There’s No Right Way to Say This – Yen Radecki

“Sophie…” She didn’t have to say anything else, but she did anyway. “How much thought have you given this?”

I’d thought about it, but only indirectly, the way you might avoid looking straight into the sun.

“I’m only asking because I’m not sure how Jay would feel. You know?”

Arjun made a noise of surprise from behind me. “Why wouldn’t Jay want Sophie to speak?”

Marco answered before anybody else could, sitting forward and wedging his shoulders into the gap between the two front seats. “Probably the same reason we weren’t sure if we should even go today.” His voice was still husky with sleep; the first time he’d spoken since Huntsville. “Because nobody there knows the first damn thing about Jay, and they wouldn’t be coming to the wake if they did.”

Libbie was watching the road in the side-view mirror, and she finished changing lanes before answering. “You don’t know that, Marco.”

“Like hell I don’t.”

“Dude,” Arjun breathed, “come on. I’m sure Jay’s folks aren’t perfect, but nobody’s are.”

“Perfect?” Marco repeated. Sitting forward the way he was, I could see his face properly for the first time all morning: the places he’d cut himself shaving. “You think that’s what they were holding out for? The fucking Brady Bunch? Jay’s piss-poor excuse for a family is the reason we’re here right now, you know that, right? Literally the only reason.”

“You don’t know that,” Libbie said again, and Marco sat back finally with a thump.

“It’s the only thing I do know.” His face turned back towards the window. “And you all do, too. Fuck. Whatever. It’s fine.”

It wasn’t, but then it hadn’t been since Tuesday, when I’d woken up to find a message on Facebook from Jay’s sister, only the first line visible in preview: there’s no right way to say this. A little more wrongness wouldn’t change much of anything. On the radio, an excitable Quiznos customer made obscene noises over a chipotle sub, and Libbie leant over to turn it off.

“It’s your call, Sophie,” she said. We were pulling off the freeway now, the rhythmic beat of the tires gradually slowing to a stop as we lost speed over the asphalt. I heard a squeak behind me as Marco eked open his window and wind rushed in. “But even leaving aside everything else, I don’t know if it’s going to be possible, to talk about Jay without ever calling them anything.”

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