An Old Recipe 2

“Not used to eating alone.” Butch looked up suddenly, concerned — “I mean, you’re here too — ”

“We understand, son,” Cyrus nodding slowly, eyes focused on his plate.

“You’re right, Butch,” Faith laying a hand on the teen’s right forearm. “I don’t believe we’ve ever had dinner with just you. Your brothers and sisters — ”

“Are adults,” Cyrus nearly dropping his fork, then looking up at Butch, his face serious. “Simeon and Sarah may live here with us, but they have jobs, responsibilities. You’re the only one of you children, who’s still in school.”

“Oh!” Butch blinked, looked over at Faith, then back at his father, as if he were following a ping-pong game. “Can — you mind — ” the portly teen with round face and short crop of blonde hair on his head,  swallowed — “can I ask a question?”

Cyrus Goodman elongated his face, smiled back at his son. “Of course.”

“Why don’t I have any younger brothers, or sisters?”

Cyrus raised his eyebrows, but his face remained serene, as if the question came as a surprise for which he’d been long expecting. “My time has passed for taking care of babies, raising children — ”

“But you’re not.” The words seemed to burst out of his mouth, his head twitched almost involuntarily towards Faith. Butch didn’t know her exact age, yet knew she was much younger than his father, the same age as his older siblings. Butch had been four when they’d married, a few years after the death of his biological mother, and Faith, the woman at which he was now pointing with a finger that seemed carried by the momentum of his words and head — Faith had been the only mother he had ever known. And he was amazed to see the horrified look he now saw on her face.


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