Charlie accepted the offer of a drink from Mike’s mother, “Just water please, ma’am.” A moment later he found himself sitting at one end of the family room sofa, Mike’s mother on the other end. He had no idea how he would bring up the purpose of his visit, but certainly knew that now wasn’t the time.
Mike’s mother had handed a glass filled with water to Charlie before sitting. She was now holding a teacup and saucer in her hands, the narrow string of a teabag hanging down the side of the cup, the tag on its end resting on the saucer.
“No, I’m not always this calm.” Charlie looked up as she spoke, saw a thin line of steam from the teacup rising across her face. “Anytime I think about my Mikey, I feel that place in my soul where my love for him exists. I can never stop loving him, and sometimes feeling that love makes me smile.” Charlie saw she was smiling. “And other times, I feel like that love’s been stolen from me, and going to that place is like going to your home after it’s been robbed. It’s still your home, but it’s been — defiled.” Charlie saw her staring off to his right.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been here sooner.” Charlie wasn’t sure what compelled him to apologize, except perhaps the knowledge of what he was about to ask.
Mike’s mother smiled again, looked back at Charlie. “No need for that.” She took a quick sip from her teacup, laid it back down on the saucer, clik. “You’ve come for your stuff, haven’t you?”
Charlie attempted to look surprised, but gave up the effort almost immediately. “Aw — yeah.”