The last one

It was a surprise. The sting of the knife was shocking and I pulled away. I stared as a thin red line appeared on the tip of my thumb, the same red as the tomatoes I was slicing. I stared at it, waiting to feel something, but all I felt was relief.

My daughter visited her kindergarten class today. She’s used to being in charge. She dutifully visited all the stations that were set up in the classroom, found her cubby and her mailbox, decorated her visor precisely so, with all the colors. She asked to meet her teacher, chatted with her. You could see she wanted to connect. She’s better with the social niceities than I. They rode the bus around town, no tears. Not hers or mine. She tells me she doesn’t mind leaving her preschool friends, she talked to the girl who sat next to her on the bus.

She will be the last. Unless by some miracle I convince my husband to become a foster parent, she will be the last child I send off to school. The tip of my thumb is sticky now, but still I feel nothing. I hold a paper towel on it to stop the bleeding, somehow continuing to slice the tomatoes.

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