Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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A middle-aged New England lawyer, you were dressed like a cowboy. This, as much as anything else, underscored that it was over between us. A suede-fringe jacket. Snakeskin boots with stacked heels. An oversized Stetson. What, I said, no spurs?
I wasn’t good at sports, like he was, but when it was just the two of us, he liked to play pretend. That, I was good at. Whether we were knights or ninjas or mountain men or astronauts or soldiers in Vietnam, he listened with his whole self — intent, leaning in — to whatever story I was telling.
My granddaughter barely speaks. Her name is Effie, which in Greek means “well-spoken.” Maybe in Greece she would be. Names aren’t expected to match the person. If they were, we’d be named upon our death, when someone would have a stab in the dark at getting it right.
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I add thirty-eight points to Dad’s side of the scorecard. “You’re kicking my ass,” I say. He gathers the cards and begins to shuffle, his hands clumsy, the cards slipping out onto the table. “Let me,” I say, but he says he can do it, that it’s his turn.
I put aside the previous rejections and try again. This time I don’t mess around with coffee. I don’t want anything that might allow her a graceful out or result in a request to be friends. I have friends. I ask her on a dinner date.