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May 18, 2003
One night my mother decided to stop playing our unspoken dinner game. Frustrated by my father’s 9 to 5 shift of watching Springer and infomercials, and by his mumbled comment that mom had forgotten to let the butter soften before placing it near his rolls, she asked him how long he was planning on having her support the family, having her checks go to rent and groceries and car payments and softened butter. My father took a bite of the hard-buttered roll in his hand, chewed, shoved the rest in his mouth, chewed, and swallowed.

“You didn’t let it soften.”