Dennis felt throughout the course of dinner with his mother that eyes were watching him, but every time he looked around to see who it was, he failed to catch his observer. After his third attempt to discover the source of the feeling, and now finally attracting Marianne's notice, he mentally shrugged off the feeling and devoted his attention back at the meal. It wasn't the first time in his life that he felt like he was being watched; he was pretty sure that it wasn't the last time either.
He knew that sometimes weird things happened here in the Falls. Things for which there seemed no reason, no source, but existed all the same. Dennis knew that many of his classmates felt the same, and none of them seemed to know the reason for it either, although when they were younger, they liked to sit around the schoolyard at lunch, devising theories. Over time, he learned that some of them felt it more acutely than he did, and some of them felt it less, but there really wasn't anyone who was really immune from the town.
Dennis wasn't really sure if his mother was aware of it; adults never talked about that kind of stuff around him. And it was one of those things that they never discussed it at home, much like they never discussed the subject of his absentee father. If ever Dennis broached the subject, Marianne found one way or another to quickly redirect the topic of conversation, and after a while, Dennis just gave up asking. It wasn't really like he MISSED his father; he had never known him. And from what he could piece together, he had never been a real part of the picture, at least not after Dennis was born.
He told himself that he really didn't care about his dad. That he had bailed on Dennis, so why should Dennis care about him. He probably couldn't even play football or do any of the things that dads were supposed to do. Things were okay with just him and his mom, weren't they? It was pretty much agreed among all his friends that Marianne was the coolest mom in the bunch. And although he never would have told her, he thought she managed a good balance of when to give him freedom and when to restrict him.
Marianne interrupted his train of thought, "Hey, you, you're awfully quiet this evening. You okay?"
Dennis nodded his head and took a sip from his water glass. "Yeah, Mom. I was just really hungry after practice.
"Maybe we should stop and get some ice-cream on the way home then? Do you think that a banana split would help curb your appetite?"
Dennis smiled broadly. "I think that might just do the trick, Mom."