The young couple sat at the kitchen table looking at each other; trying to figure out whose fault it was. He blamed her; said she should’ve quit smoking. And, she blamed him; the night he got drunk and punched her in the stomach. They sat there. Not a word was spoken.

Silence was interrupted by a knock on the front door. At first they ignored it. Then the banging got louder. He opened the door and there stood her mom with a casserole dish in her hands. She nearly ran him over making her way inside.

Thought I’d bring something over for you two. Tuna casserole. I know you like it, mom said softly. The young man put on a pot of coffee. He knew she wouldn’t leave.

Your father is still at work, she said to the young lady. Said he wanted to stop by later to…you know…tell ya how sorry he is…we all are, mom pulled up a chair.

We appreciate that, he said. We do appreciate that.

Listen. We don’t have to talk about it, mom held her hand. We don’t have to talk about it at all, both mother and daughter lit up cigarettes.

That’s what did it, he said under his breath. Damn cigarettes, she crushed hers out while mom took another drag.

Not what I heard, the mother said.

What did you hear?

That you got crazy one night and punched her. Hit her right in the stomach.

It was a push. Not a punch. ‘Sides, where’d you hear that?

Mother and daughter share everything you fool. I knew something was wrong ‘tween you two. Wasn’t no smoking. I smoked with all three of my children.

Does daddy know?, he asked.

Nope. And you can thank me for that. He’d kill ya. I don’t know whether to leave you two alone or not. Why don’t you just walk out that door boy and never come back, she comforted her daughter.

I’m gonna go get some air, he said. Get some air. I’ll come back and get my things. Is this what you want? she nodded yes.

Well alright then. I’ll get some air. Just get some air.

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