“Yes, ma’am,” Carlton replied, sounding exactly the same as he normally would. My dad is hammering in the basement. I could feel Carlton’s heart tick. He clapped my hands, to assure me that everything was perfect. We set the table, set the cutlery and cutlery, folded tissues into a triangle and set it aside. We are very good at this. When I’m done, I pause to look at the wallpaper in the dining room: a golden farmhouse blocked in the background by mountains. Herds of cows graze, autumn clouds cast golden shadows. This scene repeats three times, on three walls.
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