Leta was immersed in another thought by this time. Her mother’s words were coming back to her. “Mother, do you think it would have been different for Glenna if Dr. Welch hadn’t have died? If Father would not have needed to ride so far for a doctor?”
Abby was just slightly past the point of contemplating possibilities. “I believe it was Glenna’s time to join our savior, Leta. It does no good to question God’s plan.”
Leta knew the moment of closeness was passing, she chose to think her thought without sharing. Dr. Welch was her mother in law’s first husband. If he had not died, she would not have married Henry, if she would not have married Henry, she would have never had Charley, without Charley there was no LaVerne and there was no little girl in a yellow sundress. However, with Dr. Welch, her sister might have lived. Her mother might have been a different person, one who laughed a little more and worried about the Godly scales of justice and right a little less.
She began to spin scenarios in her mind, before deciding that in this case, it really did not do to spend too much time thinking about it. God’s plan was the one that dictated the circumstances. Her mother was ….. oh, she could barely think the words without some rebellion long established in her soul rising up. Her mother was …. right. Oh so hard to think those words without almost a visible shudder. It made her throat begin to close to think on it too long. She felt uncomfortable in her skin to think that no matter what her own opinions were that she was never far from her mother’s edicts. She stood to attempt to rid herself of these uncomfortable thoughts. She poured herself more tea, stirred the fire and reached for some bread to eat with a spoonful of apple butter. She placed a hand on her ample hip as she chewed quietly.
“It was hard to lose you, Mother.” She said the words quietly, and they surprised her when they came out. She’d only barely consciously thought them and they popped out. She would have never said them if she had the chance to bite them back.
Abby turned around in her chair to gaze at her daughter. This daughter who was headstrong, faithful and independent. This daughter who, of her three to reach adulthood, had done so the least scarred. This daughter who she felt the least amount of guilt over. Her sisters …. Abby shut out the thought. She was not strong enough to think of her other daughters this morning. Was not sane enough in mind to ask for the strength to think of her other daughters, she corrected herself. “It was not easy to leave you. But it was time. The cancer was too much, I needed to rest. Death was the only way my soul was going to be clean. There was ….” she stopped here. There were things to say, but all these years closer to the Mother than ever and she still was not ready to say some things out loud. She was not ready to be forgiven some actions, and was not ready for some conversations that would eventually come. She simply turned back in her seat and returned her attention to the sock in her hands. The sock that never seemed to be done. Like a dream where you tried to get dressed, but with every piece of clothing you put on, it seemed another one had found its way back to the floor. A dream of frustration, that was how this sock seemed.
Leta shuffled back to her seat, rearranged the pillows and settled her bulk into it again. She wiped a hand across her face, she was becoming warm in the room with the fire and the sunshine. The breeze did not quite reach where her chair sat. She picked up the corners of her apron and began to flap them to increase the breeze.
The women sat in a barely uncomfortable silence, with only the flapping of the apron and the breaking of a stick in the fire to make any noise. Until the sound of a raspy cough and a scrape of a cane on the floor began to emanate from the back hall of the house.