“Where the blaze were you, your mother was worried sick?” Dad asks, without ever moving his eyes from the New York Times.
I plop myself down on the sofa.
“And you smell like cheap liquor.”
I give my shirt a whiff. Sure enough the vodka smell is still lingering.
Dad sets down the New York Times and finally looks at me. Nonchalantly he says,“I know things have been ...somewhat hectic these last few days.
I scoff, “What with almost being shot at all, and having someone’s mother die at my feet. Hectic? Sure you could say that.” I kick my feet up on the imported coffee table to spite him.
He notices disapprovingly. “Look I think it's time you go and see a counselor. I'm no good with...”
He stumbles to find the right words, I step in to help him“People is it?”
He stares at me blankly.
“Is that what you were going to say dad, that your not good with people?”
Before he could summon a response mom walks into the parlor. “ I just got off the phone with your brother.”
Just the mention of my brother Samuel, has my father captivated. “How's Stanford treating our boy?”
Mom shrugs, “You know he's up t o his head in Fraternity business, it's so hush hush.”
“Hazing?” I ask.
Mom notices me for the first time, quietly she says, “No of course not. Where were you last night?” She doesn't sound like someone who was worried sick. If my guess was right I'd say she was relieved not to have to deal with the elephant in the room, that being me, last night.
“I went to visit Maddison.”
They both stare at me like I have two heads, I can't stand it. “Her mother died saving my life. Does that mean anything to you?!” I stand up to leave.
“Max please of course that means something to us that's why we wrote that check out to her.”
I roll my eyes Karen and Robert Roosevelt citizens of the year.
“ Who says you can't put a price on someone’s life. $20,000 is that what my life was worth or her mother's?”
“Was it not substantial son we could send her more money.”
I'm sick to my stomach. I feel like I'm going to throw up.
“ God no! Don't send her more money she'll flip out!”
Mom looks confused“Why on earth would anyone flip out over money?!”
I made sure to speak very slowly, “Because mom. It doesn't always solve everyone's problems” I surprise myself by saying. The concept of money not being everyone's savior is still foreign to me.. Mom stares at me with a blank expression on her face, I elaborate, “Money won't bring her mother back.”
“Maxwell that's enough don't patronize your mother.” Dad says as he flips open the New York Times again. “You'll see a counselor than you'll go back to resuming your normal daily activities. If this Maddison has any further issues, her father can handle it. Tell her I'll spot the bill for a shrink.” He says dismissing the subject.