Chapter 3.5 – Burdens

David arrives with Charlotte to find that Ali and his friends had already cleared out. The brawl had been scattered by an elderly couple who where in the park nearby, and heard the commotion. Mark and Ali had stopped fighting, but not before exchanging mutual threats.
Deirdre and Claire are unharmed, but shaken by the intensity of Mark’s fury in reaction to them being pushed around by Ali’s friends. Mark had surprised even himself. He hadn’t done any real harm aside from torn clothes and some nasty bruises. Had he been older or stronger, however, the outcome could have been very different.
David takes Charlotte home, then returns to the house with the kids. He doesn’t quite know what to say to his son, so he sends him off to talk with Ciara while he tries to piece together what happened from Deirdre and Claire. Ciara is relieved that the girls did not get dragged into the fight. She knows how fiercely loyal the three of them are to each other, but is still furious with Mark for letting his sisters get involved.
It takes considerable of self-restraint for her to not lay into Mark immediately. Her own experience as a child helps to keep her grounded. Her sister, Fiona, had always blamed her for everything that went wrong in their family. She never bothered to find out the truth before jumping to conclusions. So after taking a deep breath, the first thing she does is hug Mark and asks him if he is okay. It is what David had always done for her when they were young, and it always made her feel better.
That simple gesture is all Mark needed to begin unloading his youthful burdens. Ciara is amazed at the volume of stuff he had corked up. None of it seemed very big to her; mostly stuff that she would just shrug off. But evidently, it had been a big deal to Mark. Most of his unhappiness came from the way other people interacted with him, his sisters, and Charlotte.
It bugs him to no end that people make fun of the way Charlotte looks without getting to know her. Ciara watches as Mark’s face turns into a scowl when he mentions Ali. Based upon Mark’s description, this Ali kid is as despicable as they come. Ciara continues to listen as Mark purges his young mind of it’s troubles. When finished, he rewards her with a smile as big as she has ever seen from him. She swoons with joy when he hugs her and says she is even better than his grandma was at listening to him.
Mark apologizes to his parents and his sisters later during supper.  He had forgotten completely that tonight was his mom and dad’s birthday. His grandmother  had told him how his parents shared a common birthday, and how important the day was for both of them. He feels weird watching them blow out the candles, feeling bad for ruining their special day.
Later that night, in bed, Ciara talks to David about what Mark had told her. She quiets David’s worries that Mark is becoming some kind of thug, and asks him to spend more time with Mark, even if they just spend time fishing. She has realized, now that the girls are older, that Mark went from being the only child to the oldest of three. And the girls really did demand a lot more of their attention.
They end the night on a high note (as they often do), and settle in to sleep fairly late. A giddy smile finds its way to Ciara’s face just before drifting off. At first she attributes it to the wonderful compliment Mark gave her earlier after their talk. And while it was a truly flattering compliment, it is not the reason for her smile.
As the fog of sleep drifts over her, she instinctively rubs her belly somehow knowing that she and David have just increased the size of the Barmien family yet again.

3 thoughts on “Chapter 3.5 – Burdens

  1. Ciara needed that compliment, I think it reassures her that she has the capacity to be a wonderful mother despite her ‘bad luckness’. Im happy that Mark was able to unburden his worries and let them know what is happening than keep it bottled up even longer.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.