d sighs

Delilah and Johnny in a roadside diner. She’s absently looking out the window, chin nestled in palm. He’s close to his plate, nibbling at the last of his fries, gaze locked on the map spread over the table to his right.

The waitress comes around, asks if they want anything else. Delilah says no, asks Johnny. He shakes his head no. Delilah asks for the bill. The waitress pulls receipt book from waist apron, rips out page and places it on the table, takes Delilah’s plate.

After the waitress is gone Delilah draws herself square to Johnny, asks if he’s got everything straight.

I think so, he says, still nibbling fries.

Delilah brings the outside of her wrist to her forehead and rubs a few times. Okay, she says. So. I just wanted to say that, you know, before we go, that, well, I’ve been meaning to…

Her hands are together on the table now. Fingers wrestling. Knuckles white. Fingernails scratching. The muscles in her forearms bobbing.

I don’t know how to put it but I just wanted to say that there are reasons I haven’t, you know, been around for awhile—

Johnny says something quietly to her hands.

Sorry?

Johnny sits back and, still looking at her hands, says, Three years.

Delilah’s fingers freeze.

Since you last came to the house.

Delilah looks out the window. Pinches earlobe between fingers.

I’m very sorry about that. How long it’s been, I mean. But—and I’m not making excuses, specially with gran getting sick and all—but I wasn’t in a good place—

It’s okay, Johnny says softly. I think I understand. Not everything or nothin. Just that grampa said you were trying get yourself better.

Delilah sighs.

Three years was way too long a time. He went and grew up and she missed it.

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