Saturday, August 29, 2009


The moment the little sister says, “Know what? Mom broke a plate there this morning,” I realize that I have just embedded a ceramic wedge into my heel.

I cry out and hop on one foot, grabbing my ankle and plucking the chunk of dinner plate from my muscle. There is a wince of pain and then a flow of blood poxing up the floor.

The big sister, who was once so small I had to help her up onto the toilet, catches me as I fall against the medicine cabinet. I’ve taken care of these children for fourteen years, but she got big when I wasn’t looking.

“Careful there,” she says, balancing me in one arm while extracting a Band-Aid from the cabinet with the other. She is now ten inches taller than I am, so it is easier for her to reach.

She pulls my foot up onto the counter and smoothes the Band-Aid over my heel. Then she grabs at some paper towels and erases my signature from the floor.

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