Two

Behind the door, hands clasped in prayer. Eyes lowered. Brown shoes, a pair, upon the threadbare mat. A cat – and, yes, a mouse, pattering past on feet so fast and dancer-light they do not rouse her from her trance.

Another door. A table set for two, piled with plump chips and bloody entrecôte. Damp petals in a bowl for fingertips; a cream-fleshed candle, crystal salt and – yes, a bulbous pepper pot. They stain their napkins red, scatter the flagstones with endless bread, leave at last for bed. But for the mother one door apart? No crumb, no dram, no thought.

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