One day, Miranda thought with a fervor usually reserved for prayer, one day, things will be normal again.
It was bathtime for Avery, and it was all, all wrong. The occasional fight or bout of fatigue aside, bathtime was supposed to be a loud, splashy affair accompanied by laughter ringing off the tiles. Nothing but silence was filling the small bathroom now, to the point that the gentle slap of water against the side of the tub was loud. It was as if it was the only sound allowed: the words Miranda had spoken only moments before were already gone.
Avery was staring up at her, small and still in the bathtub. He was pinkly clean, his skin soft and wholly at odds to his healing scrapes and bruises. They stood out almost lividly, drawing her gaze and holding it. Staring at them was easier than meeting his eyes: as much guilt as she felt looking at her son's battered skin, it was nothing compared to matching his level stare.
"It's playtime, Avey," Miranda made herself say agai