Not in the eyes of roses seen
Lived hearts of love and evergreen
Not in the prickles of stems long gone
Live lovers loving love loving on and on
Only in petals ‘tween velvety cloak do live
Gentle wee lovelets petalling fastly on to give
In a blink they had moved clear across the country with nothing but a handful of record albums and the clothes on their backs. Everything and everyone they had ever known was gone. Okay, it wasn’t a blink but it sure felt like a blink to Joey, the second born triplet, who would celebrate his 12th birthday with his brothers in a prairie restaurant eating cereal out of mini cardboard boxes lined with wax paper to keep the milk from soaking through. It was one of the best birthday memories ever for Joey.
Janine was the only other sibling the boys had. She was older, they’d left her and her husband behind in Vancouver when their parents decided to move from the west coast of Canada to the east coast in an attempt to save their ever failing marriage from wounds old, wounds fresh and many new wounds still to come.
When their father left a year after arriving for Prince Edward Island with a new wife and a baby already on the way, the triplets and their mother remained in the two bedroom cottage by the Atlantic Ocean. Janine came to visit them the second Christmas and Joey knew she was worried about the kids because their father had already left… moving had not saved the marriage. It had not saved anything at all.
At thirteen the three boys stood slightly different heights but looked the same, their fair hair and blue eyes the Martin hallmark inherited from their handsome daddy. Joey, Jimmy and Jack they were named at birth with no middle names. Jimmy was quiet and took his time doing things. Jack was loud but didn’t like doing much of anything. Joey felt like he had to do everything he could to help their mother, a petite woman with a fire in her that could fuel several women. Her brunette hair set her apart from the boys but their freckles joined them all together and even as Joey reached for the brand new extension cord his mom had just purchased, their hands warmly joined in the love that kept them, altogether.
“For fucksake, the son-of-a-bitchin’ thing won’t jam in there. Those money grubbing bastards down at the hardware store are gonna get a piece of my mind. Goddamn motherfuckers. I’ll take it back for you Mom. Who do those cocksuckers think they are? They are not gonna fuck up our Christmas tree lights!” Joey said as he grabbed the extension cord and started for the door, his coat half on when the chill wind blew in at them.
“Wait up, Joey, I want to go with you,” Janine said.
They trudged in silence for a few minutes while Janine thought about how to talk to Joey. She could see the differences between them already, his thin mittens, her leather gloves and her heart fairly lurched at the fact that her little brother’s lives had grown considerably tougher than hers had been.
“Where did you learn to swear like that?” Janine asked Joey as they walked the slippery coast line toward the hardware store in town, “You shouldn’t be swearing like that around Mom, you know.”
“Who the hell do you think I learned it from?” Joey asked.
Janine fell silent. She wished she could just rewind, replay and bring everyone back home with her to the Pacific Ocean. Sure a person could drown in the salt chuck just like any other drink. At least it was a sea the kids knew, an anchor from the storms that Janine knew she had no power to stay.
“It’s okay, Joey, I know how to swear, too, if I need to.”
Janine tucked her shoulder length hair inside her fake fur hat with the dangling pom pom ties that seemed so frivolous and useless to her now though she had so longed for this very hat before she bought it.
She put an arm around Joey’s shoulder before scooping up a snowball to toss his way but as usual, Joey was just too quick for her. They laughed and carried on, snow spray from their game freezing fastly to their hats and jackets.
“Do you ever miss being back home by the Pacific?” Janine asked.
Joey wasn’t long answering his sister. He tipped his cap up to look her right in the eyes.
“People might think I don’t know much because I’m only thirteen. But I do know some things for sure. One ocean’s as good as another.“