to his mother.
And when he’d opened the door to their parlor, his mother had been wearing the green silk…fiddlehead, as she named the color, the dress of Peggy’s she loved best. She’d made a patchwork of its elegance, tightening the waist with the sashes of her calico apron.
“When your daddy comin home, Richard?”
He could believe Mrs. Purfoy, wanting company, had bargained for it with this knowledge. He could believe, also, that his mama simply knew, and asked no explanation for his going away, because to her his father’s return was as much a certainty as Micah’s.
“I don’t know, Mama. Where’s Lawrence?”
“He gone off. How your daddy lookin, Richard?”
“Mama…just the same.”
And sooner than Richard had expected, his father came home.
Rain swept through the town on that day, falling in thunderous bouts, leaking through the roof and chimney. Richard sat with Lawrence on the floor, throwing dice, using their mother’s sewing buttons for markers.
Peas in a Pod
(2017, Stephanie Foster)