They were talking about sin. We’re all sinners, the old man said. Every last one of us, he turned the sound down on the television. The Andy Griffith Show was on. Andy was telling his son that sometimes you gotta stick up for yourself. They both continued watching with the sound down.
I’ve made mistakes. I’ve sinned, said the old man. All too many times. Of course, that’s between me and God. I don’t care about what those crazy Catholics say. About confession to a priest and all that. It gets down to your relationship with Jesus. He paid the price so we don’t have to, he said.
Jesus knows all your sins? boy asked. He knows what you’ve done?
Let’s not get into that boy.
Momma didn’t know, but, the Lord did. Right?
I’m not gonna talk about it, he grabbed a beer from the ice box.
She didn’t know about your galavanting around town? Told her you were at work. Doing something on the third shift. Making over time.
That’s long over boy. Why bring that up? It was in her best interest. It would’ve hurt her too bad. Now. That’s all I gonna say on this topic, he turned the sound back up.
I followed you one night. Saw you leave the bar and walk down Main Street. Then you turned up State. Went into a house with a red light on over the porch. Big sign in the front yard that said Doll House. Waited across the street in Kroger’s parking lot.
The place was a whore house dad. Saw you go in and an hour later I saw you come out. You walked back to the bar. And, the whole time I was following you, I was crying. Felt like someone punched me in the stomach.
I don’t have to talk about this. I knew you were following me. I felt it. And I prayed for forgiveness. That’s all I had to do. Didn’t owe you any explanation. People make mistakes. Are you perfect?
No. I am not. But, I would never cheat on my wife if I was married. Standards dad. This is about standards. Character. What makes you a man.
How ‘come you never brought this up before?
Tried to forget about it.
And, you never told mom.
No sir. I did not. Same reason as you. I knew it’d break her heart.
That was smart of you, the old man lit a cigarette.
The two sat there watching another episode of Andy Griffith. The old man turned the sound up. Crickets could be heard outside. Boy went to the front door and looked at the moon. The old man just sat there in his chair with his eyes opening and closing. No one sleeps with a clear mind.