I put Mother in the picture. It was an impossible
story to tell. I constantly tripped on my words.
I cringed when she asked about Bryant and his
part in all this. This wasn’t something a decent
son told his Mother. Elizabeth hung her head
throughout. Mother didn’t call her a shameless
hussy, but I was certain that’s what she thought.
Mother would think this was all infamy. I broached
the idea of staying in Devon. Mother was shocked.
Father, she said, would never permit such a thing.
My schooling was paramount. No teenage Father
who quit his education ever amounted to much,
she warned. At this, Margaret nodded her head.
They were all against us. I could feel the idyll with
Elizabeth slipping through my fingers. Suddenly
Elizabeth rose and said she must go. I stood also.
The situation was impossible. I walked Elizabeth
to the door. Her eyes were glazed and un-
comprehending. I felt stupidly young. Elizabeth
kissed my cheek desperately, and fled.

Author: Robert James Berry

Poet & Novelist