“Five minutes or so. Anything less than that and they need to haul tail to the hospital,” Dad said staring across the table. A strange intensity had began to burn in his eyes; he shifted in his seat, hands curled before his mouth, legs flexed and eager to run — if the situation so demanded — the hundred-fifty miles back home. Mom continued to nod at my brother’s electronic voice, now rising and falling over the receiver like a roller-coaster scream.
“Yeah . . .,” she laughed. “Uh-huh . . . right. Well, ca . . . sure. Just call if anything . . . right, sure.”
Then she ended the call, pressing the little red button and reaching for her wine glass. My mother allowed the alcohol to swish and twist around her mouth, savoring the subtle flavors of the pinot before answering any of our questions. Dad’s face had alternated between several shades of volcano red and oxygen-deficient blue before spitting out the necessary question . . .
“Well?” he asked. Continue reading