A boy wearing only grass stains, a pair of shorts, and youthful confidence walks casually beneath the shade of an ancient oak tree. He gives the tire swing an off hand push, causing a pendilum action as he crosses the lawn. The summer grass is vibrant and tall and was supposed to be mowed yesterday but he could care less. He makes sure to scruntch his toes in the blades of grass, before stepping onto the wooden half-step of the porch. As he reaches the ragged screen door a purring lump of fur streaks around the corner, and repeatedly begins to bump into is tanned ankles. "Meow?"
"Hello Bear." A smile brightens his earth colored eyes as he squats down to the cat's level, and begins scratching it behind the ears. "Meow."
The boy shakes his head and assumes the latter was a meow of "thanks," as Bear trots back to "his" spot, circles, and then lays down for a nap in the setting sun. The boy smiles again as he contemplates the idiosynchracies of cats.
He runs his hand through his hair, shaking free a few blades of grass and a leaf. He opens the door and enters as a slight breeze drifts by. He closes the door and heads towards the living room, rather than racing up the stairs to his sanctuary; as he normally would. He plops down on the couch next to his father.
"Where ya been?" The middle aged man says as he mutes the between game beer commercials.
"Out." The boy mumbles and picks at an invisible something stuck to his shorts. He looks over at his father and wonders if his slim but muscular body, is doomed to plump outward as his father's has. He admits that his dad isn't quite fat, but he knows that he's no longer anyones "dark and handsome" either.
"With...?" Dad asks as he slowly turns his head and give the boy "the look."
"Nic," he stammers and inspects one of his knuckles, "We were uh..swimming." He meets his father's gaze to better conceal the lie, or so he hopes.
Dad raises an eye brow wondering if his son know that he only makes eye contact when he wants something, he's mad, or he's trying to hide something; but he doesn't mention it. He figures that he would know if it were important. Why sweat the little things?
The boy takes a deep breath. "Dad..."he looks at the picture of a woman on the wall that he never knew, "how will I know love when I find it?"
"Hmmm?" Dad buys some time as his eyes rape the room for an idea. His gaze flicks towards the kitchen with it's small stack of lunch dishes, having not found anything helpful near by. He mentally patts himself on the back as the often dim bulb lights in his head. He turns to his son and speaks with as much seriousness as he can muster. "Love," he pauses, "is like dish detergeant."
Having said all that he will on the subject, dad restores the T.V. volume "...initely one of the greatest in the sport Bob!"
Dissatisfied but resigned to the fact that dad won't be much help, the boy heads into the kitchen. He grabs a glass of milk and heads out the back door. He sits down and dangles his legs over the ledge of the porch. He ignores the plaintive "Meow?" as he pulls a pack of cigarettes from his pocket.
"Like Detergeant?" He questions the cat. "Meow?" The cat climbs into his lap apparently interpreting the last statement as permission to board. He begins to scratch it with one hand while lighting the cigarette with the other. If anyone else'd made such a ridiculous statement he would have ignored it, but this was dad.
As he sat in thought he couldn't help but notice the lingering scent of someone else. He was definitely beginning to like the smell and the face he linked to it; the face he could imagine easier than he could his own.
"By rights I should be very annoyed Bear." He pats the cat on the head. "..eow" The cat arches it's back into the caress.
As his thoughts again drift to another's face, and smile, and the sometimes nonsensical things that came from that source, he couldn't help but smile. he takes a drag, holds it, and then slowly exhales as he suddenly makes sense of his father's words.
"O.K. Bear, remember this when your on old man Tom's farm." He tosses the spent cigarette under the steps and grabs the cat by the fore legs, looking into it's eyes. "Love is like detergeant, some times it smells good," The cat begins to struggle. "Reooow!?"
He grins. "If it's good enough it can make a clean moment last forever by washing away the grease of life, but it takes a little luck, time, and willingness to get your hands dirty."
"Meoooow!" The boy gently sets down the squirming feline flesh, and can't help but laugh as the cat darts around the corner of the house. He suddenly feels like going for a walk. He wanders off in the direction the cat fled, whistling a senseless happy tune.
Inside, the man hears the laughter and whistling, and shakes his head at the idiosynchacies of youth. 

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