June watched Brenda push the coffee cup to the edge of the table.
“Is something wrong?” asked June.
“I’m not fit to be a mother.”
“I just remembered today’s my son’s birthday.”
“Didn’t know you had a son.”
“He’s 16– born after his father left.”
June knew little about her boss.
“It must have been hard raising a boy by yourself.”
“You don’t want to hear it.” Her eyes were moist.
“Please, if I can help in any way, I will.”
“You’re very nice and doing well at work, but it’s okay.”
“So, what will you do for his birthday?”
“He spends a lot of time in his room with the door closed. His only interest appears to be video war games. I’m sure as hell not going to get him anything to do with guns.”
“Why not take him out to dinner?”
Brenda smiled. “That’s an idea.”
The next morning when June arrived at work, she spotted Brenda at her desk absorbed in the contents of a large binder.
“How’d it go last night?”
Brenda looked up—her right eye was black.
“Oh my god, “said June.
Brenda laughed. “We had the time of our lives at dinner—then I slipped on the ice and caught a parking meter with my eyeball.”
June nodded, unconvinced by the story. Later a teenage boy with a black eye entered the office. She guessed the boy was Brenda’s son. “Did you slip on the ice too?”
The boy laughed, “I’m the only one who slipped –I dared my mother to wear black-eye makeup to work. I guess she did—she’s pretty cool, huh?”