"Across the Street" is an excerpt from Lee Martin's collection, The Mutual UFO Network. Martin is the author of several novels, including Late One Night, Quakertown, and The Bright Forever, which was a finalist for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.
The idea was to let their adult son live on his own. After years of group homes and institutions and finally time spend in their care, his parents—he an inventor, and she a dour, nervous woman—purchased a two-story house on Bay Meadows Court and helped their son move into a subdivision just inside the outer belt with its constant noise of traffic. They lived in one of the city’s high-toned suburbs nearly ten miles to the east, a village of stone houses and stone walls and a fall festival on the green, a ritual they had to bypass this year because they were busy with the house that would now be their son’s. It was time, the father assured his wife, to let whatever was going to happen run its course.
“He’ll be aces,” the father said. “Not to worry. He’ll be tip-top.”
Said the mother, “I’m beyond worry. I mean it. I wash my hands.”