"You're really moving in with Allie and Cory?"
Manny could see Gage was confused. "Yeah, trial bases, something like that." He was over to see his brother. He supposed he had to face the fact his brother wasn't who he used to be. A part of himself felt he'd changed too. Maybe it was all Angie's doing. He wasn't quite sure.
"They offered me a job at the hospital. And its more than I can make back east. I've been waiting for something like this." He shrugged. "I mean, its not like Allie and I are getting back together, or anything. I'm just gonna be living in the basement."
"But..but .. isn't our Dad around?" Gage winced then. "I mean, I've never really wanted to find him, but you know..."
"No, I see no reason to get him involved in any of this. He's a drunk. And pretty damn moody, when he isn't." Manny made a face of disgust.
Gage nodded as if he understood.
"But, its better now." Manny smiled. "You got a place to live. Angie is much much better, and maybe we can both have families we want to be in."
"Its... just, you know," Gage winced as if he were desperate for some information. "Its like a blank spot. I don't know who they are."
Manny sighed. He reached in his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He took out a picture of a really skinny girl with feathered hair in a pink tank top and cutoffs. She had a cigarette in her hand. "That's Mom, she doesn't look like that anymore. But I always liked that picture." He smiled. "I think she's re-married now and lives out in Alliance. That's like clear across the state, way out west of here. I hadn't seen her since my Freshman year in high school. But I think she's still with the post office." He let Gage take it. He gave it a good look. "I don't have any pictures of Dad. Don't want to have any pictures of Dad."
Manny looked up at his brother. They were almost the same height now.
"Look, I guess I was mad at you, for awhile. After you left. Well, he kicked you out of the house." Manny shrugged then mocked his father voice. "NO SON OF MINE IS GAY." Manny did his best to laugh it off. "But there I was, alone with that jerk, who caught himself on fire a couple of times. And..all those threats. I never knew what he was going to do." Manny looked sad for a moment as he shook his head. He looked back at Gage. "Hey, its really not worth remembering. I mean, I'm sorry about the accident you were in. But stuff about Dad, I wish I could forget."
"All right, I won't ask." Gage's smile was quaint. It made Manny think of his mother.
"I'll ask our Aunt, if she can help us get a hold of Mom. Maybe she'll come out here. Maybe she's not afraid of Dad, anymore." Manny was ready to eat, and Sage had supper waiting.