Sometimes Dad would smile without his mouth getting involved at all. “Genes from Himself,” Granny would say. “That’s how he got to be such a good lawyer. Only he didn’t make the big money,” Granny said. “Too busy defending all the poor unwashed. That’s how he met your mother. In court, downtown Brooklyn. Your mother was prosecuting the poor unwashed, upholding all the Sly Brooklyn Buggers. Yes, your mother was born a prosecutor, my sweet Brandywine.” Her name for me. “She’d prosecute the Blessed Virgin, send her down in a blink, but don’t tell her I told you so.” Then she’d cross herself and say, “Excuse me, Lord, for saying such bad things about the boring.” And I knew who Granny meant. I felt bad for Mom then and my heart started thumping. My cheeks burned and my skin puckered at the back of my neck, but I never said a word, just sat on the edge of Granny’s bed and stared out like the gutless wonder I am.
Yesterday Johnny Fulcrum asked me to go with him and his parents to a Yankee game and I had to think fast and not look at his eyes because they were jumpy, but I told him I couldn’t, “Sorry,” was all I had the guts to say. I wondered why he chose baseball but then I remembered telling the kids about the Yankees and how they were Dad’s favorite team. That was right after Dad died when Mrs. Coltran asked me to talk about him in class. Johnny must have remembered. It killed me to look at Johnny’s face after I said no, and I almost changed my mind but then I thought, I should let myself be seen with Johnny Fulcrum? Heather would have said yes just to be nice, but I’m just not that good. I didn’t tell Heather about Johnny asking me to the Yankees game. I didn’t tell anyone.
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Photo: Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Credit: GK tramrunner229, Wikipedia Commons