How many times had his mother’s hand smacked his young bottom? How many meals had it helped prepare, helped serve? How many times had it gripped his head, turning his face toward his plate while his mother ordered him to eat so the children in Asia wouldn’t starve?

He never took the alley home, but he did when we came back from our anniversary week at the resort. The rear garage door creaked and rumbled from disuse, stuck partway, then inched up far enough for him to pull in. I was afraid it would stick, but it closed more smoothly than it opened.

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