Mr. McGee is paying for mom’s therapy. I know because I’ve seen the receipts jammed inside her open purse. Each session is paid with a credit card that says Vincent C. McGee in the amount of two-hundred and fifty dollars! He doesn’t have this kind of cash. Anyone who lives at Meadowview does not have this kind of money. I can’t know this without wanting to hug him.
Mom is in the bedroom with Jack, giggling over some bedtime story. Mr. McGee is almost out the door, heading home to Seth. He smiles at me and winks.
“Vinny,” I say. It sounds foreign to my ears, like someone else is saying it.
He turns his freckled head to the side. “What did you just call me, Shorty?”
“Vinny?” I am on a tight rope, terrified of falling.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought you said.” He strokes his pale chin and says “Well, it’s about time.” He grins so wide his puppy dog eyes become narrow slits. All that’s missing is a wagging tail. “Did you want something?”
“Just…thanks,” I say and jut a thumb in the direction of my bedroom. “She’s like the way she used to be.”
“Well, that makes two of us, Shorty,” he winks and starts to leave.
But this time, I stop him with a hug meant for reunions and farewells. I am making up for all the times I’ve kept the hug to myself.