Wow…this is powerful for such a short story.
They seemed like accidents at first: Jacob’s heel in the soft tissue of her diaphragm, Harley’s head bouncing off her cheekbone. Perhaps I was tickling them too hard, Stella mused as she catalogued her new bruises after putting the boys to bed.
What parent didn’t have an inventory of accidental injuries inflicted by their offspring? Stella sometimes talked about them with the other moms and dads at the park: a black eye from a pitched ball too swiftly returned, a rolled ankle from a clumsy bump on the stairs, a pinched finger from a falling toy-box lid. After each story, the parents would laugh together in a reassuring way. Isn’t it funny, what these children do to us?
But the further the boys got from toddlerhood, the more calculated these mishaps seemed to be. Like Harley waiting for the exact moment her index finger landed on the jamb…
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