New Housing Starts Increase For Twenty-Second Consecutive Year
by S.A. Barton
"Of course they do," Daniel said. He punched the Power Off key on the remote so hard the knuckle of his thumb turned white.
"Dear," Rosetta said, warning.
Daniel took a deep breath, eyes closed.
"I thought we could go out together tomorrow," Rosetta said. "There's a new house going up on the next block. Iris is getting old enough to see."
"Of course she is," Daniel said, grumbling.
"Dear," Rosetta said again, a little more sharply than before.
"I know," Daniel said. He sighed a small harassed sigh.
"I'm old enough to see what?" Iris asked from just inside the hallway that opened into the living room. She had taken up the habit of lurking there around Christmas, trying to catch them talking about her presents.
"Daddy was just saying a five-year-old girl is old enough to start learning more about houses," Rosetta said.
Daniel scowled. She sounded like a salesperson, bright and chirpy and too enthusiastic.
"I like houses," Iris said. "They keep us dry when it rains."
"And so much more," Daniel said.
"When you're like this, my love, it would be better if you waited until you felt happier before you talked," Rosetta said to Daniel, then rose to gather Iris up in her arms. "Who wants a bath?" she asked Iris. "Who needs more soap, Mommy or Iris? It must be Iris, I still see some egg behind her ear from breakfast...." Giggles retreated down the hall. Daniel sat in the empty room, brooding.
There was so much he couldn't say. Didn't it bother her like it bothered him? Was she just better at covering it up?