Finding Home - Chapter 4
by Siobhan Fallon, Army spouse
“Aunty Val? Daddy?” June stepped into the room, holding out her doll. “Why are you fighting?”
Lucy hadn’t actually lied to her husband.
She just let him think what he wanted to think.
When Val had first showed up in New Orleans, Lucy sent Jim a brief e-mail:
Valerie appeared on Bourbon Street tonight, sopping wet, like some lost thing washed out of a drainage pipe. I imagine she will stay a day or two, just long enough to stir up trouble before going off on her merry way.
Jim’s reply was equally glib:
Hope your sister is long gone by now. Though I’m glad she came to see you, babe, especially if she was abjectly repentant about being a total misfit at our wedding. But knowing Val, she probably just penned mustaches on every picture of me, finished off our liquor cabinet, and left you more upset than when she arrived. I’m thinking Kabul was a friendlier place for me than at home with Val. So how’d it go?
Lucy had refrained from replying.
She e-mailed Jim, of course, her daily messages full of anecdotes about what little June had said and done. But she hadn’t mentioned that Val was not only still visiting, but officially living in the house Jim paid for. Weeks had gone by and still Lucy hadn’t admitted that her sister was there, yes, drinking her share of Jim’s top shelf whiskey, but also bringing June to the park every afternoon as well as staying up late with Lucy each night, telling tales of the mean streets and wild bars of Hot Lanta.
Not that she didn’t still drive Lucy crazy with the way she lazed around every morning, how she didn’t load the dishwasher properly, or hadn’t bothered to look at any want ads for a new job (or go back to school, which was what Lucy was really pushing).
But having her sister around helped fill up the loneliness that swelled in Jim’s absence. And Lucy, though she had been trying to figure out a good way to break it to her husband, couldn’t come up with the right words.
Today they were finally managing to do a Skype session, which they tried to every two weeks or so, depending on Jim’s schedule. It was always the highlight of their week, June and Lucy getting dressed up for their “date with Daddy.”
While they waited for his call to sound through the computer, Lucy let June affix twenty child-sized hair clips into her shoulder length blond hair, giving Lucy the look of dreadlocks gone terribly wrong.
“How are my girls?” Jim asked as soon as his face popped up on the computer screen.
“Daddy!” June jumped in front of Lucy, eclipsing her mother, trying to soak up every bit of her father’s precious attention. But Jim noticed Lucy’s hair anyway and his face opened into a huge smile. His words were one second behind the moving of his lips: “Let me guess, my June Bug has been playing stylist on Mommy again?”
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