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"When you left, did you ever think about the boy?" Momma finally had the chance to get Terry's dad alone and I guess she had a little liquor in her by then.

We all got together at Terry's house for a picnic yesterday, Momma, Dad, Gill, Ms. Harriet, Terry's momma, his dad and me and Terry. Momma made a potato salad she called French potato salad that had lots of vinegar and something called tarragon. I liked it 'cause I like vinegar and hot stuff. Momma says I've got a cast iron stomach and I think that means it can handle anything at all, but maybe it's because it's also hard as a rock from doin' sit-ups all the time.

Terry and I left Gill and Dad outside where they were tellin' dirty jokes to Harriet and Terry's momma--we were sneakin' in to get some pie--when we saw Momma and David at the kitchen sink and they looked all serious which I could tell by the way Momma had her right hand high on her hip like when she lectured us on stuff that it was way serious.

"It killed me every day I was gone, it broke my heart...," David did just like me and Dad when Momma was talkin' that way. He looked at the ground. But, unlike Dad and me, he looked up right away without even sayin' he was sorry or nothin' and he took her hand off her hip--just took it right from where it rested with his hand--and put it on his chest, sayin' "but my heart brought me back to him."

I thought Momma was gonna' have a fainting spell 'cause her left knee buckled, but she dropped her cigarette in the sink and caught herself on the faucet.

"And I will never leave." David's and Momma's noses were about an inch apart.

"That's cool!" I whispered to Terry who had been peeking over my shoulder when we first came in the door and ducked behind the washing machine on the back porch.

"What?" Terry whispered back. "What's cool?"

I looked over at him like he was nuts or deaf or somethin'. He was picking his nose, looking out the screen door, trying to hear the punchline to the dirty joke Gill was tellin' his momma.



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