Rosie an afterthought

Rosie isn’t looking at the camera. She and Nathan see someone walk past the door and it attracts their attention, just as their mother presses the button.

Joe is smiling, but tight-lipped like his son and they’re entwined, Joe not wanting to let go. It’s Rosie he feels secure about, knowing for sure that she’s his. Their dark skin, dark hair, funny teeth but Nate has none of these things. He’s as pale as the day he was born, stays out of the sun, burns too easily like his mother.

The boy’s eyes look dark as the shutter goes, as if he’s trying to belong, fit in to the foursome that never quite felt right.

His mother, Hannah, overcompensates; her focus on him, Rosie an afterthought.

Rosie sees how father and son are together and tries to replicate with her mother but she only feels ice where warmth should be.

Hannah’s tried. Since they were born she’s tried to love her children, but the feelings her mother had for her have skipped a generation. She knows the family is crumbling; Joe’s distant look these past few weeks, his shrug when she asks if something’s wrong. And she’s been missing money from her purse. She knows Nathan doesn’t spend the pocket money he’s given so it wouldn’t be him.

Rosie’s change of school hasn’t helped. She’s unsettled, distant, like in the photograph.

Hannah follows Rosie’s gaze out of the room and a figure appears at the door. A figure she thought she’d never see again, one to stir up old feelings, break hearts.

***

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