TITLE: WHERE THE DOVES FLY
GENRE: Young Adult
Mama comes home when it’s dark outside, the sun fallen beyond the forest outside our window. Krzysztof is asleep in his crib, full after drinking a bottle of powdered soy milk. My stomach clenches—the milk was old, and I worry that it might make him sick, but our father doesn’t give us enough zlote to buy sufficient groceries. He doesn’t care, too drunk during the nights and too overworked during the days. We spread the money among bare necessities and then use the rest for canned fruit and vegetables for Krzysztof. Not enough for Mama or me to be healthy.
I watch Mama come through the front door of our apartment. She sets her basket on the floor under the hanging jackets and then stumbles into the kitchen, barely able to stand after a long day of working as a laundress.
"Tata hasn’t been home yet,” I say. I’m angry now—his late homecoming can mean only one thing: he’ll be drunk and he’ll be vicious. I feel the bile rise up in my throat at the thought of another beating and the muscles along my shoulders tighten.
“Krzysztof’s in bed?”
She stands at the sink and runs water into a pot for her tea. “How was school?”
“Like always.” I return my gaze to the homework in front of me. It’s difficult to concentrate on the scribbles on my paper. When Mama’s spoon clatters on the counter upon setting it down, I jump.