She was careworn and sad. Her dark hair flowed around her face, hiding secrets that were not revealed to the unknowing eye. Jake saw them but somehow he always knew that they were there, but he kept those secrets to himself. He himself didn’t know why he never mentioned them to his brothers or father. He also never told his mother either that he knew what she was hiding under her hair.
Maybe it was because he himself knew that there was something different about him as well; and to reveal his mother would also reveal that he wasn’t the same. But at the same time, there was that comment that he made last night at the dinner table that halted everything for the rest of the night. And it was strange; his brothers were both looking at him in a different light; that maybe there was something that he himself was hiding from them.
He sighed and shoved the pitch fork harder into the dirty bedding of the cow barn. The silence last night had continued into the morning with no answer to the question that he had asked. Instead he felt that it had opened up a gaping hole between him, his mother and the rest of the family. And the one that the silence hurt him the most was the sad look from her.
“Jake”. he whirled around flinging the soiled straw through out the stall; and there she was his mother standing behind him. Today she was wearing a light green blouse with a skirt that flowed around her form. Jake saw what drew the others towards his mother; she was slight and almost as if she didn’t quite belong in this world. Everyone always wanted to protect her and it got so bad at times that his mother didn’t go into town often anymore. She stayed on the farm and the others took the lists of what she needed and got them for her.
And now the flowing slight framed picture that was his mother was speckled with bits of straw and manure. “Mom!” he dropped the pitch fork and ran the two steps to try and brush off the straw and sticky manure.
She brushed away his hands, “Jake it is ok, I startled you.”
And somehow he blinked and she was clean again, almost as if the manure and straw had never flown across the stall. But yet as he turned his head the pitch fork was still vibrating in the straw from where he had dropped it.
“Mom uh.” He started to say, he wasn’t much taller than she was but yet he felt like a giant beside her. Maybe it was because of the constant chores that were required to run the farm or else it was something different, and somehow that felt like it was the better reason. But…There were too many buts already.
“No Jake, you need to know and last night that was a valid question, and I have been expecting it but not way.” She put her hand on his arm, “Come I will show you.”