He was wearing his football pajamas, the most popular teams thrown across the yellow background. He was leaning back on his right foot, sleep still in his face, concern in his eyes. He didn't say a word. He didn't have to.

Questions swam before me, no answers in sight. Lie to him. Put him off until I can think. I thought about running my hand through his hair, across his head. My arm never left my side. "Hey, David. What are you doing up?" I checked my watch. "Do you know how late it is?" He wasn't looking at me. His eyes were on the broken glass. I couldn't lie to him. "Let's go in the living room."

My words pulled him away from his thoughts, and he followed me. We sat on the couch - him on one end, me on the other. As I collected my thoughts, my gaze fell to the family portrait we'd had taken a few years back. Three kids in front - Sara, Jenny, and David. Melissa and me behind. God! I really missed her then. What would she say? What could be said?

"Did the official call about the tests?" David asked.

I faced him. "Yes, he did. They've placed you about mid-center in the blue section. Means your normal. Pretty good, huh? You should feel good." I smiled at him.

He didn't look convinced. "What were you, Dad?"

"We didn't have the placement tests when I was your age. They just let people flounder around in a sea of confusion. Kids would take courses they either liked or did the best in, and out of that they'd come up with a major and try to make it through the years of training. A lot of times, they found out too late that they weren't very good at what they'd chosen. The college factories spit them out, and they'd all have to do a lot of struggling to make it. Some of them didn't.

"You're lucky, David. You're guaranteed a job based on what the tests determined you can do well. There's no struggling. You're put in a profession based on what you can do. There isn't as much pressure on your generation. Everyone succeeds. No one is pushed beyond his or her capabilities."

"Blues's good then, huh, Dad? I won't have to work too hard - just like school. I won't have to study or anything."

"What?"

"Um... nothing." He hung his head.

"No, David." I leaned toward him. "What? Tell me."

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Lisa J. Parker's writing and creative works including poems, books, short stories, essays, movies, greeting graphics, and photographs.

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