She’d made thick marmalade sandwiches. They
were extremely comforting. Nowadays Mother
treated me with kid gloves. I think she thought
I might crack, like brittle porcelain. Mother never
brought up the subject of Elizabeth. She had
become taboo. I felt sure Mother hated her, for
sullying her beautiful son. I was free, however, to
share my school experiences with Mother. She’d
never judge. I said I was settling in, that my peers
were all kind. Mother nodded with obvious
pleasure. She drew the curtains, it was getting
dark. Father would be home soon. It was a mystery
how he spent his days, since unemployment had
taken him. I didn’t think he’d turned to the booze.
But his eyes were often bloodshot, his chin stubbly.
He liked to swing a verbal fist my way. He’d wish to
know my school was like a jail. I ran over some lies
in my head. I wouldn’t disappoint.


Author: Robert James Berry

Poet & Novelist