VI

Jacey quietly set the dishes on the table. In the corner of the room, Eva’s baby played. The stillness of the house, with both Heddwyn and [Eva’s husband], on the back porch seemed to surround her.

Eva had told her what she thought Heddwyn or herself could use, and then insisted that they come back for dinner. So, armed with a list of things that Heddwyn whispered was really not necessary, she found some balls of yarn, knitting needles and some material. Eva warned her that it was best if she made dresses now while she was in town, because it was much easier. Jacey had agreed completely, for it had been difficult enough for her to make the few she had. Then, also, Heddwyn wished to find a few things himself, so it had taken them a while to get back to Eva’s.

But for some reason, she kept thinking about Heddwyn during lunch. Much of her wished that he would be able to retire and just stay where it was safe. Not because she did not like it out there but because Jacey was finding what Eva said to be true–Heddwyn was happier in town. She had seen it already, how his eyes had began laughing and his face seemed softer more of time. But Jacey also had a feeling that something more came out in him during that time.

“Eva?”

Eva looked over. “Yes?”

“How many siblings did you have?”

“Why are you asking that?”

“Heddwyn said that four siblings died, but he could only remember three when I asked him at lunch.”

Eva searched her face. “He told you?”

“A… little. Yeah.”

“And he said four?”

Jacey nodded. “Why–do you look so surprised?”

“He… he hasn’t recalled our brother in years.”

Jacey blinked. “Your brother?”

Eva nodded and looked sad. “After Carissa was born, our parents pretty much said that was all the children we would have. Five children, four of them girls, was just too much. Then, suddenly, our mother was with child again and had a brother.” She smiled faintly. “Oh, he was spoiled rotten. Even Carissa spoiled him, and she was barely five. But Heddwyn did the most. Something in him came out with the little baby brother and he was as sweet and as loving as ever a brother was.”

Eva paused a moment and glanced out the window. “He was a year and a half when he died. Heddwyn hasn’t spoken of him since. I’m not even sure he remembers him sometimes, or if he completely blocked the memory of him from his mind. It’s always just been us four girls and him as far as he talks.”

Jacey paused.

Eva grinned. “I think you’re helping him, Jacey. It takes time, but it always does. If he told you want happened… that’s improvement.”

“I rather pushed him into it,” Jacey said with a laugh.

“No matter. He’s always brushed me off.”

“I do have the feeling that he is not telling me something. That there’s more. Like your brother.”

“There might be. Just wait for it though. It should come.”

Jacey nodded. “I don’t know whether or not to hope you’re right.”

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