Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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Kelly DeLong lives in Duluth, Georgia, and teaches English at Clark Atlanta University. His work has been published in The Evansville Review, Palo Alto Review, and Roanoke Review. Lately he’s been breaking up cat fights under his bed and barking with his dog at the people walking by his house.
From ten Saturday morning — when your father picks you up at the house you don’t want to live in, your mother’s boyfriend’s house — to eight Sunday night, when your mother retrieves you from the house you never wanted to leave but are now allowed to visit only twice a month, you have thirty-four hours for your father to prove to you that he’s not the man your mother says he is.
I was a nervous teenager. After my parents’ divorce, I locked myself in my room for five years and watched TV. By the time I was sixteen I felt nauseous every time I stepped out of the house. To get me away from TV and turn me into a normal teenage boy, my mother got me a summer job packing boxes at a warehouse.