“You’re mad at me for getting a girlfriend,” he said, referring to Emma Gurney, the attractive but not-hot eleventh grader who was not as smart as my brother, but who liked him, and thus began taking him away from me on the weekends.

 A random memory of Apollo crosses my mind, and I sigh with regret. Wasserman looks up from his book, and I quiet down.

I was sitting at the kitchen table in my parents’ house when I became aware of Apollo’s presence behind me. 

“What’s up,” I asked, not looking up from my book. 

He began punching me in the back, not hard, but in the manner we sometimes used to communicate when words didn’t work.

“I have an itch to the left,” I said. 

The next blow dulled the itch.

“Couple more times,” I said, and he continued. 

“Didn’t get it. Maybe up a little?”

“Damnit,” he said, “what’s going on here?”

“I’m trying to read The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and you’re helping me with an itch.”

 “You’re mad at me for getting a girlfriend,” he said, referring to Emma Gurney, the attractive but not-hot eleventh grader who was not as smart as my brother, but who liked him, and thus began taking him away from me on the weekends.

“No, bro, like I said, I’m happy for you.”

“It isn’t just me, you know. We could still hang out.”

“When?” I asked.

“I could go out with you and William,” he said.

“Willy,” I corrected him. “And no.”

“Why not,” he asked.

“Because,” I said.

“You sound like dad.”

“You know, you already have a nice little life going with Emma.” I said. “Why don’t you two go pick out some china patterns or prom colors or something?”

“Is it true what people are saying?” he asked. “About you and Willy being in trouble?”

“Probably,” I said.

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