Shining Sea

Shining Sea by Anne Korkeakivi Read Free Book Online

Book: Shining Sea by Anne Korkeakivi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Korkeakivi
the one who will be like their father.
    “A bowl of mush?” Luke says, looking up from his reading. “Why is there mush in the room where the bunny is going to sleep, anyhow?”
    He hastens to lie down over the lump the canteen has made in his mattress, to conceal it.
    “What’s mush?” Sissy asks.
    “Some gross thing Mom probably ate during the war when there was rationing.”
    “What’s rationing?”
    “What you should do with your questions.”
    Sissy purses her little mouth. Her red locks stick up in the air. “So you mean mush is like tapioca pudding?”
    “Exactly.”
    “Hey!” Mike says, marching into the room in his grocery-store shirt, making straight for his piggy bank. Clink-clink goes his tip money. His big brother is saving to buy a car for college. Patty Ann is supposed to be saving her tips for use at college, too, but their mom says she wastes it on buying sodas and hamburgers for her good-for-nothing boyfriend. Luke spent most of his last paycheck on books, including two novels by Kurt Vonnegut. “Why aren’t you listening to the game? The Dodgers are playing the Mets.”
    “That’s it, kiddo,” Luke says, dislodging Sissy. Baseball is one thing Luke and Mike never disagree about. Neither of them misses a game. “I’ll read the rest to you tonight before you go to sleep.”
    “You’re almost done!”
    “I’ll finish what I haven’t read after the game, and then I’ll read it all the way through again. Deal?”
    Sissy smiles and jumps up. For a three-year-old, Sissy knows how to drive a good bargain.
    Alone in the bedroom now, he extracts the canteen from under his mattress. The surface is smooth and silver in his hand, flat on two sides and rounded on the others, with small dents here and there where it must have banged hard against a Far Eastern rock or a ship deck. Only the chain securing the cap is rusted, a little bit along the seam where the curved top joins with the bottom.
    It was once in his dad’s hands. His dad lifted it to his mouth and drank from it. Other soldiers may have, too.
    “Aren’t you going to join your brothers listening to the game?” His mom stands in the doorway, watching him.
    He slides the canteen back under his pillow. His mom is always trying to get him to do stuff with the others.
    “Francis?”
    His mom’s dark hair bounces gently against her chin. She tips her head and smiles at him. He can almost imagine her stepping off the pier herself, throwing herself into the air, way above the water, her sudden grin, the toss of her head. She’d be mighty unhappy if she knew he’d done it, though. People have killed themselves jumping off the pier.
    “Okay, Mom.”
    He follows her into the living room, sprawling on the floor next to Luke. Mike is sitting on the sofa with Sissy stretched out beside him.
    By the third inning, his little sister has begun gently snoring. Even though it’s August, and warm, his mom lays a cotton blanket over her.
    “I can’t believe it!” Mike says when the game ends. Through the open window, they can hear the next-door neighbor cursing: The Mets beat Koufax! The lousy Mets! Son of a bitch!
    Sissy jumps up, pretending she wasn’t asleep, shaking her golden red sprouts of hair. She knocks over the framed photo of their family, that last one from Palm Sunday, his dad standing directly behind him with one hand on his shoulder, Sissy still in his mom’s tummy. He gets up onto his knees and rights it.
    Luke clutches a pillow to his stomach and groans. “Who is this new pitcher, anyhow? Tug McGraw? Who’s ever heard of him? ”
    “We’re going to hear about him now,” Mike says grimly.
    His mom shuts the living room window against the neighbor’s shouting. “You didn’t hear that, I’m sure.” She looks meaningfully at Sissy. “Dinner is ready. Where has Patty Ann gotten to?”
    “She’s not home yet?” Mike says.
    “Uh…duh,” Luke says. “Like she could have gone through to the girls’ room without your

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