Debbie Country.
And the bath tub has feet, she remembers that part very clearly, actually. Maybe not the rest of it, maybe everything else got clouded over and kind of withered before she could take much more away from it. Or she did that on purpose, it was anyone's guess (though hers was something of a combination of the two.) She did remember that it turned over quickly, all ways -- and took longer than the last time, it wouldn't be the last one and of course Ro'd wish that maybe they would just stop sometimes. If only because the world was jumbled enough for everyone - and as if the lesson needed any more pounded into her head than any other time - sometimes love just wasn't enough, was it.

Most of her days were odd blurs anymore, she never really thought she'd have these sorts of days. Not that it was anything negative or bad, just different. It was a very, very different direction. The new schedule for the ten little fingers and toes that were still new and pudgy and made points at her earrings and curls - (finding that when this happened, she'd catch herself going I love these earrings that nobody loves but me -- and now maybe you to the two big blue eyes in silly voices as she'd hope for the giggle or gurgle from the accompanying tickle). These were already moments that were feeling small, the ways that his hours to her anyway, seemed to already become shorter and shorter as their time together went on - of course, she knew he wasn't four yet. She knew there was lots to still experience, but these small tiny seconds that would just be theirs, these were probably already drawing to a quick close. But such is the nature of all things, when you get right down to it.

When he napped, when there was time (which had become a very fine focal point for her in the past few months -- where it went, who took it all, how she used it and with who she wanted to use it with) she told him stories, already asleep in her arms. She told him about where she used to live and how there had been a tiny dog with rabbit ears that she got to walk with on Saturdays if she'd got up early enough, about the little boy who lived down the street who'd walk home from school with her - and in the rain, he always wore his loudest shoes, which was very important, because if you wore your loudest shoes -- you could stomp on the hard street and in the puddles and it would scare all the monsters away, there were all sorts of monsters on their street - but she always felt very safe when she walked in the gutter puddles with him. How she was almost always the second or third swan, princess or fairy in her recitals and how his baba always made a face like she was sucking on a lemon when she got the news. About all the times that his papa would take her out of school to go up the coast to fish and play, how many times she'd seen him pull a fish hook from his thumbs.

These were the nice things, these were the ideas and little half truth daydreams that could be stored away for later.

She told him lots of things, lots of nothings, secrets and the things she'd hope she wouldn't forget about in the next day - and she'd apologize afterward because she was sure he didn't want to know about those things. All the things that pricked from her brain to mouth, all the things in the world to learn and grow with and she was complaining about what to do about dinner or the wall, or if the dog needed a bath, when she was going to bite the bullet and actually go back to work, if she was going to go and try to do that other thing - that other thing was, admittedly, much scarier. But that happened. She'd tried to keep the sadder things away from their conversations, but sometimes they popped up. Sometimes she found herself laying on the sofa with the television on very low or off in the right-before evening, evening and they both had lazy eyes and there were things that she told him that she hoped he would never have to find out about besides her stories or his friends, and wasn't that selfish? Wasn't that terrible. And didn't she ramble, she knew she did. (These talks almost always ended with a very whisper soft don't tell your father - not that she thought he would, but.)

Natalia, however, did not. I'm adjusting - they were the right words, although how well or how far was not something up for discussion or anything she was going to just give away freely. There were harder things to be lived with, through, and if she pretended otherwise it would leave a terrible aftertaste. But few things in any life made her feel as lost or important or depressed or loved or empty as this tiny little thing had, and that was kind of amazing. She thoroughly enjoyed 3am now, not left with her own thoughts in the dark and the quiet, pretending to be asleep for everyone else, no. Now she had long walks down the short upstairs hall, someone else to focus on.

"And that is why you don't technically have an uncle," she mused with a soft smile just edging at the corner of her mouth, "but that's not ever anything you have to tell your father."