Missing Mama

            The dark-haired boy squeezed behind the leafy branches of the bush, crawling into the space between the greenery and the white stone wall until he was completely hidden from view.  He could barely fit, but he made it, and just in time, his sobs broke through as he pressed his back against the cold stone.  Trying to stifle the noise he bent his knees and buried his face against them, pillowing his head in the arms.  Great wracking cries shook him as he sat hunched among the dead, dried leaves that littered the ground.

            He cried for a long time, until his breath was coming in short shuddering gasps, and he could feel the heat of his face through his breeches.  He tried to hold back his tears several times, setting his face into a frown and clenching his jaw, determined not to give in, but each time the sorrow, still fresh if not new, broke through and he would feel the painful pressure in his chest and the stinging in his eyes as if he had never, ever shed a single tear, and he would begin to weep again.

Finally, there were no more tears to release and he lifted his head and felt the cool breeze across the wet stains on his cheeks.  Closing his grey eyes, he tried to steady his breathing, taking a deep breath in an attempt to stop the hiccupping of his empty sobs. 

He hung his head in shame.  If Father were to find him he would be very angry.  He would tell him that he was too big for such displays, that he needed to grow up.  He would say he was acting like a baby. 

He felt the ache in his chest again.  He couldn't help it.  Today was his birthday, the first since Mama had – gone – and he missed her.  Missed her terribly.  Missed her smile, her hugs, her kisses on the top of his head.  He wiped a hand across his runny nose and laid his head on his knees again, trying to remember everything he could about his mother.

She had been beautiful, he knew that for sure.  And kind, and gentle.  She had liked to give kisses in the morning, and again at bedtime.  She had let him sit on her lap, even though Father would frown and say he was too old to be babied.  She had read him stories as they cuddled together in the big chair in her room, the one in front of the fire.  She had loved him, he knew that for sure, too.

He heard footsteps and quickly held his breath, fearing his father would discover him in his hiding place and see his babyish behavior.  The footsteps were light, however, not a grown-up.  His brother, then.  Still he stayed silent.  Having his brother find him would be just as bad.  He did not want him to know he was sitting in the bushes crying, he wanted to be a big boy, not a baby. 

Another dark head pushed through the leaves, and grey eyes just like his own fixed on him.  He bit his trembling lip, determined not to let the sobs escape again.  His brother looked at him for a moment. 

"What are you doing?" he asked, squeezing in beside him and settling his bottom into the dirt. 

"Nothing," he answered in a shaky voice.

Peering into his face, his brother's brows furrowed.  "You've been crying."

"Have not."

"Have so."

They sat in silence a moment, until at last the newcomer laid a hand over the one beside him.  "You miss Mama."  He spoke with complete assurance, knowing he was correct.  The tears started again, coursing down the already drenched cheeks. 

"Don't cry, Boromir," said Faramir, his chubby five-year-old's hand patting his brother's awkwardly.  "Don't cry."

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Well, did I fool you?  I get tired of everyone going on and on about poor Faramir and his mother dying.  She was Boromir's mother, too, and let's be honest, a 10 year old is going to be a lot more affected than a 5 year old, who won't remember much after a few months.  Just wanted to try to think about poor little Boromir, who had a long time to build a relationship with his mother, and how much he must have missed her.