Nor Brass, nor stone, nor books

Strawberries, by ShinsanBC on Flickr

“What are those? We don’t watch movies.”

“What?” Lianne asked, distracted. She was supposed to be sorting, and there was a pile of videos on her left — of Anne’s first birthday, Jake’s second … Christmas?

“Who’s Jake?” Lianne paused. Anne turned to look up at her, startled.

“Shh!” Anne hissed.

“What?” Lianne turned the dusty plastic case over, looking at the white reels on the back.

“Jake was my little brother, but he’s gone now. Mom doesn’t like it when you talk about him. Here, I’ll take those.”

Anne rummaged through the box of videos and pulled out the ones labeled with Jake’s name. She put them in the far bottom right of the box of yarns, underneath the hideous sticky macrame yarn and the orange polyester bundles – and shoved the yarns at the back of the basement shelf.

“Okay. I fixed it.” Anne sat down beside Lianne and put her head in her hands, curling up beside her. Lianne paused and brushed Anne’s hair back from her face. After a moment, she returned to the bin in front of her, sorting out the old home videos by age. Emma, Anne, Rory, Harry. Anne laid beside her and watched her work.

When Anne and Lianne walked upstairs, Cheryl was at the counter frantically chopping strawberries.

“What’s going on?” Lianne asked, as Anne lifted her little nose to peer over the counter.

“Anne!” Cheryl shrieked. “Get your nose away from the knife!” She waved the knife wildly while Anne quickly moved away from the counter.

“We’ll get our hands washed and then we can help if you need,” Lianne steered them both toward the stainless-steel sink.

Cheryl didn’t say anything, but pulled four oranges out of the fridge drawer and began chopping those as well.

“What are you making?” Lianne asked.

“Does it concern you?”

Shrinking towards the door, Lianne steered Anne out of the kitchen and into the living room to work on her grammar as Cheryl kept madly chopping.

The living room was large with two enormous couches in it, one a black leather thing with an l-shape, large and all-enfolding. The small blue one was easier to work from, and so Lianne and Anne sat together in front of the coffee table, and Anne asked to read her McGuffey’s Reader for Modern Homeschoolers.

She ran into bedroom for the book, and Lianne waited. When Anne walked out four minutes later, she had on a long apron, her ‘pioneer’ skirt, and with three readers in her hands.

Lianne raised her eyebrows and smiled. “Ready?”

Anne nodded and opened to page eighty-seven, reading a short sonnet by Shakespeare:

Since Brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality ‘oersways their power…

“What is oar… ‘oersways?”

Lianne peered at the reader. “Sways over…. top of. Has control over, I think.”

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?

“Huh?” Anne looked up. She pushed her play-bonnet away from her face, her nose still smudged with chocolate from the stale easter eggs she’d found in the basement. “Does it mean you can’t be pretty?”

“I dunno. Keep reading.”

O how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays?

A loud sound rang from the kitchen, as of metal hitting ceramic tile.

“Anne! Lianne! Come quick!!” Cheryl cried from the kitchen. When they rounded the corner, her arm was covered in blood.

[…to be continued. A short attempt at writing fiction].

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