Reluctantly, Tommy turned back and headed toward his grandmother's home. He realised that he had left a mess there- dishes piled sky high, food sitting out in grandma's finest casserol dishes waiting for the flies to have a Thanksgiving feast of their own. Perhaps he had left a bit of a figurative mess as well, leaving Henry to work on their mother. This game had been going on forever, and it had to stop. One way or another...
He made his way back to the little old house, letting himself back in the front door. He found his mother and older brother washing the mountain of dishes, and suddenly felf a little bit guilty for having bailed. It probably prevented him from commiting fraternicide, but he felf a bit of shame nonetheless.
Eddie, free from such duties and dirty dishes, sat rocking in the arm chair in front of the TV humming to himself.
"Where did you go?" Mary asked. She didn't sound annoyed with him, only curious.
"Just a walk."
"Just a walk?" Henry piped up. He was drying the plate he was holding with a vigour that threatened to break it in half. "You were gone long enough that I thought you maybe you found yourself a boyfriend."
Mary visibly restrained herself, a flush rising from her neck to her hairline. Tommy waited to see if she would say anything. No, of course not. She never said anything when her dear departed husband stepped out of line either.
"Now Henry," Tommy responded in his best Will and Grace voice which he used whenever someone tried to gay bash him, "You know I'm in a comitted relationship. Besides, where would I find another gay man in a little Ukranian Catholic town like this?"
Tommy watched with sick satisfaction as his mother's face turned an even darker shade of red. Wouldn't he have just known- his saying the G word had upset her more than Henry being a rude bastard.
Mary turned her back and continued washing the dishes. Henry favoured his brother a cocky smirk and continued his frenzied drying.
The gloves have finally come off Tommy thought with some satisfaction It's on.
That night Tommy lay awake listening to the sound of a car speeding endlessly around the block, tires squealing at intervals. The teenagers inside the car could be heard whooping it up as if they were having the time of their llives. Tommy felt sorry for them- clearly there wasn't much else for the poor kids to do- this was after all an old people's town.
Across the hall he could hear Grandma May snoring- the sound was like a locomotive. Further down- Henry's soft breathing. He had heard Henry talk in his sleep before, and from this had gleaned that Henry had probably caused more trouble for himself than anyone knew.
Sure enough, softly he could hear Henry speak, though he couldn't catch what he was saying.
Getting up, Tommy crept down the hall, barely breathing lest he awaken one of his family. Listening through Henry's open door...
"Please... Renee.... aidez moi s'il vous plais!"