Friday, March 22, 2013

Life Lessons 25: Broken Pieces

Dani stared out the window at the murky clouds hiding the sky. It was a dreary spring day, and there had been nothing but clouds and rain all day. A rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance, although Dani hadn't noticed a flash of lightning, not surprising considering how much her mind had been drifting. Dani couldn't spot one living thing that wasn't rooted to the ground. That was one thing Dani found fascinating about nature: how every single animal seemed to know exactly when they should seek shelter from a coming storm. If only humans would pay that much attention to what was happening around them. Those weather people, who were wrong as often as right, wouldn't be needed.

Of course, there was a lack of humans outside as well. A small group of kids could usually be counted on to be running around at any given point in the day, but today they had apparently taken their playing indoors. This included Dani's brother, who had brought his best friend Colby over several hours ago. They were currently doing something in Nickel's room while being suspiciously quiet. Her parents had made themselves comfortable in the house today. Dani knew that her father was in the next room. He'd decided that cookies were just what they needed to cheer them up on this gloomy day. Katniss had followed him into the kitchen. Dani could usually expect to find her mother close to her father's side if she wasn't in the woods.

Dani hadn't even realized that it was odd for her parents to be almost attached at the hip so much until Jas pointed it out to her. They'd only been seven at the time, and Jas had asked innocently why her parents never seemed to leave each other. After asking what her friend meant, Jas had told Dani that her own parents were often going places without the other, and Jas saw them together maybe a couple of hours a day. After hearing this, Dani had closely watched all of the other adult couples she knew, and she had discovered that her parents' seeming inability to function after long periods apart wasn't exactly normal. Of course, she'd learned more about the truth behind this, but she'd found it incredibly fascinating as a young child. She'd been convinced it was proof that her parents loved each other more than any other couple on the planet. Dani still believed this, even if it was naive of her. There was no way any other couple could beat her parents.

This thought made her move towards the kitchen. Dani was careful to quietly poke her head around the corner. Hopefully she would be able to observe her parents without them realizing she was there. She liked to catch them having little moments together sometimes. It made her daydream about having that same relationship with someone of her own some day, although she wasn't sure she could ever love someone as much as her parents loved each other.

Her parents were by the counter on the opposite side of the kitchen from the door Dani was peaking around. All they were doing was standing side by side as they worked on making some type of baked good. They were standing as close to each other as they could be without touching. Even with the lack of contact, Dani could tell how much the other's presence relaxed them from the look on their faces. Peeta had a small smile that Dani was used to seeing on his face whenever he was around anyone in the family. Her mom, as usual, had a straight face, but Dani had become very good at reading the expressions on her mom's face that others often believed to be all the same. Dani was one of the few people who would be able to tell you that her mother's face was as relaxed as it could possibly be at the moment. It was an expression that most people never got to see on Katniss.

It became more and more obvious to her the older that she got that her parents weren't exactly "fine" the way most people were. They were fine in the only way people who had been through what they had could be fine, but it most definitely wasn't the fine that Dani herself felt. There was constantly a part of her parents that most wasn't fine and never would be. Yet her parents seemed to be at their best and happiest when they were together. Dani was sure her and her brother had a similar effect on them, but Dani loved watching her parents together. They couldn't make each other whole again. That was impossible. But together they were able to tape the pieces back together as good as was possible. Dani noticed Peeta stealing a quick kiss before sticking a pan into the oven. Yes, Dani couldn't think of any couple more perfect than her parents.

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