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Glory‟s old high school sweetheart proposed two

months after Edgar‟s funeral. Alone, excluding infrequent
phone calls from undergrads expecting her tardy return to
campus, she attempted to entertain her big brother during
routine stopovers — and read frivolous letters aimed at
blaming her for the dispossession of the conscience-stricken.
The humble Morrow estate — no matter the volume of
vehement objections — was bequeathed as a two-way split.
Glory welcomed Terry‟s share — half of their childhood
home — with a tiny twinge of guilt and his generous blessing.
Living over an hour away, Terry noted his youngest relation
required someplace to stay till she could decide whether she
would resume her studies the succeeding semester. He and
his wife hoped she would. Still, the isolated occupant
accepted Dale‟s offer.
Glory had always wanted to have a large family. And
hers seemed to be disappearing. But, she‟d imagined doing it
after she‟d obtained a postgraduate degree. The day her
mother had left to go grocery shopping, her exemplar brushed
Glory‟s hair and casually instructed her child that she could
be whatever she wished in life — so long as she strived to get
an education and didn‟t get tied down too young. None of
the advice-giver‟s offspring ever saw her again.
However, the sensitivity of that information didn‟t stop
nosy neighbors from claiming they‟d spotted the drunken

defector in nearby towns. Gossip traveled quickly. Edgar

never mentioned seeing the slandered subject — though he
had on one chilly evening. He‟d stealthily looked and found.
Determined to drag her back — by force if necessary — he
opted to listen first. Navigating shrouded anger — to impede
the anticipated, very public explosion — he internally
acknowledged his part. But, he wouldn‟t confess it.
Since they‟d lost their first son, the bereaved head of
household had been extremely detached. He‟d decided his
role as a father was to be a financial provider and little else.
Fearful of virtually falling apart during another lurking,
unavoidable tragedy — as he‟d nearly succumbed in the past
— he‟d refused to bond with the rest of his brood. They‟d
survived, he believed, because of his strength. But, he‟d
forgotten to be a husband.
Silent lovemaking without eye contact distressed his
wife less than the habitual hush of daybreak and dusk. The
affectionate extrovert Margaret had married at eighteen was
merely a memory — an obscure one. That scared her — more
than abandoning her kin had shamed her. The wearied
waitress took solace, trusting her spouse could capably
continue taking care of their kids unassisted until her
eventual return. She often lied to herself concerning
unpleasant plans for the future. So, lying to Edgar was an
automatic way to fuel her delusion.

The affliction which flashily danced in dodging glances

indicated it was still too much for her to bear honestly — to
the man she once loved. After a few minutes‟ explanation
and fabrication, all Edgar heard was that she wouldn‟t go
back. Not yet. And he couldn‟t make her. The rest of the
exposition formed an auditory blur.
Lips moving. Eyes tearing. Nose running. Chin
trembling. Fingers fretting over a tattered towel used for
sopping up belligerent regulars‟ spilled beer. Her heartbreak
was palpable to all who eavesdropped. Still, her conduct was
unforgivable in Edgar‟s mind. Worse than the loss of
William, Margaret had chosen to leave. The two deserters
shared a similar place in his head. They were both dead in
his opinion. But, one of the parties was no longer wanted.
Margaret convinced herself her husband simply needed
time to embrace the climate of their changing situation. He‟ll
come around, she thought for weeks — which turned into
several, solitary years. Edgar‟s death — and seclusion in life —
prevented the organization of any reunion. Glory and her
brothers had been forbidden to utter their mother‟s name in
his presence — proper or title. Only at his funeral, three of
his four adult children examined nonchalant attendees‟ faces
for one they hoped would appear familiar. Their efforts bore
no fruit. Much like his father, Terry felt further
disappointment might destroy him. So, he didn‟t dare look.

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