Meredith hugged her knees and watched the black ants on the ground make their way over twigs and pebbles. She watched them and listened to the soft night breeze blow through the leaves. It would be difficult for Ma’s cousins to try and raise both of those twins at once. This way of life couldn’t go on without Pa.
It had gotten dark.
After crawling out of the lilac bush, Meredith pulled a few leaves out of her hair and walked back to the house. She didn’t stop in the kitchen where Henry was timidly washing the dishes. The twins were pushing water across the floor, calling it “mopping”, and Fanny was playing Peek-a-Boo with Claire. Meredith knocked softly on her mother’s bedroom and opened the door.
Her mother was lying on the bed, hugging Pa’s old pillow.
“Ma,” Meredith said. “I’m sorry.”
Ma was silent. She tried to rub her eyes real casual-like, pretending that she hadn’t been crying.
Meredith took a deep breath. “I’ll go.”
Ma rolled over to look at her, forgetting her tear-stained face.
“I’ll go to St Louis and stay with Cousin Lucy. You can send the twins with me. That way they won’t be separated. Henry and Fanny will help you out with Claire.”