I noticed that what was supposed to be just a few days of road closures was dragging on for months. Almas was suppressing her frustration well, not that her or Gage could do anything about it. Neither of them worked with the police force anymore, so we had no way to find out what was happening at city hall. The daily leaflets didn’t say much of anything and in fact had shrunk to a single page flyer. Baako was being a good sport about not getting to go to school like promised, he was even helping out with the dishes which I appreciated I just didn’t have as much energy as I used to.
Gage enjoyed spending his down time teaching Brava how to talk. If I tried to talk to him he avoided me. Brava seems eager to learn everything Almas and Gage taught her, but Biff dragged his heels and made as much of a fuss as possible. I don’t understand him, at times it seems like he does it on purpose to make others miserable.
Baako seemed determined to make up for Biff’s stubborn crankiness and went out of his way to play with, hug, and help feed his siblings. Then one day he did something I had not expected and asked Almas if he could play with her art easel. She looked at the abandoned painting on it and told him that there were a lot of rules that went with it. Baako promptly asked her what they were.
The big primary rule she said was to never finish a painting, always scrub the board clean and use both sides. She seemed a bit sad as she explained that there was no place to hang paintings, we weren’t allowed to keep any on the property, nor was there a market around town for paintings. Baako looked very sad when he heard the rules, in the end he declared he didn’t care he still wanted to paint. Almas gave him her blessing to use the easel.
Almas would stop what she was doing to watch Baako, whenever he would spend time at the easel. I overheard her telling Gage that it was a shame that there was no market for paintings, she thought that Baako was a natural with his use of the few paints she had brought home.
Before we knew it Badr was school age as well. Almas hugged him and said she hoped the school bus would show up for him and Baako soon. Not sure how but his leaflet bundle always seemed to be just a bit sloppier in the mornings than mine or Baako’s especially when he fussed so much about how that had to be tied just so, Badr was decidedly eccentric.
After a lot of discussion between Almas, Gage and myself it was finally decided floor space for people to sleep was far more important than keeping the highchair from our childhood or the spare table and chair that Almas had dragged home at the start of her career. Gage told us of how frustrated he was at work how he would work twice as hard as the younger workers but he was still not getting promoted, raises yes promotions no. Almas was still frustrated by the lack of buses to take Baako and Badr to school. We taught them all we could, and encouraged them to play with the chess table. Almas felt like there were gaps in what we knew and what they would need to know that only the school could fill in.
The days were alternating between crawling by and flying by. Almas focused on the children especially Brava.
It struck me one afternoon that as cramped as the house was and as underfoot as everyone was when one person or another was trying to do something we all had been handling it fairly well so far. I wondered how long this pleasantry would last before nerves started fraying and people, especially the children, started fighting with one another. I really hoped the school buses would show soon. If they delayed much longer they would be picking up all four children instead of two.