This is the first little bit of a sub-story, some back story that I wrote as part of my Work-in-Progress. There’s much more.
Asbe pretends to be asleep as Uvi creeps toward her. Father won’t let them sleep in the same bed, says it’s not right. So, as soon as Uvi wakes, he sneaks into bed with her. Every day he tries to trick her. He tries so hard to be quiet, wanting to scare her or maybe surprise her, but he has all the grace of a baby bear.
With her eyes closed, she pictures him getting nearer, can hear each tip-toed step across their bedroom’s rugs, first his football rug and then her Winnie the Pooh rug. She can hear his soft intake of breath as his excitement builds, feels him climb up onto her bed. She pretends to roll over in her sleep facing him so that he doesn’t have to crawl over her. Last time, scrambling over her, his knee went into her belly making her nearly pee on herself.
She waits until he’s poised, kneeling on the bed beside her, waits until she feels his warm breath on her face. He has done this a thousand times, yet he is still surprised when she opens her eyes and whispers in their secret language, “<Caught you.>”
Uvi falls down on the bed beside her and laughs. She loves the sound of his laughter. So she reaches her hands out and tickles him until they are both wiggling and giggling, quietly.
After tickling is over, they snuggle together, Uvi wrapping his arms around her, both relishing the moment. Once Father is aware they’re awake, they will have to be separate. It feels unnatural to be separate, but even at age five they know to obey Father.
“” Uvi says.
Asbe holds up her hand showing five fingers. “”
She hugs him close. “<Hu-huh, our birthday.>”
“<What we do today?>”
Uvi pushes her away and clambers his way to his knees, sensing the air like a dog. ““
“<I hope they’re blueberry.>”
“<Me too. Birthday pancakes.>” Falling back onto the bed facing her, he laughs as if it’s the funniest joke he’s ever heard and then slaps his hand over his mouth.
Asbe puts a finger to his lips, reminding him to be quiet.
She tugs the blanket over him. “<Maybe the park?>”
He smiles, his eyes closing. “<Maybe a party.>”
She pulls him closer, breathing in the scent of sleep sweat on his jammies and the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo that Mommy uses on both of them, and allows her eyes to close as well, allows herself to feel how natural it is to have Uvi beside her. Just for a couple of minutes.