Collecting bottles, tossing leftovers, taking out the garbage
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Tim Melley’s stories have appeared in Story-Quarterly, The Threepenny Review, and Mississippi Review, and they have aired on Chicago Public Media’s This American Life. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and teaches English at Miami University.
On the day my mom got her last chemo treatment, I fished from the dike of the Intake Reservoir. I wasn’t supposed to be fishing. I was supposed to be delivering the Hawthorne Pennysaver. My summer job was to place a crisp Pennysaver at each of the 465 doorways of the Pleasant Pines Apartments once a week, but I hadn’t done that for months.
For a Catholic kid, there was nothing good about Good Friday. From dawn to dusk, we had to fast on toast and tea, and then, when we were good and starving, we had to choke down a bowl of my mom’s fish stew. We couldn’t cut loose or even watch TV. We were supposed to mope around looking glum. We spent the entire afternoon in church.
He looks up and says me and my brother are getting a haircut on the front porch after dessert. Three days before summer, and he’s going to cut our hair.