Scene III from Vermont Avenue

I heard someone on the street telling his
mom on the phone about how his wife was
doing, while he was holding his husband’s
hand with his other hand, and the
husband’s other hand was pushing the stroller.

I asked the husband if he knew of a payphone
nearby, and he told me he thought he’d seen
one on the corner of Adams and Vermont, at the church
there. I needed to call my mom because she had to
put down our dog last week, and I thought
she’d like it if I checked in with her,
but my phone was dead too.

Driving Home from the Baby Shower

"Charis, did you know that Harold just got out of rehab two years ago?" I ask.

"Peter!" It’s Mom, grumbling awake.

My girlfriend, driving, answers meekly, "I didn’t."

"But you could see it in his eyes," I say, turning off the radio.

"What could that ever mean?" Mom says.

Adds Maybelle, in antistrophe, "Yes, what’s that about?"

"You guys know what I’m talking about. That look that people get, after they’ve been through rehab, where their eyes are just too clear."

Maybelle is silent.

"And the way he was talking," I continue. "It was just too organized, like he was presiding over a ceremony or something. I mean, it wasn’t like Harold."

"Well, I don’t know," says Mom.

I go, "But I know you do and you just don’t want to say it. Because of course he’s going to be a great father, right?"

"I thought it was nice to meet him. And if he’s done rehab, then that’s good and he ought to be proud of it," Charis says.

I motion for Charis to turn on our street. "This is your left."