it's hard to see the pain behind the mask

She closes her pencil in her workbook and closing her eyes she puts her head in her hands. Her mother shouldn’t be home this early. The clock reads 4:07, and her mother doesn’t come home until 5:45. ’I’m in so much trouble.’ Tears splash onto the cover of her workbook, the soft material catching tear drops it’s seen before.

Dinner isn’t ready, her homework isn’t done. The house isn’t cleaned to perfection. ‘Momma is going to be extra mad. But maybe she’s better, maybe things will be okay because she didn’t go there.’ She puts her hand on her chest, feeling the rhythm of her heartbeat, hoping with all her strength.

“Liabelle!” Her mother yells from the kitchen. Silently she walks out into the hallway, head down.

“Yes momma?” She asks timidly.

Her mother’s lips purse and she stares at the empty kitchen and the un-swept house. “Why isn’t dinner ready? Why isn’t this house spotless? And I bet your homework isn’t even done, is it missy.”

Belle knows her mom’s questions are rhetorical. She’s know to be silent.

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