Aunt Yola let her white neglige slip to the floor.

Steve and I had never seen a woman nude before. She was a big lady, a huge, fat cow of a woman, and Uncle Bob had been asleep for hours at that point. And she motioned for us to follow her, but I didn’t know what to do. Steve moved forward. Aunt Yola placed a stale donut in a napkin and left it on the TV tray. She said that it was for me, and it was okay to be scared because the brave were ignorant.

She took Steve into the dimly lit bedroom and shut the door behind them. I sat in the living room for some time. Uncle Bob was still asleep on the couch, the funny papers bunched up under his bare legs and his big slab of an arm draped over his eyes. He breathed deep and loudly. I didn’t eat the donut.

The light switched off in the bedroom.

My father had sent us across the street that night with two eggs, one for myself and the other for Steve. But we never got to eat them. I wandered into the kitchen and drank out of a coffee pot. The milk in the fridge had gone bad, and I remember having diarrhea earlier that day. I wanted to know what Steve was doing, but I wouldn’t go near the door. Instead, I went back into the family room and alternated looking at Uncle Bob’s heaving gut and blankly staring into the television screen, long gone into static.

Shortly after, I heard the metal knob on the door jiggle and Steve walked out, gingerly. Aunt Yola was on her stomach, lying naked on the bed. Steve and I lied down on the den floor together.

He was sad, and would be turning twelve the next day.

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