I came here for a reckoning, so I took a seat by the window. At the counter, two women were sharing a bowl of beef bourguignon. They looked like nuns or nurses. My father told me to meet him here since he had an appointment down the block. He didn’t say who told him about me or how he found out. Maybe he was bluffing. I hadn’t seen him in six years.

One of the women said Ya no lo se! and put her face in her hands. The other one put an arm around her and whispered. Did her lips touch her ear? Were they fucking? I wanted a morsel of transgression to sustain me.

My father was outside on the sidewalk. Hand to his forehead, sun in his eyes, he was looking right at me. If I waved he could see me. He wore a brown coat and a pale shirt with a collar. His pants were slung low under his belly. His hair was thick. His neck was tight. I was angry he looked better today than the last time I saw him. Why didn’t he come inside?

The crying woman kicked her chair out and stood up. She shook off the other’s arm and ran for the door. My father was watching too. He moved down the sidewalk to watch her come out, but she never did. Collapsed or fallen, she was on her knees in the doorway, half in, half out. I got up and stood at her feet wondering how to help. Outside in the beating sun, my father knelt near her head. From this angle, he looked much different. I could see his bald head. I could see his skinny arms covered in liver spots. Corruption is my food.

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