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Sweltering summer days like these are Richmond’s favorite. Mother, in an effort to air out the house, opens every window and props every door. Warm breezes serve to cool the house and draw out the musty dank of winter.

Richmond sits near his mother Amelia at the kitchen table, short blond hair rustling in the breeze. He watches, swinging his feet, cup of ice water clutched to his chest as she peels potatoes. His eyes travel up to her temple, entranced by a bead of sweat rolling down her cheek to her jaw. Watches as she huffs and lifts her shoulder, turning her head to wipe it away.

She chats away with Richmond, telling him about Mrs. Finny next door and her prize roses, or Widow Edwards and the gentleman that comes calling on her these days. It’s not that Amelia gossips. She would never dare tell any of her women friends. Richmond just listens. It’s what he’s good at. He doesn’t judge nor talk about the things Amelia shares with others, for he doesn’t have friends to tell anyway. What he does do is sit, letting mother talk, for father doesn’t listen to her anyway.

Richmond’s sister Chelsea is playing in the back garden, screaming orders at some of the other neighborhood children. It’s obvious she enjoys leading and bossing, for she pushes Richmond around quite a bit. He’s an easy target, quiet and wanting nothing more than to please. Please his sister, his mother, and especially his father.

Father. Richmond Sr. He’s hardly ever home, but when he is Richmond is at his side asking questions or attempting to show him a drawing he’d finished. Father pays no mind. He’s so busy, always in the study, working and working. On the phone or out at the office. No time for the small boy. It doesn’t stop Richmond Jr. from trying.

When Richmond does interact with other children it’s usually girls. He prefers the softer way they speak, their tinkling laughter... the fabrics they wear. So much softer than his scratchy trousers. He likes to sneakily touch the hems of their skirts whilst they sit on the grass making daisy chains and titter away about nothing in particular. Again, he just listens. It is, after all what he’s good at.

Other boys his age are a mystery to Richmond’s six year old mind. All rough and tumble, scabby dirty knees, grass stained clothes. Pushing and shoving because that’s just what they do. Richmond doesn’t understand why they need to do this, only that he thinks it’s silly.