Brittle

Mama died a year after Jeremiah and I wed.

Her dense black hair became fine, and you could see her scalp through the weed garden it had become. Her soft brown hands, always strong, looked brittle and bleached. There was a dryness inside her, something that drank all her color and fleshiness. It happened so fast, a person couldn’t see it right away. But even after a week apart, I noticed it, how the sickness crept up on her and then pounced.

We both pretended that the other didn’t know what was happening.

You can’t change the color of the wind no more than you can change the color of a person’s sickness,” she said, and that was the only time we came close to it.

If she could see me now, so full of blood colors and heat, I wonder what she’d think.

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