“Amen,” Pop says.
He takes a long drink of tea, and then he starts in on me.
“Long time, no see. Low on cash?”
Mom puts a chicken leg on his plate.
“No, Pop. I’ve been working plenty. I came home—”
“Jesus, Johnny, you got tossed because of grades.”
“I made the Dean’s list.”
She gives me a wing.
“You get a girl pregnant?”
“I got school and work, but no girl, Pop.”
“Jesus, Johnny…” He exhales, staring at his chicken leg.
Molasses silence spreads over the table until I speak.
“Happy birthday, Mom.”
“Aww—thank you, dear,” she says, smiling.