like daddy like son

Cont. of “The One”

Sometimes Harold likes to take a walk around the block. He notices that Mrs. Lee’s garden is in full bloom and that baby birds are learning to fledge. He sees Mr. Wilson’s dogs lay in the sun. Sandy isn’t outside, but that’s okay. She’s probably out with her mama grocery shopping. Maybe when they get back, Harold can go over for some ice cream. Ms. Armstrong was always so kind and always smelled nice. Harold wished that he had a mom like that.

When Harold asked his daddy how he was born, his daddy always tells him he was born out of pure love. When Harold asks where his mama is, his daddy always lowers himself to eye level and places his right pointer finger on Harold’s chest and say that she’s right there in his heart. There are pictures of her and his father around the house. They’re happy and smiling. Harold thinks that his daddy should smile like that more often, but he doesn’t know how.

Harold notices that his father looks at Sandy’s mama in a funny way. Frank crinkles his nose and always comments that the Lord don’t make them the same no more. Harold asks his daddy what he means by that, and his father looks down filled with sad eyes.

“Well, your mama was an angle. Complete angel. That lady over there is no good. No husband and no one to take care of her and that girl over there. It’s a wonder how she’s able to afford that house over there. She’s probably a slut.”

Harold doesn’t know what a slut is, but he knows that it’s not good. Suddenly, he doesn’t like the way that Ms. Armstrong smells. She’s always wearing those low cut dresses and wearing too much makeup. Harold hopes that Sandy doesn’t grow up to be like her mom, but maybe it’s too late.

“Your Mama is a slut!”

“NO, SHE’S NOT!”

Sandy slapped Harold across the face and ran into her house. They haven’t spoken in a few days, but Harold knows she’ll come around. Every time they get in a fight, all he has to do is keep following her around until she gives in. He pushes her to the ground because that’s how boys are told to let girls know they like them. Maybe he’ll just go over and pretend to like Ms. Armstrong to save Sandy. After all, if there’s no man in the house, Harold thinks, who’s going to keep Sandy in line?

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