“Is there something you’re not telling me?”

“What? No, I’m fine,” Kalisha answered a little too quickly.

“That’s not what I asked,” her mother said, narrowing her eyes.

Kalisha groaned. “I just know how you can be sometimes, and I really don’t want—”

“Oh hush, child,” her mother interrupted. “We won’t be too hard on Robby when he gets here.”

“That’s the thing—”

But then the doorbell rang, and her mother’s eyes lit up. “Oh good, he’s here.” And with that, she turned sharply and walked away from her exasperated daughter.

“Mom,” Kalisha hissed.

“George,” she called to Kalisha’s father. “Get downstairs. Kalisha’s boyfriend is here.”

“Mom, before you open that door—”

Too late. She swung the door open with a flourish to stifle her daughter’s protestations. Standing on the porch was a slender, bright-eyed young woman with messy purple hair. “Good afternoon Mrs. Johnson,” the stranger said.

“Oh. Hello. Are you . . .”

“Robbi,” she answered. “Yeah.”

Kalisha held her breath.

“Of course you are,” her mother said, face broadening into a smile. “Come in, come in.”

Robbi strolled in casually and planted a kiss on Kalisha’s cheek.


Still smiling, her mother called out, “George! You owe me twenty bucks!”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox


“Here we are,” Danny announced guiding his stumbling friend up the shallow steps to the door.

Calvin stared vacantly at his own apartment building, then looked back at Danny and hesitated. “Is this the part where . . .”

Danny cocked an eyebrow, curious. “What did you have in mind?”

Blood raced to Calvin’s cheeks.“I didn’t—I mean, I don’t—” he stammered, “well, not that I don’t, I just thought that you—that we—” The longer he went, the brighter his face flushed, and the smirk spreading across Danny’s face certainly wasn’t helping. A finger pressed to Calvin’s lips, halting their speech abruptly.

“You’re drunk.”

“I just thought . . .”

“It’s alright,” Danny said gently. “Go inside and get some sleep. Maybe when you’ve figured a few things out, we can try again.”

Calvin watched Danny walk down the steps, onto the sidewalk, away. But before the other man could disappear into the darkness, Calvin called out, “What if I want to figure them out with you?”

Danny turned, studied his friend illuminated in the entryway. Was it naivete or hope that burned in those eyes? Either one could be dangerous, but still Danny found himself smiling. “How about I call you tomorrow?”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox


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