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Chapter 23: Scene 79: Mom is there on the porch


ThinkLink: If you had been away for months and months who would be happiest to see you again?

       McGill stops when the doorbell rings. We both look up and I expect Mr. Morgan to come back from where ever and answer it.

       "You go to the door, John," McGill tells me.

       I step into the hallway and look out the window next to the door. Mom is there on the porch and behind her is Norman. When they come into the hall, Norman says, "We started the minute Mr. McGill called. We've looked for you, John. One whole weekend we wandered around Portland trying to find you."

       I stand there rocked back on my heels. My eyes blur over. Mom grabs me in a hug and I hug her back. She looks smaller, different some way. But she feels the same and smells just as good. I look over her shoulder at McGill.

       McGill shakes hand with Mom and then Norman. "Come in the living room," he says. "John and I were just talking about a possible job offer."

       I sit down on the couch between Mom and Norman. Looking straight ahead. Mom takes hold of my arm and Norman puts a hand on my shoulder. I don't pull away.

       Mom squeezes my arm. "Listen to what Norman has to say, John."

       I turn to him and he looks straight into my eyes. "I need help on the ranch , John. My older sons aren't coming back to work there. They both have permanent jobs in town. It's too much for me to do alone. Think you might be interested?"

       I catch my breath. Back on a ranch ? He wants me there? Maybe he's not such a bad guy after all. "Work for you? Like a ranch hand?"

       "Like my sons did. They worked after school and summers. Saved enough that way to pay for college. It's hard work. I won't cut you any slack."

       I look at Mom. She nods. "We want you home with us."

       "But Mr. McGill said...Fire Oak…a hearing in the morning." I stare at McGill. Trying to make him read my mind. Let me go home. Make it the ranch . Not Fire Oak.

       McGill leans forward, still cool as an ice cube. "That's what I'll recommend to the judge . It's up to her to decide. You'll get a chance to have your say, so you'd better be ready to make a case for what you want. What kind of responsibility you're ready to take on."

       What I want. I want to go home with them. I'll stay awake all night tonight. I'll think of every reason there is for sending me home.

       "I'll make a case," I say it so he'll know how much I mean it.

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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