10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Math Homework

Gerald smiled at Toby. "Got it now, kiddo? You borrow from the tens column, then subtract from the ones."

"Thanks, grandpa!" Toby took back his paper and pencil, then ran back to the kitchen. Gerald watched, still smiling, as the boy clambered carefully back up onto the tall chair, bending once more to the book spread open on the table. Smart lad. Not the smartest, certainly, but he took instruction well, if you exercised a little patience with him.

He had been sitting in one of the armchairs in the living room, reading the newspaper, when Toby had asked for help with his homework. Mina was sitting in the other chair with a small pile of mending; she was quiet, but they had been married long enough for Gerald to know that something was on her mind. "Nickel for your thoughts, dear?"

Mina glanced up at him, smiling slightly. "A whole nickel?"


"Mmm." She looked back down at the shirt she was mending. "Just thinking about Toby. He's almost eight, did you realize that?"

Gerald looked through the kitchen doorway at their grandson again. "Time does fly. I still remember when he was learning to walk." He grinned. "Remember the bowl of fruit he pulled down almost on his head, with the grapes -- "

Mina groaned, then laughed. "Yes, and I also remember finding grapes beneath the furniture for weeks afterwards!" Then she grew serious again. "He's growing up, Ger. But at the same time, we're growing old." She looked down at the shirt again. It was one of Toby's, bright red with a dinosaur emblazoned on the front. "He needs his father. Not us."

"Marcus has made it quite clear that he doesn't want to be a father," Gerald replied quietly, glancing towards Toby, who was still absorbed by his homework. "I talked to him again not too long ago. He says he still isn't ready." A pause. "That he still can't look at Toby without seeing Toby's mother."

They were both silent for a moment, and then Mina sighed. "I don't want to be rid of him; I love having him here. I love him, just as much as I loved Marcus when he was a boy."

"I know."

She folded Toby's shirt, gently smoothing the red cloth. "But all the love in the world won't give him what he needs. No matter how much we wish it could."

"I know," Gerald said again, morosely; and then, a third time, as if to himself. "I know."

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