"Uh- we haven't gotten the results back yet."

"Well, I'm sure you'll hear soon. And I hope it will be as good as the news we got about our Stevie."

"Thanks. Yes." I forced a smile. "Well, take care."

"You too."

I looked over my shoulder, toward the living room quickly. I hoped David hadn't heard my lie. He'd think I wasn't proud of him, and he didn't know how proud I was of him. And how ashamed of myself.

I had no need to worry. He had fallen asleep with a frown on his face, sticky wet cheeks, across the sofa bed. I approached him tentatively. I gazed down upon his child face. What could I do?

The air felt heavy, pulling me down. I knelt beside him. I'd been so wrong. My son was intelligent and thoughtful and good. And I had underestimated him, wanted a better future for him, and so I had switched his and Stevie's tests as proctor at the exam.

Now, Stevie was headed for med school, and David would end up at a factory. All because I had no faith in my own son. I saw the Cs and assumed he was mediocre. I hadn't wanted to think so, but the evidence had been there - or I'd thought that it had.

Now, I knew differently, but it was too late. And there was nothing to do. If I confessed, I'd be put in prison and the children would be scattered. Placement tampering was a serious crime.

Although that would happen only if someone believed me, but who would believe me? They'd see me as just a stupid father trying to further his son's career - even at the cost of his own. If it were only true.

I tried to catch sight of David in the swarm of blue uniforms heading toward the shuttle. I arranged a smile on my face just in case he turned to wave one last time. I wanted my son to see that I was proud.

Then all the passengers were boarded, and David was off, to begin training for the career that I'd stolen for him.

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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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