Young Lucas sat at the kitchen table. He was eating from a bowl of Cheerios while his mother was making pancakes. Her light brown hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail, and she held the house phone between her ear and her shoulder.
His blue eyes lit up as she flipped a pancake in the pan with one hand. He smiled wide and somehow his mom sensed it, turning around to smile back.
Lucas’s Nana joined him at the table, sitting with her newspaper and coffee the way she always did. She looked good. Her face seemed brighter today.
A small stack of American Sign Language books rested on the table. His mother talked to the person on the phone (probably Aunt Jenna), saying today she would start teaching Lucas sign language. Once he learned it, he would be able to talk with his hands. Most adults just didn’t know what to do with a hearing kid who was mute. Her voice sounded calming and hopeful; the way it always did.
Aunt Jenna said something and his mom frowned, her shoulders slumping. “I know; I miss her, too. Lucas has been the bravest little soldier since his Nana passed away.” She paused, and then continued, “That’s why I’m glad I get to teach him sign language. It’ll give us both a nice distraction. And I think it will help him to better express his feelings.” She slid a pancake onto a plate and added more batter to the pan.
Lucas frowned. His mom had been so sad since Nana passed away. Didn’t she see she had breakfast with them every week?
His mom went over and took the coffee cup from the table.
“I keep leaving her coffee and newspaper on the table out of habit. I swear, Jen,” she said. Her voice cracked, and she dabbed her eyes with the back of her hand. The coffee was poured into the sink, and Nana frowned.
‘I guess I’m the only one who can see you, Nana,’ Lucas thought.
His dog, Pecan, scampered into the kitchen, wagging his tail. He sniffed at the cereal bowl, trying to get some Cheerios, then he sniffed at Nana’s chair. She reached down to pat him on the head, and the cheerful pup wagged his tail and barked.
Lucas giggled his silent giggle. ‘Well, I guess I’m not the only one,’ he thought.