What Was the Name of That Bread?

We’re sitting in the living room, and Dad asks, “What was the name of that bread”?

“What are you talking about?”, says Mom.

— “That sponsored the ball games”.

— “What ball games”?

— “On the radio, when I came home from work”.

— “You don’t work anymore”.

— “When I worked — past tense”.

— “That reminds me… Once you came home from work and sat down in the living room, this room right here. It was late, you were tired, the TV wasn’t working, and you said, ‘I think I’ll go to bed’. And I grabbed you by the hand. You said, ‘What’re you doing?’, and I said, ‘I want to show you something’, and I took you into the kids’ room, and I woke them up and said, ‘Hey, kids, I want to show you something. This guy here, he’s your father’! Well now, they thought I was crazy”.

— “Home Farms”.

— “Home Farms”?

— “The bread. It was white”.

— “What does that have to do with my being crazy”?

— “They did the ball games. You asked me why I always bought it. It was the ball games — I wanted to show my loyalty”.

— “And for that you call me crazy”?

I put my book down, and look at Dad. He’s wearing a half paper plate wedged between his glasses frames and head. He’s shading his eyes from the floor lamp, and told me years before that he found it better than wearing a hat in the house. I realize that, tonight, I’ll never read this book. The story I’m part of demands attention. It’s compelling, droll, insane. It’s exhausting.

Time for bed.

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