“It’s only a few blocks,” I remind her gently. “The streets are lit. I’ll be fine.”

“But it isn’t proper!” she insists, though her eyes tell me her real worry. That something will happen to me.

Lloyd offers to walk me home, putting on his coat. I decline stubbornly, especially when he wraps his arm protectively around his wife in an attempt to comfort her.

It isn’t until I promise to stop by the following morning before heading into town with Mother that she relents.

I hug her tightly as I whisper into her ear, “I love you, Vera. Always.”