“So, how’s Mom?” he asked.
I nodded. It was his checklist. Every time we were together we went through this. He ran down his list of people, events, even actual objects that were in my life.
“The garden’s doing real well, and I think Max is getting back to sort of normal.”
I said it all at once to save him the trouble of having to hit on each thing, one at a time.
He smiled. “Good.”
We were quiet.
“When you’re ready, I want to take you to get your license.”
“That’s okay. Michael said he would. His car is smaller anyway.”
I flipped the visor back up into the ceiling.
“I want to, Jack. Is that all right?”
He reached across the car, swept my hair off my face, and rubbed my cheek with the back of his hand. “Yeah, sure, we’ll see,” I said.
“How about dinner Wednesday?” he asked as he pulled up in front of our house.
“We’ll go someplace nice, just you and me. Pick you up around seven.”
“Yeah, okay. See you,” I said as I got out.
He put the car in gear and pulled away without checking his mirrors. Luckily, nothing was coming. I worry about him. Sometimes I’m not sure his receiver is on the hook, if you know what I mean. I watched the blue Volvo creep down the street and wondered how I’d ever get it to fit in the goddamned parallel-parking place at the Motor Vehicle Administration.
“Salvation Army’s coming tomorrow,” Michael said when I walked into the kitchen. He was chopping vegetables with something that looked like the ax George Washington must have used when he cut down his cherry tree.”
A. M. Homes (Washington DC, 18 december 1961)