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The Silent Glades
No Laughing Matter
I love mashed potatoes, and Chris’s mom makes the best. No one was watching so I decided to eat all that was left in the bowl. When I looked up from my plate, they were all laughing, Mom, Dad, Chris, his mom and his sister Brandy. Brandy was laughing so hard she almost fell out of her chair.
“What?” I signed to Chris.
“Nothing,” he signed back, but he was laughing hard too, so hard that his hands were shaking.
I hate that! I hate not knowing what’s going on. Mashed potatoes or not, I’d had enough. I stomped out the kitchen door, slamming it as hard as I could. I felt it slam. I couldn’t hear it, but I knew it was loud. That’s what loud feels like.
Chris came after me. “Nick, it really wasn’t important,” he signed, making the “really” sign big and slow.
Maybe it wasn’t, but I would have liked the chance to figure that out myself. I swatted him away. He shrugged and went back to his supper and our families, and I sulked as far away from the house as I dared in this strange place that was to be my new home.
Our house stood on a hummock, a higher place in the Everglades that was dry and solid enough to build on. It was almost completely surrounded by an ocean of saw grass interrupted occasionally by a scrub pine or a stand of palmettos. Grassy water shone silver as new aluminum foil and was so bright I had to shield my eyes. In the distance, a blue heron stood on spindly legs, its neck bent like a shepherd’s crook. Giant popcorn clouds filled the clear, blue sky, and the water smelled like eggs boiled too long.
“Silent Glades” needs a publishing home.
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