Juggling school, earning money and taking care of her family was starting to catch up with her. So when she heard about another kid in school taking a few days off for vacation. Lyric realized that she could easily forge a note and take some time off herself.
Spending time with Cora and Anderson was exactly what their little family needed. Lyric worried that they were spending too much time focused on what they had lost.
Cora and Anderson were growing up fast. They were both learning so quickly. When Cora figured out the different shapes and Anderson figured out how to go on the potty on his own the joy was real.
In fact there were times when Lyric thought that they had to have a magical tutor hiding somewhere in the trees, or climbing out of the sea. Apparently it only came out when she wasn’t looking. Either way the speed at which they picked up new things was astounding.
Cora, or Little Monkey as Lyric liked calling her sped around the mostly empty lot running and climbing on everything she could find, only taking small breaks to eat. It was hard to get her to pause for flashcards. Lyric did what she could, when she could catch up to her.
Anderson was her Little Dreamer lost in thought most of the time. She wondered what he saw as he played with his toys. He always seemed so happy about whatever it was dancing in front of him. Occasionally she could get him to do something besides dream.
There was one other mystery besides the amazingly fast way that her brother and sister were learning. The only clue she had oddly enough, was the trash. She would go to sleep too exhausted to move most nights. Planning to pick up the dishes in the morning when she would have more energy.
Only to wake up with all of the dishes gone and the trash can filled to overflowing. She was awake enough to notice it the second day she had off from school while eating her breakfast. While part of her was happy to have the help. The question of where the help was coming from made her a bit leery. Too much bad had happened too quickly in their lives for her to trust that it was something truly good happening.
That night once she got Cora and Anderson to sleep she carefully gathered the dishes and trash. Hoping to prevent whatever was obsessed with their trash from showing up while she slept. A quiet chuckle in her ear accompanied by a waft of her mother’s perfume startled her into dropping the trash with a surprised yelp. Looking around for the cause of the noise and smell she tried to tell herself it couldn’t be real. Tried to stop the racing hope in her heart. She had watched her mom pass that horrible night.
The details were still vivid in her mind. Lyric knew she was gone permanently. Not seeming to care for her logic her ears heard the chuckle again. While her eyes told her cynical mind to hush because there, in front of her, stood her mother. Afraid that she would not stay Lyric began talking rapidly about everything, anything that had happened since her mom had died. What Anderson and Cora had learned and their seeming genius. How school was going for her, their difficulty getting plumbing, the mystery of the filling trash can.
At first her mother’s ghost had simply stood there watching Lyric prattle on about everything she could think her mom might possibly want to know. Only when Lyric paused on a slight gasping breath did Deanna finally speak.
To reassure Lyric that she had been the one taking care of the trash. It was with great, slightly hysterical, humor that Lyrics confusion passed.
It all seemed so wonderful. Her mom had also been helping out when the kids were restless at night. Teaching them late into the night while Lyric slept away her exhaustion. Geniuses they were not, simply well tutored.
Apparently Cora could see her much more easily than Anderson. He seemed happy when Deanna was around but never talked to her or looked directly at her. “Do you think it is because he is mad at me for leaving?” Deanna wondered her voice slightly softer than it had been in life. Lyric quickly reassured her telling her what had happened with Grim and Anderson the night her mother had died. Nodding she agreed that must be the reason that he could not see her.
Too soon the sun came up. With its rays passing through her mom’s ghost she faded from Lyric’s sight. At first Lyric had a moment of slight panic. However her mom had told her that she would see her again soon. That knowledge brought pure happiness and hope that she had not felt in a long time bubbling merrily up into Lyrics heart. It was so nice to realize she was not as alone as she had thought.