Thank you so much for coming. Don't forget to go back to Tuesday Tales and read the excellent stories there. Maggie's story continues this week.
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The farthest room was a tiny one. It was a large closet his dad had had fashioned into an art studio for his mom.
When he was little, he’d sneak in so quietly no one knew he was there. He’d look at all the paintings, chalks and watercolors is mother painted.
Even when he was little, he didn’t touch anything. He knew if he did, he’d be banished. Just being in that room, he felt his mother’s presence, her joy, her warmth, her love.
Now he was older. So he picked up a piece of chalk and found a pad of paper. He sat cross-legged on the floor and began to draw.
Maggie had discovered his hiding place, but never gave him away. Since the boy did no harm, she protected his secret. Maggie and John had retreated to their quarters when the quarrel began. But when it simmered down, the usual way –with Anne retreating to the bedroom in tears, Maggie went hunting for Penn.
She opened the door to the studio, soundlessly.
“Whatcha got there, my boy?”
Penn jumped. He turned to face her, trying to hide the pad behind his back.
“Nothing,” he lied.
“Come on now. Give it here.” She motioned.
He stiffened, but handed over the drawing. She looked at it and at his dirty hands.
“Don’t touch your clothes, son. This isn’t half bad.”
“It’s a dog. A shaggy dog. Wish I had a dog, Maggie,” the boy blurted out.
“And a mighty fine dog it is,” she said, taking his hand.
She led him to the bathroom to wash up, then tucked the picture under her arm.
“It’s not finished.”
“Let’s find a place for it in your room, then.”
He nodded. She took him to the playground while Mr. and Mrs. made up in the bedroom. After dinner, she joined John in their rooms.
“Boys an artist, like his mum,” she said, unbuttoning her blouse.
“Really? That ought to bust up his dad more than baseball.” John hung up his jacket.
“He’s good, too. Got talent. Kinda raw, but with a few lessons.”
“Don’t even breathe a word of it, Mags.”
“I know,” she said, pushing down her skirt. “Mister wouldn’t like it. Gotta be business.”
He patted her behind. “Fancy a tussle?”
She grinned at him. “Best offer I’ve had today.”
“Better be the only offer you’ve had today.” John chuckled.
“Think the boy'll be an artist?” She pulled down the covers.
“Over his dad’s dead body. Slide down this way, girl.”