“That child is incapable of trust.”
There is damning silence again, noted only in the timing of her pulse thudding against her ears and across the top of her head. It feels like she will strain everything, both stretching out to hear and scrunching up small to disappear. She wants them to talk, to hear what they say, and she wants it to be quiet and stay quiet and for nobody to ever raise their voice again. Ever. She wants a room with a big tree and red tinsel and a present underneath just for her.
She wants the light up Santa in the yard so desperately her teeth bite hard into the sides of her cheek.
“It’s Christmas next month.” When the words do come back, it’s him that speaks. “I can’t bring her to my family like this. She’ll make them think we terrorize her.”
There’s a sound, a small soft pattering of footsteps and small, too skinny Emma who sometimes needs to be told things more than once, does not need an explanation to understand that there is a dramatic shift.
“So you’ll fly without me.” It comes out like a trilling laughter, a casual remark, but Emma has never heard Nancy’s voice stumble and break like this before. “I’ll stay here with her.”
But there is no room with a tree, not for Emma, and no Santa. Light up or otherwise.
Freckle faced Bert speaks the truth.
“No.” His voice rumbles past her hands, into her eardrums and all the way down her spine. “This isn’t working. She needs help, Nancy, more help than we can give her. Don’t be selfish now. Let people more qualified do their job.”
“Please.” And Nancy, sweet voiced Nancy with the soft brown hair and ponytail with the kind blue eyes, Nancy that Emma loves but has never hugged, Nancy who doesn’t care and loves Emma anyway, Nancy is crying. “Please don’t do this.”
“It’s her or me, Nancy.”
Little as she is, Emma knows she is never picked first. (x)