Challenge theme: Winter and/or steam
Love's austere and lonely offices
Winter. Flu season. They've all been sick with it, but Shannon and Davey most of all. Seven and bone-tired, he's been up at the kettle all night.
He stumbles back to the kids' room. Two beds for six of them. His small hands scalded, he pours the boiling water into the pot by the side of the bed. Watches the steam rise.
In the kitchen, his father asks, "You been at this all night?"
Eyes down. "Yes, sir."
An old face swirls with love, pain, decision. "We can't afford the gas, boy."
Lindsey watches the last of the steam die.