No joke

223 mother in law 140297John pleads with you not to go but you pick up your bag and go into the hall.

Before you reach the front door, he darts in your way.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t mean…”

Your eyes bore into his. He’s seen that look before, too many times. He knows what he has to do, that one apology won’t be enough.

“I’m sorry,” he repeats, and offers a hand to take your bag. “Really I am.”

He studies you as if trying to see your brain evaluating the situation. One of many, repeated almost every time you’d come to visit; a throwaway remark, regretted as soon as it had left his mouth.

“I’m sorry,” he says for the final time. “I promise, no more mother-in-law jokes.”


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