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It was a cool and breezy night. Crickets were chirping from the edges of the driveway as dad and his son walked from the truck towards their house. His son's face was bright and brimming with emotion, exclaiming to his dad about the performance they had just seen. They had spent the last few hours together at the County Performing Arts Center, enjoying a comedy performance by Gallagher.

When they approached the front door to the house, dad took out his keys from his pocket to unlock the door and let them both in.

"Mom! Mom! We're home! We're back from Gallagher!" his son hollared as he closed the door behind him.

Mom was laying on the couch watching TV. Her daughter was in front of her, sitting on the carpet and playing with an assortment of plastic dolls. Mom sat up and smiled when she saw her husband and son stepping in from

"You're back!" she called.

Her husband took off his coat and walked up to his wife, smiling. He placed his coat on the back of a chair, before stooping to his wife on the couch and giving her a brief kiss on the lips. Her son tugged on her blouse, terribly excited about what he had seen, and eager to relay all the details of the night's performance to her.

"Mom, this was the best! He started off telling jokes about the president but then he was smashin' stuff up at the end, just like how I saw on TV! He smashed a billion watermelons, and a bucket of yogurt, and some apples, and some pickles! Oh, and he smashed a big bowl of chocolate milk! And all the people in the front had plastic on them. The stuff got everywhere! Me and dad still got some watermelon on us, see? Mom, look. See?"

Dad walked out into the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee that had been brewing on the countertop. He smiled to himself as he listened to his son jubilantly recount the evening. He poured some creamer into his cup from a small dish, stirring the liquid into a lazy white spiral. He watched his wife's face swell with happiness from the kitchen. She loved her son more than anything in the world, just like he did.

"Oh, and mom! Dad let me get a Gallagher shirt! It's in the truck. Dad, can I have the keys to the truck? I left my Gallagher shirt in there!"

"Sure, son. They're on the counter."

"Thanks!" The boy ran to the kitchen and snatched the keys off the counter. He turned and sprinted back towards the door, past his young sister on the carpet with the dolls, and outside into the cool and breezy night to retrieve his Gallagher shirt from the truck.

"Honey, I've never seen him this happy before. Thanks so much for taking him. You know how much he loves his Gallagher."

"Well, I had a great time, too. You should've seen some of the stunts he pulled. Really elaborate stage setups and some ridiculous props. It was a lot of fun. You would've loved it." He paused. "I... I'm sorry you couldn't make it."

And with those words spoken, if you knew where to look, you could detect a slight change of expression on the boy's mother's face. Her eyebrows seemed to lower slightly. The corners of her smile revealed a loss of tension. She blushed -- just barely -- and looked down. Though still appearing radiant and joyful, something had broken inside of her. Her husband did not notice. He was grinning, taking sips from his coffee cup, staring at his wife's warm, deep eyes. She was thinking about her life, and her husband was thinking about how much he loved her.

Their son bolted back in to the house, slamming the front door behind him. "Mom, do you think the shirt will shrink much when you wash it?"

The boy's mother swallowed and rubbed her hands together nervously. Something was hiding in her eyes. 

"Well, let me take a look at the tag. It depends if it's all cotton, or a cotton blend."

[Forever after at

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