His mother didn’t even bother to call him. She had a feeling that the smell of her son’s favorite meal would do the trick. He was his father’s son after all. She worked hard on creating a nice atmosphere. It had once been a monthly occurrence to have a date-night with her son. A time to be open and honest with each other and to share whatever was on their minds. A time to block out work, school, chores, phone calls, texting, television and focus on formulating a strong, trusting relationship. She knew that he had a lot on his mind, that he was scared and worried about his dad. She was too. A date-night, she thought, was overdue. Besides, she had things to tell him, but she wasn’t sure just how to say them.
Rolen sat down noticeably showered-clean and more importantly, well-rested. Rolen’s mother, Gwen, thought it uncanny how much he looked like his father. From the dirty-blonde hair and the strong-jaw line to the dazzling hazel eyes. Even the freckles near his eyes seemed to be identically positioned.
The steaming hot casserole caused Rolen to inhale with wide eyes as he sat in his normal spot at the table. “Everything looks nice, mom. I’m so hungry.”
“Figured it be what you needed after finally getting some rest. I know it’s your favorite,” she responded with a smile Rolen hadn’t seen too much of recently.
Rolen found it hard not to devour the meal. He recognized what his mother was trying to do and appreciated her doing so. He and his mother were quiet before Rolen broke the silence. “This was dad’s favorite meal too, right?”
“Yes,” Gwen said laughing lightly at a memory. “He would request it so often, he even would offer to help make it. That’s how you know your father liked something. If it meant losing time out in his shop to trade place with the kitchen, then he definitely liked it.”
Rolen chuckled. “Yeah, he hated being in the kitchen.”
“Uh-huh,” his mother responded smiling with a mouth full of casserole. “Except for Rueben sandwiches. Of all things, he loved making Rueben sandwiches. I never could figure out how he was able to make them so good!”
Rolen laughed out loud at his mother’s expressions. She still had a bit of college theater in her blood.
They were both quiet for the next few minutes when Rolen reached for his glass of milk. “What’s been on your mind? I mean specifically. I think I have a good inclination of the topic.” She had noticed his nails.
“What do you mean?” Rolen asked putting his glass down.
“You’ve been biting your nails. What’s been on your mind?” she repeated.
Rolen bit his lip and his mother desperately wanted to tell him things and he desperately wanted to ask her if she thought he was alive.
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, darlin’. I shouldn’t have asked. I didn’t intend to ruin dinner.” She paused. “I…umm…I know it’s been difficult without your…”
“Do you think he’s still alive?” Rolen blurted out interrupting.