Caroline folded the little pink dresses and placed them in the drawer. She gathered the pile of tiny socks and bibs and tucked them into a basket.

The bedoom was cast golden in the early morning sun.

Two canopied beds, side by side were made up with frilly yellow duvets. Gathered curtains of silk brocade framed the windows. Outside the summer breeze played in the trees and swayed two soft dolls that sat propped on the sill.

Caroline made her way down the spiral stairs to make breakfast.

She smiled sweetly at her twin girls. They waited patiently at the table while Caroline prepared two small bowls of fruit salad.

They loved fruit.

Carolina sat down wearily at the end of the table and sighed. She was happy as a mother, but her world seemed to close in on her. Day by day, she felt as if everything was slowly shrinking around her.

In the toasters' reflection, she brushed the long hair from her face. She told herself that she was way too young to look this worn. Thinking her sister might do her hair this week, she felt a little better. She tried a timid smile at the toaster, then sadly pushed the appliance away.

Even her eyes seemed grey.

She gathered up the bowls and placed them in the sink.

Lifting the girls from the high chairs, she carried them upstairs to their room. She dressed them in matching outfits and tied coloured ribbons around their blonde curls. They were ready to face the world.

Carefully, she placed them side by side in the stroller.

"Let's visit the park and corner shop, then we'll come home for a story and nap. How does that sound?"

Down the tree lined street Caroline breathed deeply the fragrant air as she made her way to the park.

With the girls settled on the swings, Caroline pushed them back and forth.

At the shop, a young man held open the door and greeted Caroline with a curious smile as she hurried in to buy milk and bread.

When she came out, she adjusted the visor on the pram to keep the sun shaded then headed back home.

That afternoon, as the girls napped, Caroline tidied her home. With the music playing softly, she strolled her way around, dusting listlessly.

In the living room, she picked up a photo of her husband and young son. She remembered that day. The young boy and his father were captured in a precious moment in time. Tanned arms around each other and the ocean in a blue shimmer spread out behind them.

Her eyes stung and she felt the searing pain across her heart, as if they had been taken yesterday.

Her husband and son Thomas had been killed in a car accident last year.

Fresh grief once again swept over her in waves as she sat very still, holding in the pain.

Thinking the girls might now be awake, Caroline pushed her tortured memories aside and climbed the stairs wearily.

"How about a nice story? Let's snuggle up with the pillows and read the story of the Prince."

Caroline lay on the couch downstairs with her girls on either side. Softly, she began to read the familiar story. She read it to them everyday and she knew the story by heart.

As the prince arrived to rescue the princess, Caroline's eyes became heavy. Mid~story she was fast asleep.

There was a quick rap on the door before it opened and Caroline's sister Jenna breezed in. Caroline and Jenna were twins, but Jenna looked so much younger than Caroline. A few times a week, she would check in on her distraught sister.

Today she was loaded with bags of groceries.

"Oh Caroline," she whispered when she saw her sleeping sister.

She removed the two dolls from either side and placed them on the table. She picked up the photo album that laid across Caroline's chest. It was filled with pictures of her lost husband and son.

With a sigh, Jenna carefully laid a blanket on Caroline, then began to put the groceries away.

December 14, 2019 18:42

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