Stale cigarette smoke dripped off every surface in the dimly-lit trailer, its yellow tinted even deeper by the sun filtering through the curtains. She shuffled slowly back to her bedroom as I settled my little ones on the floor with some toys.

cigarettes“Stay here and play, ok? Mommy will be down the hall for a few minutes helping our friend. Here are your toys. Don’t touch anything else. Do you understand?”

I stole a glance at them as I hurried down the hall after her. “Please don’t break anything,” I murmured. My footsteps echoed dull on the old carpet, exposing the cheap subfloor underneath.

She had removed the old bandage and cleaned her wound as well as she could. I dabbed gingerly at the angry raw skin, apologizing each time she winced.

Read the rest on Deeper Story, where I’m posting today.