It was one of the few days out of the year Pearl ever felt any regret over the life she had chosen. Meanwhile, her wife had been uncharacteristically quiet, unsure of what she could do to comfort Pearl who was pretending everything was fine. Despite the facade, Pearl was so distracted that she almost didn’t hear the doorbell.

Waiting for her on the doorstep was a mirror to the past. The young man looked exactly like she had at that age. That seemed like half a dozen lifetimes ago, before she had any idea who she was. “Todd” she whispered.

“Hey, uh, Pearl.”

It was the slightest moment of hesitation, but it still cut deep, deeper than she wanted to admit even to herself. She felt old habits clamp down on all emotions except anger, so that while she wanted nothing more than to embrace her son, instead, she stood stiffly in the doorway and said. “I thought your mother didn’t want you here.”

A flash of intensity from his dark eyes, a confidence that made her immeasurably proud. Todd strode forward and seized her in a firm embrace. “It’ll always be your day,” he said. “Happy Father’s Day, Pearl.”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox


“You know sometimes I wonder if I’m really a good dad,” Mo said pensively.

Beside him, Mo’s best friend, Tug, scratched his belly and asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Down on the grassy plain below them a horde of youngsters tumbled, hooted, and howled. “What, you mean you never worry if you’re doing the best by your kids?” Mo said. “Setting a good example, preparing them for the future, all that?”

Tug gave a long lazy yawn. “Guess I never really thought too much about it that way. I mean they’ve got food, right? They’ve got shelter.  What more’s a father supposed to do?”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I mean, what if being a really good dad isn’t so much about the big things like food and shelter; what if it’s the little things like making them laugh while you pick the bugs out of their fur or showing them how to get the best distance when they throw their feces?”

Tug paused in the midst of picking his nose. “You pick the bugs out of your kid’s fur yourself?” he asked the other chimpanzee.

“Of course,” Mo answered.

“Wow. You really are a good dad.”

Story by Gregory M. Fox