Sister's Contribution

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A clatter, as she tripped on her numb leg and upset the positioning of her eggshell white porcelain on the platter. She managed to hold the pieces on the plates still with a grin, shut the door to the toolshed and went up the dirt path to the house..

There were already footsteps in the hall as she put all the plates, cutlery, coffee cups and napkins in the right positions on the table. First entered her oldest brother, unequivocally silent and careful, as he slowly lifted his trapper hat and dropped it on the dusty floor. Secondly, the middle brother shambled in, still with mud on his pants. At last, when lunch was already served, the youngest and tallest brother walked in bearing a great smile.

She stood at the counter and held her arm as her brothers ate their lunch. There was a hectic slurping and flailing about with the pieces on the plates. Clearly, this was not a time of conversation as the only sound you would hear would be hawkings, 'Mmms' and munching. At times, pieces would fall out of their open mouths and onto the clean tablecloth.

When the silent brother finished, he took his cap and left as he had entered. The second brother also left his plate in its place and sighed. She noticed wood chips on the floor after his steps. "Back to the saw." the youngest brother said contentedly without looking at his sister, and scraped his last pieces of food into the garbage bin with one swift move. After he had left she stood by the counter, watching the garbage bin as if its contents were still alive.

Next day not only did he say one thing but two; "There's an awful lot of tools in the hall."

He dropped a metallic device on the counter next to her and sat down with his brothers. She snubbed him off, telling him to mind his own business. The youngest brother chuckled and scraped the fat off his plate onto the oldest brother's, who would then slurp it. "Remember sister, that we are supporting you."

Sister turned her head, saddened and hurt. She felt something gnawing at her belly, normally well-rounded. While the brothers dug into their lunch in silence, Sister examined the metallic device which had a thick but delicate handle and a thin oval blade. A remnant of the past.

Thursday, and lunch was served disorderly. Sister had to force herself with shaky hands to dry all the cutlery and porcelain she had carried through the rain. She put her weight against the counter, panting and resting her weak leg. Her brothers walked in with a mechanical fashion, recognizing neither her or the disorder on the table. In the middle of lunch however, the youngest brother exclaimed, "Huh, this piece is a little chewy." without looking up from his plate. Sister had to stop herself, her face turning red. She could not stand up for herself when her legs barely carried her weight.

Realizing her own predicament led her to decide that Friday was the final day. She did most of her usual duties in the gray morning despite the pain. At 11:00 a.m. she put eggshell white coffee cups, plates and cutlery on a platter. After some thinking, she added the sharp tool on the counter. For the last time, she limped toward the toolshed to contribute with a piece of herself.

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