They were gone. That much was obvious. Most of their clothes, all of what little jewelry they had. Two of her grandmother’s best tablecloths, no doubt to hold the other things. A third tablecloth lay abandoned on an unmade bed, spread out, discarded probably because of the large mend near the center.
Aleta stood in the stillness. The sun came in through the windows and made motes of dust seem to sparkle as they floated aimlessly through the air in front of her face. This whole part of the house felt abandoned, as though it had been empty for a long time. But just this morning it had seemed too small to contain her girls and their laughter.
She might have guessed. Lately, the girls had giggled more and talked more often in whispers. But they had done this often enough, so why should Aleta have thought this was anything out of the ordinary? They were silly girls. They had been born silly. Their father had been silly. Handsome and smart and silly. And one day, he had taken it into his silly head to leave them. The girls were like him. But Aleta had chosen him, so maybe some of their silliness was hers.