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Mom asks if my step-dad’s new girlfriend is prettier than her and I answer yes. The next morning, I wake up to find my step-dad in the kitchen, eating the last of my Trix, mom sipping coffee, rubbing his shoulder. Is he moving back in, I ask. My younger brother interrupts by running in and hugging him like it’s been years since he’s seen his father. 

The next weekend, we’re at my step-dad’s place. He drinks enough beer to make a small pyramid. He waits until my little brother is asleep to slur: your mom’s cruel to bring me back only to let me go. 



J. Bradley is the author of On the Campaign Trail (Long Day Press, 2020). He lives at




Best Small Fictions 2019. Wigleaf Top 50 writer (2016, 2018) Author: Greetings from America

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