Byron the Lyron

She was eighty-four and had lived a long, rich life, and she told her one son, Byron, that she was ready. Byron Mailley wept, putting his head down on her shoulder. Georgia’s shoulder.

They were in her hospital room—the hospital wing of Brighton Creek Farm, the assisted living facility she had resided in over the last decade. She patted the back of his head. That had always been her most charming gesture of affection toward him—since he was nine or ten and learning the complications of being a bookish boy on a street full of rough characters. Her name for them. She had a way of setting all his problems in terms of the books they read together in the evenings, because he couldn’t sleep. The books were all adventure: Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew, Robert Louis Stevenson, Theodore J. Waldek’s book Lions on the Hunt, written from the point of view of the young lion. Byron the lyron, Georgia called him. It was their little joke, just between them. Byron the lyron had night terrors, panic attacks.

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