Glory arranged the day to her father’s specifications, and after lunch she helped him down the stairs and into the car. There was a ringing loneliness in the house with Jack always away somewhere, and it felt good to her to leave it for a while, to take her father away from it. She drove him past the church and past the war memorial to let him admire the gardens and the trees, and then she took him up to Ames’ house, and helped him again, out of the car, up the walk, up the steps. Ames seemed startled to find him at his door.
“Yes,” the old man said. “I thought you and I could look after each other while the women are out at the movies. I came over here in the DeSoto.”
Ames pulled a chair away from the table. “Unless you would rather sit somewhere else.”
Boughton said, “No, this has always been my chair, hasn’t it. My pew.” He sat down and hung his cane from the edge of the table and closed his eyes. Lila and Robby came downstairs, Robby with his hair neatly parted and his cheeks pink with scrubbing. Glory took them off to the musty little movie theater, where they watched good triumph over evil by means of some six-shooters and a posse. “Say your prayers!” said the bad guy to the harmless citizen trapped against a canyon wall. And in the moment he so graciously allowed his captive, horses came clattering up from behind him and he was made to drop his gun. Robby was amazed and gratified by this turn of events, which was as much as Glory could hope for. With previews and newsreels and a cartoon, and a short second feature in which good triumphed once again, more than two hours had passed by the time they came blinking out into the afternoon sun.
The old men were still sitting at the table, and Jack was with them. He looked at Glory and smiled. “There was no one at home, so I thought something must be the matter. I came here—“ She had not seen him for three days, except when he walked past her on the way to the door, saying nothing, tipping his hat as he left, or walked through the kitchen on the way to his room, saying only good night. It had never crossed her mind that he would come looking for them. If they had been there, it might have been the beginning of better times. Just the thought gave her a look of blighted joy. She wanted to look at him, to see how he was, but his smile was cool. He might be angry. He must think she had betrayed him. Well, she had betrayed him. Dear God, she hadn’t meant to, and what did that matter, when her father was here confiding in Ames again, telling him under the seal of old friendship what he suspected and what he feared, just as he had done in the endless, excruciating past. It was bad enough last night, the way he spoke to Jack. And now this. If her brother had one surviving hope, she knew it was that he could find some way to speak to Ames himself, in his own right. She was so glad to get her father out of the house, to give him the comfort of a visit to Ames’ kitchen—how long had it been? She hadn’t thought it through. Her father just sat there with his eyes closed.
Ames was visibly relieved to see the three of them. Robby scrambled into his lap full of the unspent energy the movie had summoned up in him. “You should’ve gone, Papa. You should’ve seen it.” He slapped the bottom of his Cracker Jack box and a few sticky morsels fell out on the table in front of his father. “I’m saving some for Toby.” Then he said, “Here,” and slid off his lap and went to Jack and dug out a few morsels for him. “There’s supposed to be a prize in there,” he said. “Do you see any prize?”
—From Home, Marilynne Robinson, 2008, FSG