"how can you discover something you can't comprehend?"

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Michael thought once Sadie came home apologies would be in order-but not just from him

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Michael thought once Sadie came home apologies would be in order-but not just from him. Family was important. He imagined them hugging and things would go back to normal. But there was no hug, no apology. She wasn't even interested.

"Yeah, Susan couldn't make it. Couldn't get the time off-"

"Didn't want to go fishing," said Jesse, over his father.

"Not true," continued Tom. "She's a nurse-it's easy for me. I crunch numbers and wave paper around. Nobody is expecting me to deliver their firstborn child."

Michael smirked while the others laughed. Bad liar, like when we were kids. That's what cities do to people. They beat you down. Shape you in their own image. That should be God's job alone.


"You've got to come out, Mike," Tom said. They were eating dinner. "The city is roaring and this town doesn't have long to live."

Spaghetti and meatballs were piled on Tom's plate.

"Cities aren't my kind of place," said Michael, twirling noodles on his fork.

"Oh, come on. You haven't been out for years," Tom whined.

For good reason.

"I'm old enough to know where I belong-and where I don't."

Both Jesse and Sadie were smirking at their plates. Michael didn't like it. Cities change people. Tom hasn't always been this way.

"I know some women who would love to meet you," Tom half-teased.

Michael could feel Sadie's eyes flick up from her plate. They burrowed into him.

"I'm not interested, Tom."

"Oh, Come on. When is it time to move on? Flo-"

"Don't say her name," said Michael, letting his fork clatter on his plate. "She would not have-"

"Wanted you to be happy?" asked Tom, staring at his older brother, eyebrows raised.

Sadie's eyes were probing Michael. Looking for. . . what? "It's not like that-"

"No. I don't know what it's like, but Michigan wasn't ever coal country, not really. The town can't last forever." said Tom, dabbing his lips with his napkin. "But I know it isn't good to be alone. Now with Sadie off at college, it's alright to need someone."

"Like you? Tom?" asked Michael.

Tom shrugged. Have you got it all sorted out? Why isn't Susan here? Work? There's a hollowness in your eyes, brother. Loneliness that can't be filled. Not by anyone but Him.

"No, Mike, of course not. Not everyone can have the same charm I do," said Tom.

Jesse let out a snort at his father's words. Michael's lips curled. That charm isn't what I need.

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