We went to my father’s apartment that day, with a hopeful excitement. My mother was happy. I hadn’t seen that for a very long time. What kid doesn’t want his or her parents back together? Was there really a possibility? I snuck looks at her, and at him. They looked happy. I felt happy. My brother and I exchanged smiles.
After dinner, as she was washing dishes, my father slid behind my mother and wrapped his arms around her waist. She turned and they kissed a long, deep drink of each other. They turned, a little embarrassed, to look at my brother and me, and we all acted like we were involved in something else.
As the evening moved forward, there was talk of them going to Reno together the next morning and whose house I would stay at while they were gone. My mother was excited to be able to make plans with him. It was so obvious that she still loved this man. The possibility of our lives falling back in place together was palpable. The laughter too loud maybe, the nervousness in the shadow of hope made us giddy.
At the end of the evening, my brother went to his room, me to the couch, and my mother and father to his bedroom. I could hear quiet talking between them. I slept content.
Next morning dawned with her still squeezed in beside him in the twin bed. They were both sitting up, smiling, when I went in, my father smoking a cigarette, and she with the sheet pulled up under her arms.
Maybe it was going to happen! Every kid’s dream would happen to me. We ate breakfast, the four of us, full of happy talk and laughter. “What time should we leave?” she asked with love still in her eyes. “Leave?” “For Reno. I’ll take Lisa to her friend’s house, and I can be ready in about an hour.”
“Oh honey. I can’t go. I have to work.”
I watched the life fall from my mother’s face. It drained down through her shoulders and out of her heart. She had trusted, again, and lost, again.