Night was well under way when the Grangers sat down to eat. Winter made the dark come early and all homeowners in Cobble Creek Subdivision were hiding in the heat of their look-alike houses. Father, mother, and son sat around a small, circular cherrywood table.
"How do you like the broccoli?", the mother broke the silence.
"Its good.", her husband replied while chewing.
"You know they say one piece of broccoli has more calcium in it than a whole glass of milk."
"Yeah, but milk tastes better, which is why people drink it. They just want a reason to think milk is good for you."
She changed the subject, "Craig, how did things go today?"
"Its all finished. They gave me this.", the boy mumbled as he drew a slightly crumpled letter from the pocket of his hooded sweater.
His mother seemed to freeze for a second.
"Lets see it then.", his father held out a hand for the letter without looking up from his plate. Taking the letter, he read it. Silence reigned until he finished. "Sounds good to me.", he said at last and tossed the letter onto the table in his wife's direction.
She read a few lines and then looked up at Craig, "Son, could you go make sure Ralphie has his food? Grab desert while you're at it. Its on the kitchen table."
The boy dropped his fork loudly on his plate and stood up, leaving his chair at an angle, and headed into the kitchen.
"Are you really going to make him do this?", his mother said.
Her husband ignored the exasperation in her voice, "Yes, I am, Lily. If all of this is really going to end, there needs to be proper closure."
"Proper closure? And what has the last 6 months been, fun and games?"
"No, but I really think we need to see this out."
"He has completely turned around, Stan. You've seen it. Once they got the stuff out of him, he has done better and now you're ready to pour salt on the wound."
"And what would you have me do? Go talk to Judge Parker?"
"Yes!", she interrupted.
"And what would that solve?", he continued, "Sure, he's come a long way, but I can't just bail him out like that. I'm not going to enable."
"This isn't just about justice, Stan. You know the kind of people who work down there. He'll probably just fall right back into it again."
"Maybe", he sighed, "But he needs to make his own decision. We're just his guardians here and we only have him for a short time. I just don't want to let him down. Sometime, at some point he needs to choose."
Craig had been standing in the kitchen doorway for a couple minutes now. He entered the room and gently placed the cookies on the table. "Its okay, I'll do it. Its only a couple months anyway."
He finished his broccoli before starting desert.
It was kind of a fun exercise seeing what I could do.