When Gabi opened the door, Ruben was standing on the threshold holding a bouquet of roses, his dark eyes large under his graying  hair.

“Am I forgiven?” he asked meekly.

“I don’t know,” she said. She gestured him into the narrow hallway. They could hear her mother moving restlessly back and forth across the living room.

“Is she still mad?” he asked.

Gabi nodded. “I don’t know how much, though,” she said.

He straightened his shoulders and knocked on the door, opening it at the same time.

“What are you doing here?” Gabi’s mother asked.

Gabi didn’t stay to  listen. She’d heard it too many times before. Ruben was just the latest in the long series of her mother’s dramas, beginning with Gabi’s father.

She headed toward the kitchen and her homework, spread out on the table. Thank God for algebra. It made so much more sense than people did.

Copyright 2013 Loretta Miles Tollefson


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