It was always the same crescendo of sounds that marked their father’s arrival home from work – the roar of the truck’s engine, the machinic grinding of the garage door, and finally the barks and stampeding paws of their greyhounds bursting out of their resting places to meet him. The girls stayed in their room, mostly. They greeted him through the door, and heard him washing up. He washed his hands and arms and face in the kitchen sink before embracing their mother, in hopes she wouldn’t smell the lingering cigarette smoke. She did, of course, but didn’t say anything. They heard him taking out the large pot from the cabinet – boiled potatoes and silence for dinner again.
After eating, the girls fought over whose turn it was to burn the bedbugs that lived in their straw mattress-beds. The older one finally submitted, crawled under the frame, and lit her match. She slowly moved her hand towards the corner of the frame and spotted them, those angry red specks. They don’t try to run away, they just ‘pop!’ when they catch fire. The sparkling singed bugs fell to the floor like dying stars.