Mychal’s hair is just so.

His father guides the car down the steep mountain slope that empties into the little town where his school is. The 5th grade concert starts at 7pm and Lindsey is going to be performing. Mychal made the mistake of telling his older brother about her, and now it’s out there. He touches his pocket where the five dollar bill his father gave him is safely tucked.

“Buy her a drink,” his father teases. “You’ll be all gentlemanly.”

“I will.”

“But if she asks you to buy her food you have to end the relationship.”

“Like the ‘locked car door test’ in A Bronx Tale.”

“Exactly. If she offers to get a drink for you too, she’s a keeper.”

The car continues its descent.

“The guy in that movie says you get three great women in your lifetime.”

“That’s about right.”

Mychal pauses for a moment. “Can Mom be one of them? I don’t mean like to marry her…

His father’s lips spread a close-mouthed smile. “Absolutely. She’s my number one.”



“You know when you get married and there’s the bridesmaids and best man and maid of honor…?”

“Yeah. And the groomsmen, I think they’re called.”

“Is there like a ‘man of honor’?”

“That’s the best man. Him and the maid of honor are equal.”

“But there’s no ‘man of honor’? ‘Cause I’d probably want Conor to be my best man and you to be ‘man of honor’.”

“Parents are separate. They’re in the wedding party, but they’re not bridesmaids or groomsmen. They get to be at the big table. So don’t worry, when you marry this Lindsey girl I’ll be there.”

Dad,” Mychal says with mock incredulity. He gets the joke.

The road straightens, the decline leveling off.

“Ari was wearing his flaming shirt today.”

“And by flaming you mean ‘really, really gay’?”

“No, Dad. It was literally flaming.”

“So it was on fire.”

“No, it had flames on it. Dad.”

The school parking lot. His father pulls the car to the front of the school doors, and hits the curb by mistake.

“It’s supposed to be here, right?”


“Why don’t you go inside and check it out and give me the high sign?”

No way. “Can you just come in with me? Then you can go back to the car if you want.”

“Oh, I’m going back to the car. I’m not hanging out at a 5th grade dance.”


His father backs the car into a parking space and they make their way across the parking lot. The light stanchion is buzzing that lonely parking lot song.

“Can you still hold my hand now that you have a girlfriend?”

Dad. I’m in grade school.” They lock hands.

“Can I have a hug?” Mychal asks.

“Of course.” They’re both stepping up on the curb when they hug, so it’s awkward and discordant.

There’s a bored looking guard at the lobby desk with the word “SECURITY” emblazoned across his chest in yellow against black.

“Is there some kind of concert tonight?” his father asks.

“Yup. Right down the hall.”

“OK kiddo, you’re all set.” His father gives Mychal a quick squeeze, careful not to muss his hair.

“I’ll only be like 45 minutes.”

His father is already moving back toward the door. “I’ll be in the parking lot. Have a good time.” Over his shoulder, his father calls “Thank you!” to the SECURITY-emblazoned man.

And Mychal is off.

    • Anonymous
    • March 15th, 2013

    Oh, Brian, this is beautiful. Beautiful!

    • Anonymous
    • March 15th, 2013

    Where did my comment go? I posted that this is a wonderful vignette. (Actually, I said it was beautiful, but same difference!)

  1. Thank you so much!

    • Anonymous
    • March 15th, 2013

    Now I see both my comments. I guess I have to be signed in, but I’m not. Kae xxx

    • Theresa Petti Butler Galimi
    • March 16th, 2013

    Just had to read it again. Want to go to bed feeling warm and fuzzy. Such a great experience to share. So touching. Something neither of you will ever forget. That’s what it’s all about.

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