“We were about to have supper without you,” Gary’s mom said and quickly added surprised, “What is that on your head?”
“It’s a beret,” Gary said. “The French wear them all the time.”
Gary’s dad came in the kitchen with the newspaper in his hands. “But this is not France.”
They sat down to eat.
“Would you mind removing your hat?” Gary’s dad said.
“It’s a beret,” Gary said.
“I beg your pardon,” Gary’s dad said. “Removez-vous your beret pour favor.”
Gary removed the beret and tucked it under him.
“That’s better,” Gary said.
Gary’s parents looked at each other as they noticed Gary eating elegantly and using the utensils with savoir-vivre.
“Have you seen a movie?” Gary’s mother said. “Where did you learn to eat like that?”
“There’s nothing wrong with being refined,” Gary said.
They continued eating. Gary’s parents continued confused.
They asked about the beret. He told them only about purchasing it at Waxman’s
“I’m just growing up,” Gary said. “I’m starting to make choices on my own. I have my own tastes.”
“That’s fine,” Gary’s dad said, “but you don’t want people looking at you funny. We got this guy down at the factory, McFarland. He’s from Scotland. He doesn’t come to work wearing kilts. What is that, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans?’ If it’s a beret you want to wear, go to Paris.”
Gary smiled. “I just may do that.”
“Someday you might,” Gary’s mother said.
“One never knows,” Gary said.
Gary finished eating and left the table.
Before he left the dining room his mother said, “Aren’t you going to ask to be excused.”
“Mom,” Gary said. “I can see that kind of stuff when I’m a kid, but I getting older, can’t you give me just a little respect.”
Gary waited for a reply.
“You’re excused,” Gary’s father said tersely.
Just as Gary reached the steps to go upstairs he overheard his father say to his mother, “That boy has changed. He’s getting too big for his britches.”
“You better have a talk with him,” Gary’s mother said.
Gary laid in his bed looking at the ceiling waiting for his father to talk to him.