A Metting

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We saw each other from across the room. He, sitting solemnly in the corner of the restaurant, I, standing alone, eager to get my question confirmed.

“Hi.”

“Hi,” he responded quickly, echoing my greeting. He continued in a low husky voice. “Quite honestly, is this necessary? I didn’t realize it was your house I parked outside of. I only called to you to get directions to the nearest gas station.”

“Oh,” I said, peering down awkwardly at my shoes. The truth was I never really liked my cousin Josh. He was always that distant figure in our family that no one ever truly understood. Seven years ago, my mom informed me he had run away, but that was the last we heard from him. “Why did you say you were back in the area, again?”

“Business.”

“Business. Right.” Since when had he been in any type of business? He was always a lazy slob. Why was he lying? “Where have you been for the past few years? Jail?” I jokingly laughed to myself. His dark eyes darted up at me, showing the truth to what I thought was a sarcastic statement. “Oh,” I said. “I didn’t realize. Sorry.”

An overwhelming hush flooded the room. I could hear myself breathing and the distant clink of washing dishes. Well, now that I had successfully made things uncomfortable, there was no point in waiting any longer to ask the question I came here for.

“You know, Josh. I saw you the other day,” I said, attempting casually to bring up the inevitable.

“Yeah?” he said, raising his eyebrow in curiosity. “And what exactly did you see?”

“Nothing, really. You were just driving.”

“Yeah?”

“Mhm. You--”

“Anything else you saw?” he quickly interrupted me. There was a sense of urgency in his voice I didn’t find comforting.

“Well…did you know an eight year old boy died the other day due to a hit and run accident?”

“No. I had no idea. That sucks,” Josh answered, averting his eyes.

“Yes it does ‘suck,’ as you so eloquently put it. Especially considering it was my nephew.” During the long pause that followed, rage began to build up inside me. He had to have some guilt. He had to. Otherwise he would not have come back to the scene in front of my house. Why doesn’t he just admit it? I obviously know. Just tell me!

His phone rings, interrupting my thoughts.

His voice cuts through the air. “Yes, sir…Yeah…No, I’m not in Pennsylvania... Yes, I understand what can happen to me if I violate my parole…Yeah. Bye.”

He grunted. Setting down his phone on the glass table, Josh looks to me with telling eyes. It was clear now.





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